By Pete Speer -
In the State of Illinois, House Speaker Madigan has proposed to turn over underfunding of the Teachers Pension system to the local school boards. Local taxpayers want somebody else to fund it.
We residents must remember that it was the local school boards who mismanaged the whole affair, effectively giving control to the unions (with the help of self enriched administrators, who by the way were mainly ed school graduates.
And local voters kept reelecting (by staying away from the polls) and letting the PTA elect continually elect their 'friends,' with a plurality sometimes as low as 10% of the total registered voters, if they had opposition at all.
The state of play was not to wake you up and as long as Districts could get parents to vote 'for the kids' voters gave away control.
This should be a wake up call to throw the well intentioned bums out and take control of school boards.
School boarding is a dirty, thankless, unpaid job, usually sought by 'well intentioned' single issue candidates who are willing to go along if the District uses their ideas in curriculum and other educational matters.
I agree with Madigoblin once in a blue moon. I know he is trying to cop out of a bad investment climate and not revise statewide the pension systems as long as he can get away with it. And locals elected Democrat Reps and Senators who are his puppets - -also by staying home from the polls.
This has stink at both ends of the stick.
In addition, for too long you have passed referenda which "do not raise taxes", although they increase over time the total tax bill by advance refundings lowering current debt service and laying on a new layer of debt which, back loaded, extends further into the future.
And on the other side of the coin you accept state testing which has been dumbed down and results which have been normed up as evidence of satisfactory District performance.
Wake up. Reform starts at your level. District interests are not necessarily teacher interest. THe Association of School Boards needs to negotiate a settlement which -- as long as investment returns do not actuarily fund the pensions that the Teachers will accept a revaluation of pension payments they received.
The local protesters appear to believe in a cure by using OPM -- "Opium" -- as if there were such a thing as Other People's Money. There, of course is not. You want to be rescued from your own nonfeasance by having a state, already overloaded with debt, incapable of providing a true balanced budget -- and unable to print money like the Federal government -- rescue you like a fairy prince. Finally, now it comes home to you. The School Districts in sum, seen in the light of the sun, have foregone both Educational and Fiscal Discipline. They have turned over the asylum to the supposed overseers.
Taxpayers have two options -- to go back to sleep or to change the elected leadership with candidate el;ected who have the gumption to stay with it over the long haul. It is time to awaken Mr. Van Winkle.