Posted by: Debby Durkee | July 1, 2011

Scott Walker’s law is a win for Wisconsin.

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Scott Walker’s win is a win for Wisconsin.

Guess what? Scott Walker’s law for Wisconsin’s schools is saving at least one school district a boatload of cash. Remember all of the caterwauling from Wisconsin’s crybaby unions and fleeing Democratic lawmakers? Remember how they said the world would come to an end for teachers and the state if Republicans passed new collective bargaining rules? Well, that hasn’t happened. Good things have happened. This is from Byron York over at the Washington Examiner.

The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it’s all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.

In the past, teachers and other staff at Kaukauna were required to pay 10 percent of the cost of their health insurance coverage and none of their pension costs. Now, they’ll pay 12.6 percent of the cost of their coverage (still well below rates in much of the private sector) and also contribute 5.8 percent of salary to their pensions. The changes will save the school board an estimated $1.2 million this year, according to board President Todd Arnoldussen.

Of course, Wisconsin unions had offered to make benefit concessions during the budget fight. Wouldn’t Kaukauna’s money problems have been solved if Walker had just accepted those concessions and not demanded cutbacks in collective bargaining powers?

“The monetary part of it is not the entire issue,” says Arnoldussen, a political independent who won a spot on the board in a nonpartisan election. Indeed, some of the most important improvements in Kaukauna’s outlook are because of the new limits on collective bargaining.

In the past, Kaukauna’s agreement with the teachers union required the school district to purchase health insurance coverage from something called WEA Trust — a company created by the Wisconsin teachers union. “It was in the collective bargaining agreement that we could only negotiate with them,” says Arnoldussen. “Well, you know what happens when you can only negotiate with one vendor.” This year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase in premiums.

Now, the collective bargaining agreement is gone, and the school district is free to shop around for coverage. And all of a sudden, WEA Trust has changed its position. “With these changes, the schools could go out for bids, and lo and behold, WEA Trust said, ‘We can match the lowest bid,'” says Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke, who represents the area and supports the Walker changes. At least for the moment, Kaukauna is staying with WEA Trust, but saving substantial amounts of money.  Snip —

That’s called competition. That’s called capitalism. They’ve also made it so teachers must work 40 instead of 37.5 hours per week and six periods a day instead of just five of seven.

                …the money saved will be used to hire a few more teachers and institute merit pay.

Sounds like real life instead of special circumstances. That’s a good thing.  They go on to talk about class size and more one-on-one student-teacher time. Sounds like a winning situation. The state might be able to save itself after all.  Way to go, Governor Walker and Wisconsin Republicans. You’re an example for the rest of the country. Read it all here:  http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/06/union-curbs-rescue-wisconsin-school-district#ixzz1QsvWb4yn

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Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this Deb…and welcome back.

    This does not surprise me of course but I am sure many union people are unpleasantly surprised by this happy turn of events.

    • Hey Greg —

      Glad to be back, but will be gone again.Hope to be able to post while I’m on the road. Crazy times.

      Regarding the content of the story…I’m not surprised either. The unions are a bunch of lefties, only interested in themselves, not the students, not the teachers, not the school, not the county, not the state, not the country. All they care about is their power. Let’s hope these parasites attached to the taxpayers’ wallets finally get what they deserve.


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