Lakota Take Notes from Larry Powell: Feeling guilty about the funhouse scam
I have contained here a sneak peak of my Letter to the Editor article that will be published in Thursday’s Pulse Journal. In context of my statements I supposed that the realization that the deeper you dig in this whole education quagmire, the more you learn that many of the educators are clearly in the business only for the money. Not only are these people paid well, as they should be, but they are getting wealthy in these professions. So to provide that context I’d like to reference a couple of superintendents who are realizing ahead of their peers that they are participating in a corrupt system, even if by default, and they are making sacrifices.
This past week I learned about the extraordinary pay cut that Larry Powell, the California superintendent of the Fresno County School System who asked the school board to impose on him an $800,000 give back from his salary and benefits. He’s offering to work as superintendent of 325 schools and 35 school districts with 195,000 students which had been paying him $288,241 a year for $31,000 a year.
At first I thought this was an extraordinarily generous offering until it’s realized that Larry is already technically “retired” and was in fact a double-dipper making an extraordinary amount of money. It looks like Larry was simply recognizing that the system was wrong, and he is taking the cut to provide leadership in preserving the programs in his district that mean something to him as an educator. By his own admission he decided that just “stockpiling” the money wasn’t the best thing to do while his district was facing major cuts. He is secure for many years and more money simply doesn’t have much value to him. Larry Powell is an example of just how much money is at play in his profession, where he doesn’t consider $800,000 to be detrimental to his retirement.
But Larry isn’t the first superintendent to do this. A Michigan superintendent, Ron Ferrell last year took an $80,000 pay cut Montebello Community Schools in Michigan. He was scheduled to make 95K during the year. His reasons were similar to Larry Powell. Listen to this news report.
In my district of Lakota I have seen so many exaggerated numbers, so much manipulation from the educators that it is nearly impossible to tell reality from an out-right scam. If I thought business was on the up an up, I wouldn’t be so angry, but at Lakota, they just spent a lot of money on a superintendent they proved they didn’t need and the rating for the school actually went up after major cuts were implemented. This makes me feel like I have been lied to, which I’ve always suspected, so my comment in the paper shown below reflects that betrayal.
I would like to congratulate Lakota for doing such a fine job on obtaining an EXCELLENT rating for the 10th year in a row! That is quite a feat, and the administration is to be commended for doing such a fantastic job! In fact, they did such a great job that their rating went from a 104.9 rating to a 105.9 rating, and they did it while cutting over 12 million dollars from the budget and without a fulltime superintendent!
Being one of the people who voted NO against the last levy attempt, I was a bit nervous that all the warnings from the Pro Levy people that if we didn’t pass the levy, then Lakota would fall into decline never to be respected again. Well, since the levy did in fact fail, and Lakota did not fall off the side of the world, but actually did better, it seems the crises has been somewhat averted. We are now talking about a levy to help with financial issues in the upcoming years, not next month.
But there’s always room for improvement. Since the school board did such a good job of cutting and working with minimum resources just think how much money the district could save if there was actual management of the union labor contract, we wouldn’t even need a school levy. And I think they could have saved the quarter of a million dollars in expenditures that the new superintendent costs, because they showed that they didn’t need such expensive service. That money should have been spent on restoring busing to all the poor parents that are now extremely inconvenienced by the busing reductions, a cost that is less than 5% of the total budget. That doesn’t make much sense.
Those are just minor issues though, this last year with all the trials and tribulations proved that money doesn’t buy excellence, good, hard work does however, and Lakota dug deep and actually improved, and that makes me proud. Everything was going well until the school board decided to ask for more money. You guys were doing so well………
I don’t mind providing a good school for the children of my district, and I don’t mind paying the people in that business a respectable income. But don’t play games with me; don’t attempt to twist the facts around, because if you do, you’ll bring my mind to the situations in these next two reports, one from Cleveland, the other from Atlanta; both showing the level of greed and personal selfishness exhibited in public education. The ironic part of these stories is that they are not regional, but are in fact endemic to the profession of education itself, and I know that Lakota and the rest of the public schools in the Cincinnati region are not exempt. They just haven’t been caught.
Read this article about Cleveland teachers who have retired at the end of a school year, then turn right around 60 days later and started again as a rehire so they can draw two pay checks instead of one. The situation is so bad that they can’t even start on the first day of school because the teacher has to wait 60 days. This is that whole double-dipping issue again, a way of payment that looks to be grossly abused. Just think about how much money education would have flowing into its use if just the process of double-dipping was outlawed. Because double-dipping, is a problem because the retirement age to qualify is set way too low, which invites abuse of the system, which is rampant.
And for anyone who thinks that it’s not all about money with educators consider this case In Atlanta, which exploded just last month in July, where there was a major scandal in the Atlanta Public School System where nearly 200 teachers and administrators were caught cheating to improve test scores so they can receive better bonuses. Go ahead, CLICK TO VIEW:
To see more on the issue at Lakota read my recent article on the whole grade improvement at that school for detailed analysis.
The bottom line is that I don’t trust much of anything that anybody in this current education system says. Even in a very nice school like Lakota they have said that if we don’t pass a levy that their performance standards would be compromised, then they turn around within a year of that failure and get an excellent grade, then send out thousands of pamphlets in the mail taking credit for the rating increase as if this somehow justified more money for the upcoming levy that the community will vote on in November. The whole thing seems like a carnival act to me, and is an absolute joke.
I would begin to take things more serious when the educators started doing what Larry Powell is doing in California and that’s admitting that enough is enough, and they are prepared to admit it and give some back to the community so that the community can then make a decision on how much to fund. But the way the system is now, throwing thousand dollar bills at a simple image in a funhouse mirror only to be lost in the twisted corridors of a carnival maze is simply foolish. The profession of education deserves to be met squarely in seriousness and not open deception, and until then all levies for all public education must fail, because only in the constricted revenue is the truth coming out on just how much money has actually been lost to outright greed and manipulation.
The problem is not specific to Lakota, but as shown is epic, sweeping the entire nation, and it must be corrected before any talk of federal funding is even explored and what all schools have in common from each and every district across the nation is that they are all represented by a labor union.
Oh, one more thing, something just couldn’t be overlooked when I thought about Lakota’s new superintendent Mrs. Mantia in comparison to Larry Powell out in California. I have heard it justified that Lakota should have paid almost $300,000 when they were looking for Mantia, whom they eventually paid at $165,000 in straight salary, but up to a quarter million dollars in the complete compensation package. Again for more details see my article linked above for that breakdown. Mrs. Mantia must manage 2000 employees, 18,000 students and over 22 school buildings. My question is how is her salary comparable to Larry who was making $288,241 managing 325 schools over 35 school districts and managing 195,000 students! I’ve often said that the superintendents are incredibly overpaid, because Mrs. Mantia is currently making more than the Governor of Ohio. But I was told that I didn’t understand how “education” works. So here is a comparable “educator” with a much larger work load, but only making $120,000 more than Mrs. Mantia. All other things being equal, both Mantia and Powell are both double-dippers, both superintendents, but one has a lot more school buildings to manage and the other doesn’t. So why are their wages so closely related?
Hmmmmmmm, I wonder why? Welcome to the funhouse of distorted mirrors that is public education where reality is warped into funny shapes and twisted beyond comprehension, to hide the real intention behind the whole enterprise, and that’s to make money………..a lot of money. The funhouse may be painted with the faces of children holding hands to lure people in, but the result is simply to empty their pockets and leave them with a sense of being entertained, but always somehow feeling depleted. Such is the state of modern education in America. Thank goodness some like Larry Powell are starting to develop a guilty conscience.
For the answer to everything as to why labor unions fail, check out this link:
Written by overmanwarrior
August 31, 2011 at 12:00 am
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