Below is the 2011 Lakota Salary list, an update from the famous list exposed on 700 WLW just 6 months ago where everyone that heard the information was disgusted, upset, and compelled to take their anger to the voting booth. If you want to look at that list again and compare it with the one below click here. And remember, Lakota has not hired another superintendent as of this writing. So there is no superintendent on the new list.
A brief synopsis of the information is this. Last year I listed the top income recipients who made over 65K per year, which came out to 434 employees, which I thought was a lot. This year, even taking off the superintendent, who resigned one week after the original list came out, the amount of employees escalated 625 employees! That means that in just one year, when supposedly teachers took a pay freeze in August of 2010, 191 more employees broke past the 65K per year barrier and became a top wage earner just because of the step increases demanded by the union contract. Last year 120 million of Lakota’s operating budget of 160 million went to just salaries and wages. Of that 120 million $31,900,416.00 went to these wonderful employees making over 65K per year. I thought that was a lot. This year, that number exploded to $47,548,105.00! An increase in salary wages of $15,647,689.00. That does not include all increases in wages, just the wages for employees making more than 65K per year! The total amount of money saved in the emergency budget reductions for 2011 which is causing layoffs, busing cuts, elective elimination, pay for play sports, etc is $13 million. Lakota spent more money on the step increases on just the employees making over 65K per year than it will save cutting all the services mentioned to save a measly $13 million. If Lakota could have stopped the step increases they could have kept all the services, teachers would have still been paid well, and nobody would have lost their jobs. But that’s not what happened is it?
When a school district complains that it does not have enough money to operate the answer is not a tax increase to close the gap. In most cases, it is not the revenue that is declining, because the community is not taking its money away from a school system, unless they move out of the district and take their tax dollars with them. When the state, or federal government takes away their contributions, as they should, it should not be expected that a local district increase their taxes to cover the cost.
The expectation that such a thought is even a possibility is a serious flaw in the thinking of school districts that have turned education into their own “cash cow” business.
Any businessman looking at the budget of Lakota Schools would look at the operating budget of 155 million to 160 million dollars, see that the expenses are projecting higher than supplied revenue and would make the needed cuts to bring costs in line. And the very first thing that would be looked at is wages, because most often that is the greatest expense in a budget, especially in a service oriented business like education.
As I look at that list there are a few teachers that I think are worth 70K to 80k per year. But only a few. I would argue that a school district should be able to pay a few of their very best and most prestigious teachers a wage of this kind. But to pay EVERYONE with tenure that amount is ridiculously prohibitive, ignorant, reckless, selfish, and misguided.
Before any district asks for a levy from the community, they should reduce their wage costs. This does not allow those districts to perform at a lower level. A district must reflect the community it’s in, and in the land of Lakota, it is expected to be as excellent as the community that the school resides in. Unfortunately for the union personnel that have managed to extort these outrageous wage levels for their members, the community of Lakota, many of them run their own businesses, or manage businesses, and must make decisions as the school board is required to make.
The top wage earners shown here are what should be looked at before there is a levy of any kind. These positions should be consolidated eliminating personnel wherever possible. If it is decided that those personnel are absolutely essential to education operations, then these are the people who should take a 30% wage cut, because they are well above the average wage of residence of the affluent Lakota School District, and these amounts are just plain malicious.
Now, is there any question as to why we need Senate Bill 5? And is it not obvious what the unions are protecting?