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A Letter to the Editor in the Nov. 1, 2011, Tomahawk Leader:
I recently learned of a website, established by the governor’s office, which purportedly lists the “savings” of the recently enacted state budget measures. To say the least, what I read there, was extremely disturbing.
One of the examples cited referred to a school district which, instead of providing tax relief for residents, found that these “savings” allowed them to upgrade their track and other athletic facilities. That’s what these measures were forced upon their employees for? That has something to do with balancing the state budget?
That, unfortunately, wasn’t the part that really disturbed me, though. Another example cited was where a district administrator was complaining that he/she said that it was all the school could do, to ensure that teachers didn’t have more than 311 minutes of “face time” with the students – that, if the school wanted them to meet with students for 312 minutes, there would be a union grievance.
What I can’t, personally, verify or debunk this statement, I can only imagine the employee/employer atmosphere that must exist, in this school. My ex-wife worked for the Tomahawk School District for over 30 years. If the school had had to pay her for all of the time she spent, working for the school, working for the students, planning, taking calls at home, and other school-related activities, it would have cost the school at least twice as much as it did. Most of the other teachers, counselors, administrators, and other school employees I met and dealt with were, to varying extents, in the same situation. It always struck me that, whenever I saw two teachers together socially, such as at a Christmas party, all that was talked about were the students – who was having what problems, what could be done to help a student, and so forth. Their minds were never “off the job.”
What I see from the current state administration – this vilification of dedicated employees, in order to, somehow, rationalize and justify their own selfishness and, yes, downright greed, infuriates me.
And, it’s not just teachers, as some people seem to think. This legislation affected all public employees.
Secretaries. Janitors. Snow-plow drivers. Security employees at detention centers, such as Lincoln Hills. Cooks.
Not exactly glamorous, high-paying jobs, to being with. But, jobs we all rely upon, to perform needed, necessary work, to make our lives better.
Apparently, there are people, out there, who think it is a laudable goal, to turn Wisconsin into the Mississippi of the north. More than anything else, what I feel for these people is pity. I just can’t imagine being so heartless and selfish. I’ve lived in Wisconsin all of my 61 years. Never, before, have I seen this state stoop so low.
Never, before, have I been so ashamed of the state that I’ve called home, for all of my life.
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