With recall elections ramping up in the state of Wisconsin, citizens of the state are being asked to make a very brief decision on how they feel about Scott Walker’s legislation and the Republican State Senators who voted for it.
However, in that short time since the budget bill was passed into law, Wisconsin has seen a number of positive signs. School districts throughout Wisconsin have begun reporting the amount of money that Governor Walker’s budget has saved them. One of the first districts to report was the Kaukauna School District where the school was facing a projected $400,000 shortfall. They now project a $1.5 million surplus thanks to Governor Walker’s Bill. What’s more is that these changes will allow the school to bring on additional staff and reduce class size.
Per the Kaukauna District’s press release:
“These impacts will allow the District to hire additional teachers, reduce projected class sizes from 26 students to 23 students at the elementary level, 28 students to 26 students at the intermediate/middle level, and 31 students to 25 students at the high school level. In addition time will be available for staff to identify and support students needing individual assistance through individual and small group experiences.” http://bit.ly/naeBU3
With some 74 districts reporting, Wisconsin schools look to save $154,500,179 so far, which would put the savings at $517.12 per student (http://bit.ly/qng67Q).
These savings are, for the most part, tied to the increase in pension and health care contributions from state and local employees in Wisconsin.
But what about collective bargaining? One of the complaints lobbied by unions was that the curtailing of collective bargaining wouldn’t save the state any money.
We’re seeing that is not the case. What curtailing collective bargaining does is allow for more flexibility among employers and employees. In the Hartland-Lake School District of Wisconsin, teachers were beholden to one, union-controlled, health-care provider because of their collectively bargained contracts. Subsequently, they were since able to have more choices and switched teachers over to another plan, saving the district nearly $700,000 for 2011-2012 (http://bit.ly/pW09qa).
Ultimately, this is just the start. Schools are really just starting to unearth their savings, and it will take some time before the state has a more accurate account of how successful the bill is. However, with the election recalls serving as a referendum of sorts on the legislation, hopefully the citizens of Wisconsin will have been able to see enough information to appreciate the work done so far.
Get The Facts
"A Primer on Government Pay"
"Two Americas: Public Sector Gains in Recession"
"A $176 Billion Gap for Public Pensions"
"Collective Bargaining Doesn't Work in the Public Sector"
"The Little State with a Big Mess"
ENGAGING WITH OTHERS
October 26, 2012
Phil, on Detroit News
October 25, 2012
Phil, on Newsvine
October 23, 2012
Phil, on Madison
September 17, 2012
Bill, on Huffington Post
September 01, 2012
Bill, on Huffington Post