Lake County school teachers voted down a proposed contract from the Lake County School District, which gives them no raise for the year, and is there any wonder why? Over the last decade, the District has overbuilt and overspent money on buildings, equipment and bureaucrats in the administration while squeezing every nickel and dime from their most important asset, our school teachers.
Most of our readers probably find it shocking that we are supporting the position of a teacher’s union; however, it is time for a “get real” moment. Our teachers have been sold out for backdoor money and campaign contributions from large, out-of-town contractors.
In the May 28, 2013 edition of The Right Side of the Lake on the Eustis Heights Elementary School Renovation Project we pointed out how School Board Members had no problem paying exorbitant salaries to construction project managers and job superintendents but not our teachers. How many teachers in Lake County will earn $220,887 in the next 64 months? Or what about the $200,000 spent on the project for custom designs by School Board Member Kyleen Fischer? This project isn’t the first time money has been wasted and overspent; it has been happening for a decade.
Now the District is in a box. Interest payments and operational costs are so much from their overbuilding schools that they can’t afford to give teachers raises and 59 others are facing layoffs. It seems to us that these cuts should come from higher-up, starting with the School Board Members’ salaries. It is apparent–the only people in the District “taking one for the team” are the teachers!
Lake County teachers should ask their School Board Members why they don’t mind spending top dollar on buildings but not teachers. Even worse, if not for School Board Members Bill Mathias and Tod Howard, the District would have overspent another $700,000 on the Eustis Heights Elementary School Renovation Project.
The most important factor in the education of our children is not a building, not an iPad, and certainly not a resort style courtyard; rather, it is our teachers. Teachers, which are the most important part of the education equation, are the most scrutinized when money is doled out. Embarrassingly, when we pointed out to a School Board Member the $220,887 salary of the Eustis Heights Elementary School Renovation Construction Manager, we were told they did not even look at that page. Do you think the same thing happened with the teachers’ contracts?
Regrettably, we don’t know what real options the teachers have because you cannot get blood from a turnip. The real question the Lake County School District and School Board must answer is simple, “Do you want great school buildings or great school teachers?”
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