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21.6.05

Bonus doesn't change facts about government-before-education politicians

Senate Democrats and some Republicans ran for political cover with an amendment to HB 842 which provides not a teacher pay raise, but a one-time bonus to school employees with teaching certificates. Further, it only goes to some, those whose districts will not be fully funded out of the Minimum Foundation Program formula that computes raises to meet the average raise amount. Only those districts which would receive only some or no additional monies required to go to raises (almost half) will have such monies given to them.

The formula is computed partly on the basis of “effort;” that is, districts, as determined by this complicated formula taking a number of factors into account, which, given these, put forth a maximum “effort” to get dollars to education get extra compensation. In short, the “lazier” districts get rewarded by this (but just one time).

What is most interesting about the unanimously passed amendment was the same Democrats who complained that the Republican plan to make for permanent raises would remove a $13 million payment to the unfunded accrued liability of state retirement systems suddenly had no qualms about doing the same to fund these bonuses. Sunday night, Democrats howled that this amount again could be saved by making this “extra” payment instead of giving it to educator pay raises; Monday afternoon, all these concerns miraculously vanished and it didn’t seem to matter.

Don’t be fooled by these gutless manipulators; they are no more interested in steering more funds to salaries today than they were over the weekend. What they are interested in is not being seen as the manipulators they are, users of teachers to wrench more money out of the people’s pockets and into government. Unlike most of the Republican senators and mostly Republicans in the House (indicated by this vote), the only genuine proof they can offer about raises is of taxes, not for educator’s salaries.

In the future, as long as the GOP keeps reminding the public of this, the majority of the public will see these government-before-education politicians for what they are. And that will include viewing Gov. Kathleen Blanco, sure to keep this provision in the bill if it reaches her desk, as the poser that she is on this issue.

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