Comment history

Critics of property tax increase say: 'Senior citizens are being thrown to the wolves'

First of all, let's review a few things about salary.

1. Prior to last year, in the last TEN years, only 3% additional monies had been added to the salary pool.
2. 8% is added to the pool/schedule. That does not translate into an 8% increase for teachers. That is a misunderstanding the LJW continues to propogate by simplistic reporting. 8% of new dollars into the wage pool does not mean each teacher's salary increases 8%.
3. By law, funds for building projects and building maintenance, technology and so forth cannot be spent on salary.

Now, you can call it BS to care about being competitive, but why is it only BS when a school district does it? It certainly isn't considered BS when the business or professional communities try to keep wages competitive. Then it is just good common sense.
We DO need to keep up with (or stay close to) surrounding districts. They don't "hover somewhere nearby" like apparitions; they ARE nearby. I personally know great teachers who have left for Eudora, Wellsville, Desoto, Olathe, Basheor, Blue Valley, Center - ALL of which are places one can easily commute to from Lawrence. If you want to keep the best employees and attract the best new graduates, you need a competitive salary/benefits package. This applies to schools as well as other professions.

Vacation is not a benefit. The health benefits are far from excellent and do not compare with typical benefits in the City of Lawrence for KU employees, and comparably educated business employees.

August 27, 2006 at 10:45 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Critics of property tax increase say: 'Senior citizens are being thrown to the wolves'

You are giving credit to the wrong people. The responsible party is the Republican-controlled KS State legislature.
- Who gave the school district the authority to raise the mill levy this year?
- Who gave the school district the authority to raise taxes for sped funding just a few years ago?
- Who has repeatedly forced local governments to raise property taxes to continue funding for programs the state used to fund that the community needs?
- Who has repeatedly failed to adequately fund public schools (until ordered to do so by the court) resulting in local tax increases just to keep the schools open at all?
- Who has repeatedly cut state taxes (which somehow remain very high for the middle class) which RESULTS IN LOCAL TAX INCREASES?

Give credit for the tax increases where credit is due. The KANSAS STATE LEGISLATURE passed these taxes in tiny provisions in bills that let them force local increases while APPEARING to cut taxes.

The overzealous tax cuts of the 1990's led to property tax increases. Instead of ALL Kansans paying taxes, now property owners are footing the bill.

I am not saying local officials couldn't do better, I'm saying they are not the root of the problem.

August 27, 2006 at 9:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Special education teachers in chronically short supply

Tanzer speaks of what he/she does not know. Have you ever worked as a special ed teacher? No, I didn't think so. Do you have any possible way to know how the extent of their paperwork compares with that of other jobs? No, you do not.
I have worked as a sped teacher and I can tell you that the paperwork burden is ridiculous. However, that isn't why sped teachers complain about it. The complaints are because it takes time away from teaching children! There is absolutely no way a sped teacher can provide services utilizing best practices, comply with the time specifications of the Individual Education Plans (IEPs), AND get the paperwork done within their contracted duty day plus a couple of hours. The objection is that the redundant paperwork isn't considered when determining caseload size. Thus, the sped teacher if faced with a choice of complying with the paperwork timelines or complying with specified amount of service time.
Of course, with all sped teachers I know, the kids win and get the time and this person spends a huge amount of time doing the paperwork after hours. It really is a huge burden.

Those who have no idea what they are talking about would do best to just keep quiet on topics like this. Don't pretend you have knowledge you can't possibly have; you might start believing your own bull.

August 27, 2006 at 9:16 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Chat about the upcoming school year with Lawrence Supt. Randy Weseman

Macon, you are constantly an ass. No one made any comments that suggest they need to "get a grip," but you just had to whine anyway. You post NOTHING but negative comments about schools, NEVER a nice thing to say. As usual, your facts are wrong as well.
A teacher contract is actually for 186 contract days. There are 40 weeks that teachers work (most "good" jobs would include the week off for Christmas and, in this town, spring break, plus most every job has occasional days off, certainly every job that requires a college degree!). I know the days add up to 37ish, but look at the school calendar and figure it out.
Sure, good jobs take more time than you get paid for, but very few take AS MUCH extra unpaid time as a teaching. Even fewer that do take more unpaid time have a NEGOTIATED contract specifying the duty day, even fewer are done extremely well by dedicated professionals, and NONE has to deal with the constant disdain of jerks like you.
Lets say a teacher works only 10 hours extra a week (which is a vast underestimate for most). During the 37 contractual weeks, that is 370 hours, or 46 eight hour days, or 9 WEEKS of extra work. Forget about the 2 days minimum virtually every teacher in the district has put in during the last few days getting their rooms ready, forget about summer inservices, etc. etc. Consider that the 9 weeks unpaid work is a LOW estimate, and there you have it. Don't feed me a load of bull about every good job being the same. Don't try to tell me that most people work 9 or more weeks a year for free. That's bull. It is a FACT that the average teacher works more hours per YEAR than the average American worker. Yes, others work hard, but they don't have to deal with the likes of you.

The WORST part about teaching is coming home after a day's work to read the negative spewings of uninformed, ignorant, meanspirited, anti-public education, self-appointed experts like yourself.

I usually just present my point of view, but today, after sitting in an un-airconditioned building and working hard for the kids I'll see next week, you have hit a raw nerve. If you meant well, that would be something, but the entire dynamic of your posts is just to put down schools and teachers. If you don't have anything nice to say, do us all a favor and just don't post at all. I've never seen you add a constructive comment anyway.

August 11, 2006 at 7:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Chat about the upcoming school year with Lawrence Supt. Randy Weseman

Smgkag, you are misinformed. Teachers do not "want the same amount of money for fewer days actually worked." Here is a news flash for you: WE WORK ON THOSE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOONS! We ARE making a difference for children during that time!
In Japan, teachers teach for only a short time a day and are paid to plan for more hours than they teach! I put in hours and hours and hours of unpaid planning time each week (far more hours than I have of paid planning time). I'm not complaining, I'm just pointing it out to you as a fact.
I NEED planning time with other teachers, special ed staff, reading staff, and so on. I can't accomplish that all on my own time, as our schedules just don't match. I can't do it during my plan time because each grade has a different plan time and all the needed parties are not available.
Early dismissal is really not a perfect system. I would prefer to work an extra PAID hour a day after school or before school. However, this is the best that could be arranged given that there is not political nor monetary support for paying teachers for their plan time.
Anyway, your reasoning is based on the factually incorrect premise that teachers are somehow getting out of work under the early dismissal program. That is just wrong.

August 11, 2006 at 3:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Moderates see Corkins ouster, science switch

Yes Consumer1, many people have this wild, crazy, even.....conservative...idea that people should be QUALIFIED for the jobs they hold. Sounds pretty radical I know.......I mean, for the highest education post in the state to be filled by a QUALIFIED candidate with job EXPERIENCE in, gulp, education!!!!!!!!!!! What on earth can these loopy dictators be thinking! How crazy to think one ought to qualify for that 6 figure salary paid by taxpayers! I mean, only hippies like Jimi Hendrix ask "Are you experienced, or have you ever been experienced?"

August 9, 2006 at 8:02 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

City considers increasing water rates

Enough already! Between the already too high property taxes, the increases we will see there, the sales tax increase the city wants, this is too much. Draw the line!

August 6, 2006 at 9:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

School board intends to raise property taxes

For classroom teachers, the additional training that you need to maintain certification (as opposed to salary enhancement) is typically gained by the inservices and trainings that your district offers during the school year and in the summer. Usually you don't have to actually pay for additional training unless you want to acquire skills in a new area, add endorsements, or just branch out beyond what the district offers.
I know that in the private sector many firms pay for training as a perk to compete for quality employees, but it is certainly not a given. I doubt anyone really knows the percentage of workers maintaining a state, national, or other certification that have their on-going training paid in full or in part by their employers.
I know that I personally spent thousands of dollars to get an additional certification, but that was my choice and it was for my personal professional goals. Most teachers that I know pay for some training in an area of interest on at least an occasional basis, just to pursue their own professional development. I think that just goes with the territory in any career and is part of being a professional.
At any rate, if you are new to teaching, don't worry that you will have to spend a fortune to stay certified. When I started I didn't realize the state would count the continuing education that happened in the workplace.

August 3, 2006 at 1:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School board intends to raise property taxes

I am a strong defender of our public schools, particularly here in Lawrence, because I know that most teachers and administrators truly are committed to improvement and are really trying hard to do the best job they can do.

However, there are some things that do bother me and that I cannot explain nor for which I can find a fact-based explanation. Chief among these is this: Teachers are often given a small amount of money to buy needed items for their classrooms ($50 a year). This is nowhere near what they will need, but it is something. I am speaking of elementary here, I don't honestly know what happens at the upper levels. This year, at least some of the schools are not providing this money. Also, in recent years there have been less supplies at the schools with tighter controls over the supplies. At times, we don't even have the things we need and have to go out and buy them (poster board, dry erase markers, things the kids need and we need for our classrooms).
What I fail to understand is how more money can come in yet less money be available for classroom supplies. It just does not make sense to me.

I greatly appreciate the recent pay increase that we had. It was the first substantial increase I receieved in the last 10 years. Thank you taxpayers. Paying people is the #1 expenditure of the district, but it doesn't account for all of the increase. I think classroom supplies should be a priority!

August 3, 2006 at 11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Murder charge follows beating

I agree with you enforcer. Nice post.

August 3, 2006 at 10:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )