Monday, March 30, 2015

Anti-Tax Jihadists Declare War on Students, Teachers

It's always easier when your opponent makes your argument for you.

Ellie Corcoran's "Say No To Everything" listserv is an absolutely wonderful compendium of casual evil.

Apparently, one correspondent has identified the root of Clarence's non-existent, manufactured school tax problem:

It's the teachers (emphases mine).

What can be done though? NYS teachers never have to negotiate so the current gravy train keeps rolling on. [link redacted]
I agree that Clarence teachers have an obscenely sweet deal but what can we do? The only hopes are that the governor will respond to the local districts, several of whom have protested and plead, for the release of some of our money back to local districts(I am not optimistic), or we can let the BOE take the programs away from the kids (which is really only a drop in the bucket but they are the only drops that we can take). As I see it, the problem is the teachers' salaries; and sadly there is just about nothing that we can do about it. I don't expect the teachers union to have a crisis of conscience causing them to toss their old contracts or the Triborough amendment. If you were a Clarence kid, as I was, you may remember that a lot of these programs existed for you plus bussing to and from. Stuff has been taken from the kids. The kids need to have a reason to want to be in school. Common Core alone certainly won't hold their interest.
I don't mean to be defeatist; but really what can be done? Maybe if the district bankrupts we could renegotiate.”
So this person is having something of a crisis of conscience. As a Clarence kid, he or she remembers the programs that existed to give him or her, "a reason to want to be in school", and is torn because voting no on the budget  means "the BOE [will have to] take the programs away from the kids".

What does the leader of the local anti-school, anti-student, and anti-teacher cabal conclude? You won't believe it. (Emphases mine)

Thank you so much for your response; and thank you for sending that link. I never saw it before. I agree w/ everything you said. However, if we don’t at least bring it to the public’s awareness, it will always be, and we will be enabling them, like an alcoholic. The kids won’t suffer. They will still learn. I went to a free college prep school in Boston, MA. I had 7 yrs of Latin, Greek Mythology, no sports or art clubs. It was part of the Boston Public School System, and we could pick our colleges when we graduated. I also taught in the Boston School System for $4,980 when teachers taught because they loved it. 
I’m not recommending this, but we, as taxpayers, have to draw the line someplace, because it will neverchange if we don’t. We at least have some power by defeating the budget
Eventually, the governor, the teachers, the unions, will realize that this can’t keep going on. The other point I need to make is that if this budget goes through, the taxes will eventually be so high, that we will have to move out of Clarence, have a hard time selling our houses, and no one is going to want to move here because of high taxes. We have to work on the short term goal 1st (defeating the budget) and then continue to work on the long term goals like the Triborough, the unfunded mandates and union power etc. If we don’t, shame on us. We deserve the taxes we pay. Thanks again

Clarence teachers don't have "an obscenely sweet deal". They are professionals, many of them with master's degrees. On top of that, the state ranks over 85% of them as "highly effective".  As I wrote before, you don't punish them by giving them minimum wage and no benefits, like some McDonald's worker - you give high performers a bonus. It's no wonder people aren't going in for teaching anymore. Who needs long hours, myriad bureaucracies, intrusive and annoying reviews, curriculum control, testing, and anti-tax jihadists gunning for their wages and benefits?

We're starting a hashtag throughout social media. If you're in Clarence and you have a positive school-related story to tell, use #ClarenceYES. Want some examples? The Pirates of Penzance was amazing. #ClarenceYES. Congratulations to the Mock Trial Club for winning the countywide petition! #ClarenceYES. The choral concert last week was a triumph! #ClarenceYES.

It's at least refreshing that Ellie Corcoran can decide for your kids and mine whether they will "suffer" if music and sports programs are eliminated thanks to their agitation against the teachers and budget. Clarence, after all, has one of the best music curricula in the country #ClarenceYES. Kids who were in the musical are attending audition-only programs to go into musical careers, but Ellie Corcoran figures they don't need to be exposed to this sort of thing in High School, and teachers should just make $5k per year if they like teaching so much.

Teachers must not love teaching, Corcoran thinks, because they earn a living.

A scan of Massachusetts' online pension database reveals that Corcoran doesn't receive one. Could it be because she wasn't a full-time teacher? Maybe she was fired for being ineffective, or for some other reason? Maybe she was just a substitute? Maybe she's just making it up? Maybe she's bitter over it, and taking it out on teachers? Who knows, but the teaching professionals we've encountered in Clarence have almost universally deserved whatever salary and benefits they earn - which, for someone with a master's degree, isn't a whole lot, even if it's $100,000 after 20+ years of service.

But the central falsehood in Corcoran's thesis is how Clarence's taxes are sky-high. Now, of course Clarence taxes are higher than those found in places with horrible, underfunded schools like Florida, Alabama, or South Carolina. But in comparison with other similarly situated towns in Erie County, we're a bargain.

My county and town taxes amount to about 1% of my home's assessed value. My school tax is another 1.35% of my home's assessed value. 

Put another way, I pay about $9.29 per $1,000 of assessed value for town and county tax, and under $15 per $1,000 of assessed value for school taxes. 

In Williamsville, the school tax rate is over $18 per $1,000 of assessed value. In Orchard Park, it's over $30. In East Aurora, it's $36 per $1,000. In Sloan, it's $57 per $1,000 of assessed value. 

Corcoran and her clowns are spreading lies and misinformation, but at least they're honest about wanting to harm the students.

There will be a rally Monday the 30th at 6pm in support of our schools, and the final budget working group session is at 7pm at the lecture hall. Corcoran's clowns will be there to whine about how it's not important to bus kids and how we need to cut everything that isn't "Latin, Greek, Mythology".

These people want to vote "no" on a budget that hasn't even been finalized yet, much less presented or voted on. This isn't principle, this is war. War on your kids, war on your property value, war on our teachers, and war on our school district.


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