Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bad Teachers in NY State --- No remedy except for Wisconsin reform

With NY State teacher's unions, there is no mechanism for weeding out bad teachers. Maybe bad teachers can be talked to by principals, but that is as far as it goes. After teachers obtain tenure, the unions are in control and teachers cannot be dismissed for poor classroom performance. What is the solution? Have NY State copy the Wisconsin model where taxpayers and their elected officials are in control and not the teacher's unions. In Wisconsin's new collective bargaining law, teacher's unions can only negotiate wages (up to the rate of inflation), but they cannot negotiate WORK RULES. See the difference. Whoever controls work rules, controls the progress or lack of progress in school districts. Don't listen to our local politicians when they say, "we don't want to go as far as Wisconsin has in reforming schools".

If we listen to the truth, NY State can be great again.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

No.1 Traits for new Kingston Superintendent --tough cost-cutter & union negotiator

The No.1 Traits for the new Kingston Schools Superintendent should be a tough cost-cutter, and teacher-union negotiator, who will deliver Zero Tax increases ever year for the next five years.  Unfortunately, the other board members are not thinking of the taxpayers and the local economy.  If you are not emphasizing the plight of the local taxpayers, you are guaranteeing that except for a select few, your high school graduates will never return to this area to live, work and raise a family.  Think about it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kingston & Saugerties Schools are failing. Please Complain!

We are really on the decks of the Titanic in NY State and in particular, the Kingston & Saugerties School Districts.  The violins are playing, the teacher's union continues to demand and get raises, pensions, all expense-paid benefits....WHILE graduation rates continue to fall (minus 4% in Kingston and minus 3% in Saugerties) and our young adults and college graduates continue to be unemployed and continue to leave Ulster County and NY State.  We are in the midst of a disaster, while our school officials continue painting a rosy picture and continue with policies which are harming both students and taxpayers.  What are we taxpayers and students to do?  Raise your voices, complain every day.  Make phone calls to Cahill, Lopez, school principals, school board members, every day.  This will work, if enough people complain to the people in power both locally and at the state level.  Please complain!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cuomo's Pension Reform is also unsustainable. Why? We need 401-k.

Cuomo's Pension Reform is also unsustainable. Why? Because it continues out of date "guaranteed defined payment, old-style pensions" which cities and school districts cannot predict and keep up with. The only way Cuomo's new pension reform is sustainable is the drastic reduction of the number of current and future government workers and teachers. The unions are way out of touch. If the unions were smart, they would be pushing for a 401(k)-type option, where the value of a pension is tied to the performance of financial markets and the investment decisions of the workers, rather than keep taxpayers on the hook for a guaranteed, defined payout. With Cuomo's plan, the number of state, city, town, teacher workers must necessarily be reduced dramatically. As an alternative to Cuomo's Tier 6, let's propose a Tier 6a which introduces a defined contribution, sustainable, affordable 401-k pension, like we have in private industry.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Saugerties Schools Alert - Abolish Guaranteed Pensions & Step Increases

Although all of NY State's school districts are feeling a lot of financial pain now due to state laws which favor teacher's unions heavily over taxpayers. It appears that the Saugerties School District is feeling the most pain of any district in the Hudson Valley.  I urge Saugerties residents to do more than just complain at school board meetings.  Saugerties residents have to contact your NY State representatives (Cahill, Lopez, etc.) and Gov.Cuomo's office and demand the end of the Tri-borough Amendment, which allows teacher union contracts with automatic pay step increases to stay in place after they are expired and to replace costly defined payment pensions with teacher contribution 401k pensions like the rest of us have in private industry.

Friday, June 3, 2011

NY State is giving union contractors favoritism - Costs are going up!

According to The Torch ( June 2, 2011) blog, there is continued union favoritism on individual contract bidding.  This may be how Gov. Cuomo is getting Silver's wing of the Assembly to agree to the Property Tax Cap.  If this is true, NYS residents are gaining on the Property Tax Cap, but losing with the "required" union contracts and "prevailing wage and rules".  In addition, Gov.Cuomo does not take live questions from taxpayers on Talk radio.  We taxpayers cannot ask him about this union favoritism.  He is insulated from public interaction. If anyone knows of any venue where taxpayers can interact with Governor Cuomo, please reply here.