Teachers’ Union Should Cut Dues

SALISBURY, MD – If you live in Wicomico County chances are that you received the above postcard at the end of last week.  The WCEA (Wicomico County’s teachers’ union) wants you to attend the Tuesday evening’s public hearing and demand MORE money for the Wicomico County Board of Education (WCBOE).  If you can’t attend, they want you to call or email the members of the county council.

Fair enough.  Just because you work on the taxpayers’ dime doesn’t mean that you lose your right to free speech.  I’m just wondering if Wicomico’s teachers are getting an appropriate bang for their buck from their union.

This postcard reminds me of an effort put forward a few years ago when the Chesapeake Bay Foundation spent tens of thousands of dollars on a similar campaign to encourage citizens to support a proposal to strip local farmers of their property rights.  The plan failed so miserably that a year later six members of council were elected (or re-elected) who pledged never to support any similar proposal without fair compensation to local farmers.  The defeat was so humiliating that the CBF shuttered its Salisbury office.

Wicomico’s teachers’ union now wants citizens to support $2 million in ADDITONAL spending above what was proposed by Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt in his FY 2013 budget.  Taxpayers should be reminded that this budget already appropriates over $2.6 million MORE than was appropriated last year:

$206,000 to meet Maintenance of Effort (MOE)
$500,000 ABOVE MOE
$2.173 million for Teacher Pension shift

To be fair, the $2.173 million for the pension shift is a pass through.  However, while the state has mandated counties pony up for the pension shift there is no guarantee for Wicomico County that they will receive state aid to offset that expenditure past FY 2013.

Yes, providing a quality education to our county’s children is important.  Yes, public schools should be well funded.  However, the last available figures show that Wicomico County suffers from an 8.4% unemployment rate.  We do not know what affect ObamaCare will have on PRMC – one of the county’s three biggest employers.  We do not know what future funding looks like for Salisbury University – another of the county’s three largest employers.  We do know that the enviro-left, and their pals in Annapolis and Washington, are attempting to drive Perdue Farms away.

Adding an additional $2 million to our county budget for schools is not a one time expenditure.  That money, plus a built-in inflation rider, will have to be appropriated next year, and the year after, and …

While I don’t doubt the hard work put forth by MOST of Wicomico’s teachers, should the taxpayer really be forced to fund salary increases given our current economic straights?  Instead of funding paying for fancy postcard campaigns and bogus studies, perhaps the WCEA could simply eliminate their dues for one year.  That’s more money in the pockets of teachers which could be spent in the local economy – AND the rest of Wicomico’s taxpayers aren’t having to cut their spending to pay for it.

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