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Carstensen / Cole to push Referendum

When the School Board toyed with the question in January, Cole told board members that balancing the budget by cutting neighborhood schools would be a mistake. And she sided with neighborhood school advocates who proposed holding a referendum to raise the funds needed to keep the schools open and operating as they traditionally have. The Capital Times

Isthmus, Diamond Dave, and others have put forward the argument that Cole won because Passman was too tied to MTI. Nichols takes another approach, he argues Cole won because she was pro-referendum while Passman put focus on state funding.

So maybe rather than pushing the status quo vs Anti-MTI narrative we should acknowledge the divisions are a little more complicated. Maybe we could talk about pro and anti referendum coalitions on the board. If that’s the case we’d have to categorize  Carstensen and Cole as pro-referendum, and Winston and Passman as anti-referendum.

4 responses to “Carstensen / Cole to push Referendum

  1. jody

    Here in EC like so many other places we are facing a clear message of “we’re going to try referenda until we win” message after the recently failed one on Apr 3.

    I do not know about the anti-ref. sentiment in other places – what is driving that, but in the Eau Claire area we are facing other increased fees/ taxes.

    Those in the already struggling economic classes are all firmly anti-referendum. But as a group the more well-off tend to vote at higher rates. So I fell it is likely that they will “out-speak” the majority on this.
    It is unfortunate that they (Working class and fixed income folks) then face local media (they are all propogandists for the district – quite overt in taking a side on this issue. Even reporting is quite skewed in language. “Oh the poor KIDS!” and then a big-eyed pic of Billy who will have to study in a closet next year with rats)

    Anti- tax people are charged with being cold to children and are protrayed as people who wish to return teachers to the era in which they faced institutionalized employee abuse and exploitation. No chance that this is not at all true.

    In general, I find teachers get “huffy” really quickly and as a group do not listen really well. The victim stance resurfaces too quickly.

    You can be for unions in a general sense and respect teachers as professionals and actually care about your community children but NOT be pro referendum. No one is willing to allow for that possiblity – no teachers that ever speak up that I have ever seen.

    -Teachers in the EC area have incomes/benefit packages that are much higher than the bulk of people who are paying for them in this area. When people say they cannot afford all these fees and increased taxes they are not lying or being mean.

    – Teachers unions are among the few still benefitting their members. IMHO this is only because they are closely tied to political contributions and because they do have that ability to play that “Emotion card” with the public. Also because working class people do not run for school board.
    – Districts, when they do cuts, always make them in emotionally charged areas where you will “feel them”, and from the bottom up and NEVER touch admin positions.
    -Having known many teachers, good and bad (some very very bad) I do not believe in Educational Trickle Down. And that is what it is.

    The idea that paying the teachers more results in higher quality teaching staff does not hold up, it is not true. Paying teachers more means you have higher paid teachers, period. That is the same rhetoric used on maintaining admin salaries too. Teachers who make that first impression, get hired and don’t screw up too bad that first year, then you are stuck with a retard for life. And what’s with the idea that The Best People go for the most money when they apply for jobs? Those would be the GREEDIEST people. There’s no logic there. Being paid more is not the sign of a better person. Look at the admins in CF – lordy! What a crew.

    So if the Doyle proposition to increase 300 per child per year and add transportation/special ed money doesn’t lessen the urge to run referenda we will be facing that You Are A Mean Asshole mind game from the doctor’s wife and Chamber types who run for school board. And outraged teachers who level a variety of charges at the rest of the community – none of them good. Very tedious.

    I was disturbed to learn that although we are in what is self-labelled as a “unified school district” more money is spent PER CHILD in the wealthy neighborhood as opposed to the junk northside neighborhood which is more (overall) working class and has the bulk of the Hmong population and you KNOW they don’t need any money since they’re all going to grow up to work at Walmart and Kwik Trip.

    Whereas the Southside kids need Oddessy of theMind at all that so they can go to college and get good jobs because they are kids who matter. Logocally you’d think the poorer neighborhood would get more of the money. They might need more of the services. but I am way off in my values here.

    But these so-called caring teachers, board members and support staff and band boosters and parent volunteers don’t get all up in arms about that. or any of the other iniquities that are built in to the current system. They just want more money to keep things as they are. But people don’t LIKE things as they are.

    If we do not support just throwing money at a system that is itself flaswed (to therefore be spent in lame-ass ways) then we are Bad People.

    Gross. My head explodes when I even see the word “referendum” now.
    Also –
    In Chippewa Falls there was a HUGE ref a few years ago. I worked there then (as lowly non-union support staff) and saw how the money was spent a littel closer than the people who hear only happy talk sound bites from district spokesmodels.
    VERY very little of it changed ANYTHING for the children. Teachers who had wild fantasies about new things they could try were stymied by admins who had other ideas. As a low paid taxpaying person I was stunned to see how little self-questioning was given to the way the money was spent. I feel when they tell you they have “tightened belts” they are lying. That means they fire the lady who watches the kids on the playground so the teachers can have their lunch and keep the annual Admins Get-Away Weekend at a resort and crap like that. The admins do not need a weekend at a Resort where they play bar scavenger hunt games in order to “bond” or to relax their flabby pasty flesh poolside before another “difficult year”

    Kiss my butt.

  2. Robert Godfrey ⋅

    So much pixie dust in the air, spread by editor Nichols, someone who’s done very little real reporting on education, except to express his views on his same preferred candidate over the last two elections. Go to,com_jd-wp/Itemid,31/p,108/ for just one of several takes to come on the whole sorry mess of reporting by the Isthmus and the Capital Times on school funding and school board races.

  3. Jody,

    A few things. I think you are right to speak of the class nature of this. Property taxes are pretty much a regressive tax especially toward the working class.

    As far teachers / education they have been cutting for over ten years. Most if not all of their wages have gone to benefits. What may seem initially as a poor choice is often one you don’t control. For example the extra teacher would be funded by numbers of kids where the conference very well might be a special grant. A school is a complicated microcosm receiving money from district, city, state, federal and eve private sources. Ideally one would like to prioritize these but that’s not a choice given.

    I would be much more likely to support a referendum that fixed the problem rather than solved a temporary issue. I know many were distraught that 1 year after approving a school in burbia they are talking about shutting down schools in the center. Given a choice, like many, I would have chosen the central schools.

    What you have to realize is that the money requested by referendum is much, much less than what the state should be giving for SP Ed and ESL education. Can you say unfunded mandates.

  4. Robert

    My only point was Nichols did offer an interesting way to look at this rather than the typical status quo / reformers (read anti-MTI) framing.

    Lets be honest Passman lost because she was a teacher pure and simple. She was seen as an MTI stooge. Where Passman most clearly differentiated herself, and why she had my support, was how she answered the MTI questionnaire.

    Sadly, I do not think there will be as much emphasis on the state level since Passman did not get elected.

    But if she plays her cards right that could work to her advantage. She could have very active grassroots campaign to change the funding on the state level that ends with a school board seat in two years.

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