SHAME on AZ Education

Can we all agree on something?

Does everyone want better schools?  Answer, YES.

Does anyone want worse schools?  Answer, NO.

Forget the political name calling.  Ducey wants better schools same as DuVal. Grandma Jones living in PebbleCreek on a fixed income and seeing her property taxes going up by double digits year after year also wants better schools same as Juan and Maria Hernandez and their four kids under the age of 7.

Everyone wants better schools.

Can we all agree on one other small item?
What is the MOST IMPORTANT factor that determines better schools?

But here are two interesting issues that have confronted me in the past few days.

Issue ONE
There is an interesting article in the AZ Republic today.  Front page.

Arizona school systems are hiring people from overseas  (example, the Philipines) to come teach our children because teachers’ salaries in Arizona are so LOW that Arizona schools can’t find qualified candidates to fill the open positions.

The average starting salary of an AZ school teacher is only $31,000. That’s about $2,600 per month, only $85 per day.  HHS defines the poverty level for an individual at about $30 per day.  We’re paying teachers $50 per day over the defined poverty level for God’s sake.

The average starting salary of an AZ school teacher in the HIGHEST PAID school system in Arizona (Phoenix) is only $38,000.

There are nearly 100,000 certified school teachers living in AZ, and only 52,000 positions. So nearly half the teachers living here are doing something else.  Is it any wonder?

SHAME ON YOU, Arizona.

Want to know something else disgusting?

Issue TWO
The Litchfield Elementary School District (LESD) wants you to pass a bond for more more than $50,000,000 this November.  According to the pamphlet they sent to my house, do you know how much of that $50 million is going to go towards teacher salaries?


Litchfield Elementary School District wants Grandma Jones in PebbleCreek to pony up an additional $100 per year in property taxes to pay for school buses, furniture, “technology”, and renovations.  Nothing for school teachers.

And keep in mind, NONE of this includes the cost of West-Mec, the valley industrial arts school for area kids.  West-Mec spends an additional $20 million per year basically providing an apprentice program for “chosen” businesses at tax payer expense turning out cosmetologists, welders, auto repairmen, and medical technicians.

But I digress.  Here is a link to LESD’s most recent budget documents.  LESD Budget

LESD 2014 budget is about $70 million dollars.
How much of that goes to regular teachers? (Classroom Instruction)
Only $27.5 million dollars of the $70 million.

That’s less than 40%.

Admin and staff are $7 million.
Special education is $4 million
Support services are $2 million
“Federal” Classroom Site expenditures are $6.4 million.  What the heck is that?
Food service is $6 million.  Is that what Michelle Obama is causing them to spend?
Debt service on existing loans is $4 million.

That’s $30 million dollars right there in only those six items.

We elect school boards and pay school superintendents big salaries to make trade off decisions on WHAT IS THE BEST USE OF FUNDS.  It appears to me that we’re getting some pretty poor management decisions from them.

So when Grandma Jones says she does not want to pay any more for “other peoples” kids education, and the Hernandez family says, “others paid for your kids”, they are not really arguing about the real issue, are they?

When Grandma Jones’ kids went to school, they learned reading writing and arithmetic, teachers were relatively well paid, admired individuals from the local community, every kid who did not want to study was not given a “special needs” card, and if you wanted to be a hair stylist, you dropped out of school and started your own business.

It’s not that we disagree about what we all want, what we disagree about is how the work is being administered and executed by those in charge.  Where does that start?

It starts with the almost completely incompetent politicians that you have been electing all these years over and over.  The ones who bend over backward for political correctness, the ones who will not implement Tort Reform, the ones who won’t secure our borders, the ones who refuse to put public employees into 401k type retirement plans, and on a local level, the ones who buy $36,000 motorcycles, pay $12 million for $8 million dollar buildings, “pick winners” by giving money to favored businesses and call it “economic development”, build and operate stadiums at a huge loss for billionaire owned sports franchises, spend millions developing property for billion dollar mall operators like Macerich, and get re-elected by a consortium of public employees, developers, the chamber of commerce, and special interest groups.

And oh yeah, the median pay for a corrections officer (not a cop) in the US is about $39,000.

Good luck, Grandma.


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