Dan York, who has been doing excellent work following matters in Woonsocket, had me on his show today to talk about the raises that the teachers have been getting. WPRO has posted the audio here.
I didn’t see in in a quick scan of Dan’s page, but on March 9, he interviewed a woman from an outside special education company that Woonsocket hasn’t paid for about six months. It was a compelling indication of the real effects on good people that poor government policy can have. As Dan pointed out that day, people operate under the assumption that government promises (especially promises of largess) are a sure thing, but as we’re discovering, there is an end of the line.
My point in chasing down and analyzing the data for step raises and longevity wasn’t to “attack the teachers,” as some will no doubt insist, but to encourage a better informed discussion. When contract and budget battles arise, it isn’t a question of hostility to one party over another; it’s a matter of fiscal reality. As Dan’s interview on the ninth showed, as the taxpayers of Woonsocket are sure to make known at the City Council’s hearing at the middle school tonight, and as teachers laid off from struggling school districts across the state can attest, somebody has to pay for the excessive generosity that has been the fruit of RI’s system of collective bargaining and electing school officials with budgetary (but not taxing) authority.