Administrators and school board members across the state should be “Embracing Act 10” according to this article written by Jim Jones for the January-February 2012 issue of Wisconsin School News. Mr. Jones, district administrator at the Stanley-Boyd Area Schools, explained that Governor Walker’s Act 10 does not mandate the destruction of basic contract tenets.He states that contract language can be transferred to a teacher handbook; therefore, alarm is unwarranted.
According to Mr. Jones, teachers are treated better by districts without collective bargaining than are those who remain under collective bargaining.The Stanley-Boyd Area Schools provided step movement and an additional $3,000 in premium pay. Act 10 allowed their school district to maintain health insurance coverage and retirement options. Mr. Jones states, “We have not found a contradiction between Act 10 and a moral commitment to our staff.”
Wisconsin school board members and administrators have expressed respect for the wisdom of their teachers. A district is not prevented by Act 10 from utilizing teachers as a resource for solutions to problems facing the classroom. Mr. Jones is generous with his praise for teachers, and is willing to pay them well while recognizing “that we have a duty to provide for our parents and taxpayers.” Many administrators believe that Act 10 allows them flexibility to meet the needs of teachers and taxpayers.
Mr. Jones wrote, “I feel more accountable now as a result of Act 10.” No longer can district leadership blame unions and union contracts for budget problems. Administrators are now responsible for being fiscally responsible and for making decisions which impact student achievement.
It is obvious that Governor Walker saved our schools while making Wisconsin fiscally sound. Governor Walker’s accomplishments are impressive and deserve our support.
Karen Schroeder, Rice Lake