He’s the highest paid superintendent in our area, even though he oversees the least amount of students, teachers, and schools. Plus, under his watch, our school district has increased spending 20-percent over the past four years, while enrollment has steadily decreased. The district has run deficits the past four years, and now it’s facing bankruptcy unless it takes some immediate and drastic measures.
Yet, at a recent community forum, our superintendent boldly announced, “I’m not taking a 10-percent pay cut!”
So seems the attitude among our so-called “public servants” today. Once upon a time, so I’ve heard, people on the public’s payroll put the good of the community above their own selfish interests. Not anymore. Now they’re entitled: they clamor for their rights; demand what they’re due; and seem to care little for the public welfare.
Of course, there are exceptions: some public employees remember they’re working for the people. Yet, just this week, tens of thousands of disgruntled public school teachers in Wisconsin called in sick and abandoned their classrooms. Apparently, demanding collective bargaining rights trumped the need to educate millions of Wisconsin children. Similarly, state senate Democrats deserted their posts, fleeing to another state rather than face defeat on the union bill. Their departure leaves the senate one vote shy of a quorum and essentially holds the entire legislature hostage.
Now, I’m not against politicians and public school teachers. My husband’s a public school teacher, though he’s never joined the union. But, what bothers me is the me-first attitude I see displayed in so many of these standoffs triggered by huge budget deficits. Many of these public employees seem bent on making someone else pay for the problem. It would be so refreshing if these so-called public servants actually displayed concern for the common good.
States around the country are facing huge budget shortfalls and someone has to give. Wisconsin’s confronting a 3-point-6 billion-dollar deficit; so is Florida; New York’s deficit stands at 10-billion dollars; and California? It somehow has to close a 25-billion–dollar shortfall. Yet, what are teachers in California doing? They’re holding a candlelight vigil to show support for Wisconsin teachers who refuse to do their job.
Let’s face it: the recession has caused tax revenues to plummet. And we can’t just keep increasing the burden on taxpayers. Many in the private sector have made big sacrifices to keep their companies afloat. I think it’s time the public sector does the same – instead of defiantly announcing they won’t take a 10-percent pay cut. I think everyone should take the advice offered in Philippians 2 – that we look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others.