About this time of year, you wake up one morning and the lush green of the summer foliage is suddenly spotted scarlet here and there. A sure sign of the approach of autumn, you think? Yes, but more so of the political season coming, and soon there will be blood in the air, and in the water, too. For those who enjoy the spectacle, this year will be a special one because it will be the season of teacher salary negotiations, our answer to the bullfights of our neighbors to the south for ritual bloodletting with distinct elements of theater.
This autumn promises to be an especially exciting one, as the Winona Education Association, the teachers' union, (or at least elements thereof), seem to have developed a very genuine dislike of their boss, Superintendent Paul Durand. (It is he who represents the taxpayers in this contest, although nowadays not all superintendents do.) Why this is so is a little perplexing, as he was able to engineer passage of a sizable levy override referendum after only two attempts, and is in the very process of building them a brand new building out on the Jefferson School property. But sometimes partisan passion seems to take on a life and a dynamic all its own.
In any case, the classic struggle between management and labor will resume shortly, and the fur will fly with charges, countercharges, heated denials, imprecations, and finally, outright insults filling the air and, additionally, the airwaves and newspaper pages. Each side will seek out a compliant medium in which to try the issue to its best advantage.
So in these next few months as your local news is served up to you caked ever thicker in mud and with generous helpings of blood, remember that this is a meal best taken with a grain of salt. Try to keep in mind also, whose money is being fought over.