The mystery is solved in a rare moment of candor at the Winona Area Public Schools school board meeting.
The reading public now knows why it is that Supt. Scott Hannon is well-loved by his faculty and staff at the public schools. And we also know why it is that former Supt. Paul Durand was universally loathed by the same employees of the public school system.
Supt. Hannon, taking on the duty of cutting $500,000 from the budget for each of the next three years, is going to do so by asking the unions representing faculty, staff, and administrators what should be cut. Paul Durand asked the public—parents and taxpayers—the same question.
It’s a rather unorthodox way of earning the trust of the public to do things Hannon’s way, but it is certainly guaranteed to earn him the praise of those same unions when it comes to reviewing his performance and giving him a raise. (I imagine that in addition to querying the unions, he’ll also be asking himself whether he is willing to take a cut in pay.)
This is apparently what they mean when they say that they want to “keep the cuts away from the classroom.” “Classroom” is apparently a euphemism for “salary.”
We have a school board election coming up. If you are content to have school board members like chairman Greg Fellman, who says that involving the public in budget cuts “would mess everything up,” then by all means vote for school board members who would embrace his way of thinking.
If you disagree with him, or with member Steve Schild, who thinks it’s the “people in the schools” (not including the students, I guess) who know how things work, then find out who among the candidates is willing to actually represent the parents and community on the public school board.
As an aside: it seems that private schools are much more responsive and respectful of their constituents. How have we allowed our public education policies to be wrested from the public and put into the hands of the unions? Could it be that whereas private schools understand fully that their funding comes from their students, public educators and boards have lost sight of the fact that they are beholden to the taxpayer for funding?