Virtually no state is immune to the red ink found in school budgets, which is a result of routine overspending. For too long, schools have not kept spending in check. They’ve given raises they couldn’t afford, they maintained bloated benefit packages that far exceeded their private-sector counterparts, and they haven’t employed much business sense in managing massive, multi-million dollar operations.
Unions, of course, have felt the greatest heat. They, along with complicit school boards and administrators, were so reckless with school finances, that a course correction was inevitable. The nation’s economy has been slipping for the past several years, forcing school districts everywhere to reacquaint themselves with reality.
Meanwhile, the unions believe they have a restraining order against reality, and have taken to what they do best: protesting.
Back in March, the American Federation of Teachers took to Alabama streets to protest the fact that the legislature there is failing to quench the union’s insatiable thirst for unchecked spending. The Birmingham News reported at the time:
“About 80 people rallied in front of the Jefferson County Board of Education during rush hour this afternoon to protest state budget cuts in education, which they say is increasing class sizes, drying up school supply money and killing teacher morale in just about every school district.
“The American Federation of Teachers led the rally, accompanied by parents, other labor unions, the NAACP and a few students.”
"The fact is there are some schools that won't even be able to open their doors this fall," said Vi Parramore, president of the Jefferson County AFT.
Fast-forward to September, when schools are continuing to grope for more money. What is a union to do? Some buy pencils or paper for the students. Some will give small scholarships to students to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities. The PR impact is pure gold.
So what has Vi Parramore’s union decided to do?
“We donated the microwave to the school,” Parramore told The St. Clair Times. “We are putting the microwave in a common area for all teachers. There was one particular part of the school that did not have a microwave that worked. We thought it would be a good idea to help in this way.”
Apparently, the American Federation of Teachers in Alabama is so tone deaf that it thinks putting the needs of the adult school employees ahead of student needs is good public relations.
Parramore said the microwave “will boost morale and be a big thing.”
Wow. That’s all it takes? A hundred dollar microwave? The Jefferson County AFT is a cheap date. Sort of makes school districts everywhere wonder why they agree to very costly 4% raises to keep employees happy, when a quick trip to Walmart might just do the trick.
The people most in need of a morale boost are the taxpayers. How about having the unions review their collective bargaining contracts to weed out the unnecessary and wasteful spending? That would buy a heck of a lot of microwaves.