Friday, May 13, 2011

Idaho 101

Sometimes a single word can cause the arrow of argument to miss the target.

That was the case in a previous editorial regarding a 2 percent pay raise for teachers and administrators in the Blaine County School District.

We apologize to anyone offended by the use of the word "autistic." We recognize the seriousness of this condition and share deep concern for sufferers and their families. Many functions of the human brain are still utterly mysterious and unresolved, even in the age of high technology.

That said, the focus should be on the debate over the pay raise.

In 2009, even as they lost jobs and saw property values plummet, voters approved a $59.8 million school plant facilities levy to be used over 10 years to repair or replace aging buildings and equipment.

Without the levy, the district would have had to reduce educators' salaries and programs just to replace a furnace. The levy protected teaching jobs, small classes and important courses.

It was not an invitation to raid the school treasury.

The pay raise demonstrates unmitigated bureaucratic insularity.

The school board, teachers and administrators need to enroll in Idaho 101. They would learn how they have been protected from the schemes of state elected officials who have starved other districts. They would study proposed school layoffs of up to 11 percent in Bannock County, 3.5 percent pay cuts in Fremont County, and last year's 7.8 percent pay cuts for Twin Falls teachers.

The Blaine County School Board should have forced educators to hold tight instead of heaping an additional $650,000 a year onto already staggering taxpayers in a shaky economy.

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