If you met a man dying of thirst in the desert, I bet he would be willing to smash his head against a rock for a drink of water. If the man with the extra water was Rick Snyder, I bet he would call the head smashing a “best practice.” Rick Snyder has been unnecessarily cutting school funding and at the same time giving a few dollars back to schools that implement his so called “best practices.” So while schools are cutting into the bone, they are also implementing Rick Snyder’s vision for public schools in order to get a sip of more revenue.
As a case in point, take a look at what just happened with the Cadillac Area Public Schools (CAPS). CAPS just fired 40 cooks and janitors in order to privatize those services. The privatization will save them an estimated $400,000 and will also allow them to get a little bit of extra money by meeting Rick Snyder’s “best practice” of bidding out non-instructional services. That was the rationale Cadillac’s school board used when they voted unanimously to privatize those services. The janitorial services will be taken over by Enviro-Clean Inc. which will send local money to Fort Wayne, Indiana and the food service will be taken over by Chartwells/Compass Group which will send local money to Charlotte, North Carolina. These companies will serve as the middle man so that CAPS can have workers who do the same jobs for less money and/or with reduced benefits.
The politics of the CAPS vote is as interesting as the vote itself. One of the yes votes was made by Scott Koenig who is a teacher and the president of the education association at an adjacent district. Like the cooks and the janitors, Scott is a member of the Michigan Education Association. Scott’s belief is that this was the only way to “save teachers” and maintain a “proper academic environment for kids.” Down the road at Marion Public Schools layoffs were made but Superintendent Greg Mikulich refused to take the privatization route saying that privatization is like “throwing employee’s under the bus.”
The timing of the CAPS privatization is also interesting. It came a matter of days after Superintendent Paul Liabenow left to take the job as the Executive Director of the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association. One would wonder if the vote was taken after Mr. Liabenow left to keep his name from being tarnished. Liabenow is the odds on favorite to run for the 102nd House District at some point in the future.
To summarize, Cadillac Area Public Schools has now implemented the Governor’s best practices. That means they will be paying people less to do the same work while sending money from their community to North Carolina and Indiana. Many in the community are left feeling like their head was smashed against a rock. From www.michiganpopulist.com
Source: Cadillac News