Franklin Countys First News

School board discusses lack of bus drivers, substitute pay

The Regional School Unit 9 board.

FARMINGTON - The Regional School Unit 9 school board received an update from the Operations Committee Tuesday, discussing the district's struggles in hiring bus drivers and custodians.

Director Jeff Harris of New Sharon reported from the committee that RSU 9 was finding it difficult to keep driver and custodial positions filled. As a result, Harris and school officials said, some custodial duties were going undone on a regular basis in order to staff buses. RSU 9 hires people capable of serving both custodians and bus drivers.

"Some days, we're struggling with how to get the kids to school," Harris said.

One issue was the requirement that custodians also be able to operate buses, Harris said, in some cases limiting the pool of applicants. Another is the large discrepancy in pay for those positions between RSU 9 and surrounding districts. Those staffers make $13-plus per hour in RSU 9, per the terms of their new, three-year contract, while those same positions are paid $17 or $18 per hour in surrounding districts.

Superintendent Tina Meserve agreed that the pay discrepancy was a challenge for the district. Small annual increases did not close that regional pay gap if every district was providing them, Meserve noted, adding that there was a state and national shortage of bus drivers that created further demand.

"That's a challenge that I think we need to untangle in the future," Meserve said, adding that an employee was unlikely to stay with RSU 9 if they could drive 15 minutes and get paid an additional $4 per hour.

Meserve said that one issue was that the district had signed a new contract with those staffers in July, making further adjustments more complicated.

In other business, the board approved the dissolution of five policies, including one that limited substitute pay. The Arrangement for Professional Staff Substitutes policy limited substitute pay to $85 per day unless the substitute had a teaching certificate in the subject they were subbing. Meserve said that this was unlikely - people maintaining their certificates are generally teaching full-time and therefore unavailable - and it limited the district's ability to hire long-term substitutes for specialized positions, such as science teachers. In some cases, administrators noted, such substitutes were utilized to fill positions for which no suitable candidates were hired.

Meserve suggested that instead of a policy, she report to the board on substitute pay as part of the budget process.

While administrators are already working on department needs, budget workshops will begin on Jan. 29.


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55 Responses »

  1. Watching our the budget is structured over the past 4 years, I have been disturbed by the amount of raises teachers and administrators get (large dollar amounts) while the bus drivers and custodians get cents. Now the district is starting to figure out that's not exactly the way to do business.
    So which is more important? To get kids to school safely or having teachers to teach. Teachers won't have anyone to teach if there aren't any kids. And drivers aren't needed if there are no teachers to educate.
    Everyone is going to support the teachers and their raises. That's what has been done routinely. But now the district is feeling the crunch for not giving fair raises to support staff. It is a Catch 22.
    However, there IS a solution. But most of the people in charge are blind to that potential solution. And it does NOT mean a huge increase in the budget.
    THis is a challenge to the present School Board. Figure out how to give your bus drivers more money or parents may have to transport their kids.

  2. Not many people want to bust their hump cleaning and keeping districts properties in presentable shape and drive the bus tbefore and after .These positions need to be seperated as they are in some districts.I myself would apply for a custodial position but in no way would drive a school bus , I imagine it works the same way for the bus drivers. Low wage is a deterent but not the deal breaker . Keep them seperated.

  3. A bus driver has more responsibility than any employee in the district, including even the superintendent. Especially now that misuse of cell phones is rampant. Shift some money from the overpaid administration to the only employees that actually have kid’s lives in their hands.

  4. RSU#9 offers some of the LOWEST wages for bus drivers and custodians in the local area, Jay, Dixfield, Rumford, Turner and Kingfield. I myself am a bus driver and realize the amount of pressure and stress driving a bus can create for the person behind the wheel. As bus drivers, we are responsible to drive safely, being on time, all the while, watching out for drivers of other vehicles, changing road conditions and anything that may arise in your path. But most importantly, we have the HIGHEST RESPONSIBILITY of ALL EMPLOYEES, with that, the number of children AT ONE TIME under ONE persons responsibility!!! Sooner or later, if not recognized as a MUCH more IMPORTANT and RESPECTED part of a school district, the problem of a lack of bus drivers will get worse.

    School boards, administrators and teachers don't really understand the level of stress a school bus driver endures, maybe they should push away from THEIR IMPORTANT duties and ride a school bus, AM and PM, for a week or so. Maybe it would change their outlook on the this profession.

  5. Scott believe it or not there are a couple people sitting on the school board that understand your position. Unfortunately their are too many rubber stampers that have been putting the money into the wrong pockets. It was again proven the other night at the meeting. They shut down anyone trying to make sense of how things work and just push their own agenda. Until they change the weighted vote this will not change. Anyone can go to the district website and see which towns have upcoming seats available and I encourage anyone with common sense to seek election for these towns. Nancy is correct there seems that there will be no doubt of a large increase to the budget again this year and they will expect the public to just accept it or else. We see this last fall when parents and students and even some faculty expressed opposition to PBE and what happened the people most affected were ITNORED.

  6. The problem is that the folks now in "charge' came from the teachers lounge. And are being controlled by those that are still frequenting the teachers lounge.

    The bus drivers and custodians aren't allowed in the teachers lounge. Therefore they have no say.


    And yes the drivers and custodians should be separated... For sure.

  7. Does anyone remember the many discussions (some may suggest arguments) during the 2016-17 budget
    Process about the HUGE multi year pay raises to all administration that eventually got their pay equal to that
    Of administrators in much larger southern Maine school districts??? During a 3-4 year timeframe the highest
    Paid school employees got pay increases raising their salaries from the upper 60's-low 70's to about $88,000
    Per year + benefits, and the high school principal moved up to almost 100k per year (salary only). And during
    That year, i believe the custodians got a 10 cent per hour pay raise. I questioned the superintendent about that
    Tiny pay raise at the New Sharron tax payer meeting and got the standard "no money available to give them
    Any more than that". These folks are the lowest paid employees of the school system, yet they have a vital
    Role in the safety of the kids, and the cleanliness of the schools. This district spends money on all sorts of
    Trips and training and unique classes that are normally given as electives at the college level. Why not cut
    Some thousands there and give these folks a decent and well deserved salary equal to that paid in all the
    Nearby districts???

  8. The lack of pay is the main reason I left my job at RSU 9. Also the lack of care from the top concerning the lack of pay is another reason. We werent asking for much. We just wanted to be payed a wage consistent with the job responsibilities. The district should count their blessings with the ones who have remained on the job. They all are hard workers who usually go above and beyond.

  9. Name says it all.....the full time year round bus drivers work as custodians to make their 8 hours per day. The drivers have to transfer departments, when they are custodians they make $1 less an hour. Might not sound like to much until vacations roll around, especially summer vaca when they bring home $160 LESS a month!! They are constantly belittled and looked down upon!! SOME teachers and administrators have made comments saying things like, drivers shouldn’t get paid more because they are “uneducated”!?!? (By the way, my spouse has a college education) The fact of the matter is, these drivers leave home before the sun comes up and return long after it has gone down. They fill EVERY school position WHILE DRIVING! They have to hold a valid CPR certification, which includes learning how to use an AED (automatic external defibrillator), they have also been trained to administer Epi-pens, give diabetic shots, take care of a student having seizures, and recently had to take a wilderness first aid class!! These drivers are carrying the most precious cargo, they have the most responsibility and are paid the least!!!!???? This district should show extreme gratitude to these people for what they do, especially with the mere wages they receive!! You drivers do one heck of a job, THANK YOU, and god bless!!

  10. The bus drivers are the unsung heroes of the school district. You could not pay me enough to do their jobs....

    I have to deal with the behavior of about 20 students a day, and occasionally some of that behavior is totally out of control. I can call another adult to help if things get bad enough. I can also remove a child to the office if needed. Our bus drivers have to deal with over 70 students, with their backs turned, with no one to call in for back up, AND they have to drive at the same time --- sometimes under horrible weather conditions (remember a few weeks ago when some of our busses could barely stay on the road?).
    Like I said, I am a teacher, and there is not enough money in the world for me to want to do that job.
    Thank you, bus drivers. You are my heroes. You hold the precious lives of our children your hands every day. You deserve a competitive wage and then some.

  11. This is an all around problem. I drive truck locally. Everyone i know that owns trucks can't BUY a driver. Guys are selling off trucks or getting out of business completely. You can't make a livable wage with a CDL anymore. I met a few guys this summer that quit driving bus because of the pay. But it's not much better anywhere else. Nobody wants to pay anything.

    All trades in general are down. the outfits we work for were understaffed all summer. One outfit was 125 men short and they couldn't get help. Nobody wants to work anymore. Part of it is people are lazy and the other part is the pay. I have to work 70 hours a week all summer to make a living, and it's wrong.

    The tipping point is coming. Anyone in any trade can see it. Eventually when services stop being rendered, we will get our pay.

    Money talks. All the kids today aren't going into blue collar trade jobs. They all want easy, high paying jobs and we are now starting to pay for it. Laborers and Tradesmen are on a massive decline. I'm fortunate enough to be young enough that I will reap the rewards of people paying more to steal me from my current job.

    The ONLY way anyone is going to solve a blue collar labor job right now is $$$$$ no if's and's or but's. That is the one and only incentive to go to work for someone with a CDL. Who pays me more.

  12. If there is not enough money to pay bus drivers a decent wage then it's time to take money from administrators and teachers and bring them down to a level where they ought to be. As to the remark "they are uneducated", an educated idiot is still an idiot.

  13. If the ADMINISTRATION can relate their pay to other LARGER school districts, why aren’t they doing the SAME for the bus drivers.. try driving a bus, keeping your eyes on the road while keeping your eyes on the kids in the backs seats fighting, keeping your eyes on other drivers, keeping your eyes on the sick children ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!! And you pay them minimum???... I agree with the person saying , put the ADMINISTRATION on the buses for 2 weeks... , better yet, have ALL administration NEED a bus drivers license, so they can fill in, if your getting that amount of pay.. EARN IT!!!

  14. administration contracts need to be lowered next time around. bus drivers need to be paid more NOW. take from the sports budget and pay the bus drivers, if the custodial jobs arent getting done how come those high paid administrators aren't doing it? it is ultimately their responsibilty to keep the schools clean and in good order. we are certainly paying them enough by their own logic.

  15. The market sets the wages. You want a quality person to run a complex $35 million enterprise with numerous legal and personal problems, you have to pay. You want a principal who can deal with kids, legal requirements, supervise teachers and ed techs, you have pay. Administrators earn their money - it's amazing that people want to diss them, completely not understanding the importance of the work they do. Yes, bus drivers need to be paid a market wage. But unless you want communism, the idea that we even can cut administrative salaries and still keep quality people is a fantasy. The market sets the salary - good people will go elsewhere if they are not paid a market rate. The people wanting to simply diss administrators are clueless about the importance and quality of the work they do. Clueless. Or maybe they're espousing communism, wanting equal pay without regard to the market. But I agree on the fact we need to pay market wages for bus drivers.

  16. Porterville is definitely on to something. Require all administration AND teachers to have a bus drivers license before they can get hired. That way if there is a shortage of drivers on a certain day, a teacher that has first period "study hall, "planning period" or lounge time can jump behind the wheel and get the little darlings to school. Same at end of day. Just make sure to reduce their pay to $13/hr for any and all time behind wheel.

  17. Public education as it is currently funded and structured is not sustainable. People who have children will either have to pay more for the privilege or move to areas that can pool their monies. Yes, my minimum education
    ( k~8 ) was provided by tax payers but as I hear over and over on these threads, times have changed.

  18. Mr. Erb:
    Why haven't you gone elsewhere? If the bus drivers three years ago received more than a nickel raise when the administrators received anywhere from $2,000 to $8000 dollars in raises, we wouldn't be where we are now. Why would any bus driver want to stay with such disrepect

  19. Funny how liberals dismiss the law of supply and demand (and all other sound economic principles) except when justifying their wages.

  20. Jason - I believe bus drivers should be paid at market rates, which are higher than what they are currently paid. The district has a three year contract with them, and it's in the first year. I'll do what I can to try to advocate but the market forces discipline - when you don't pay, people leave. As to your other question, I don't go elsewhere because I love it here.

    Billyjoebob - yeah, there are so many mandates that much of the budget is untouchable - the district is legally obligated. Those mandates were not accompanied by more state or federal money, and that makes the situation difficult. Still, even with little money compared to wealthier areas I'm impressed by what our schools accomplish.

  21. Maybe if we were willing to pay a few $$ more in property taxes, at least until the government in Augusta funds at the mandatory 55%, we wouldn’t be in this bind. But remember, every time the school budget comes around, many here prefer to cut, cut, cut, with no respect to people who work in the district, So janitors, bus drivers, teacher’s aide, Ed techs, and finally teachers are mostly forgotten. As a community we have an obligation to each other, but come school budget time, many are in tax-slashing “let’s only care about my own bottom line”-mode. So, if you want pay increases for bus drivers don’t make such a fuss about the budget.

    That being said, I also find it highly problematic that given the situation, bus driver pay is set at current rates and that it won’t change for 3 years. Never met a union that wasn’t willing to amend a contract with higher wages. Come on RSU 9. This needs to be addressed pronto.

  22. Sabine: Tell you what! You and all your friends with healthy checkbooks step up to the plate and donate more than the taxes you are billed for and designate it for school expenses. That will give the rest of us some relief - we are sick of scraping the bottom of the flour barrel to get what we can for our taxes.
    I doubt that we'll see much change coming out of Augusta for a couple of years. Anything that has been saved over the last few years will be spent on medical insurance for those who don't work. Then once the money has been thrown into welfare programs, the schools again will have to stand in line for their share. And while Mills had promised to increase revenue sharing to the towns, more money to the schools, and funding for town to fix roads and bridges, don't hold your breath. The rest of our climbing taxes will likely be more than they are now.

  23. Amusing that someone whose livelihood depends fully on tax dollars is an advocate for higher taxes! Imagine that...

  24. Good satire Sabine. hahahahahaha.

  25. Captain Planet, thanks for looking me up. You should be aware that my salary does not come from taxes because UMF can count itself lucky if it gets more than 27% of its budget from the State, And I pay an not insignificant amount in federal, state, and property taxes, so please don’t pretend that I live on your dime.

    Nancy, I don’t think you can complain about paying too much in property taxes if you own commercial property or property not used for yourself. If you can’t afford your taxes, sell your land. As I mentioned to Captain Planet, I pay and have paid taxes ever since I started working, and as a taxpayer I have as much a right to demand higher taxes to pay for busdrivers, etc. as you do to clamor for lowering the tax base,

    And just as an aside, the Medicare expansion will be paid through your and my federal taxes, and it will lower the health expenses for the state government AND provide dearly needed funding for local hospitals and health care providers, thus in turn increasing the tax base for the stat and for communities.

  26. Sabine is right - UMF is mostly a private college with costs being paid by tuition and fees, as the state share of the budget has gone from 60% when I came back in 1995 to about 25% today. So UMF does not operate as a burden on tax payers. In fact, private universities with much higher tuition probably get more tax money than UMF.

    There are two things I've never complained about: taxes and whatever salary I earn. Even when I was a night manager at a restaurant earning $14,500 a year (to be sure, that was the mid-80's), I never complained. Our taxes pay for things we need, and we need an educated population. I am sympathetic to the burdens of high property taxes, and really wish we'd fund education differently. RSU 9 is one of the most lean districts in spending compared to the rest of the state, even though many people here don't know it. Complaining about teacher or administrator salaries (often by people who wouldn't dream about complaining about CEO salaries and what big banks and corporations earn) is to ignore where the problem really lies. Unfunded mandates control a lot of the spending we have to do. In recent years the school district has not added much at all to property taxes, but people still complain. I think some people will complain no matter what.

  27. All comments interesting but I would like to add it All isn't pay in regards to lack of bus rivers and custodians. A lot has to do with administrators over them making decisions that are restrictive and unwise because they don't know the work involved. Maybe rules and policies need to be looked into with staff personal having an imput as to WHY they are losing to other districts. Thank you staff workers for all your work.

  28. I’d be happy with 27% of my income handed to me at the expense of others. I’m hesitant to believe 73% of UMF budget is privately funded. Sabine, have you factored in UMF’s property tax exemption that townspeople have to cover? And you failed to mention federal contributions; I pay those taxes too.

  29. Porterville and Jose are onto something. Let the administrators and teachers drive busses when needed and have the pay reflect as such for that time, then more people can be drug tested that work in our district.

  30. Captain Planet, since unlike me, you refuse to reveal who you are, I cannot check on where you work and where you’re paying taxes. However, I think that as we look at the property taxes UMF is exempt from, we should consider how much money and how many jobs UMF brings to the community. I also think that if you contest UMF’s tax free status, you may want to think about all the other organizations that don’t pay taxes. What about the hospital, for example? Are you suggesting that it is somehow paying taxes while not being financed by tax money? And what about the businesses who get a tax exemption from the town or state? What makes them more deserving of a tax free status?

    Finally, if you looked up the UMF-budget, to which you as a taxpayer have access, you’d see that the current state appropriations are not even enough to maintain the infrastructure. All salaries are paid out of the remaining 73%, most of which come from tuition. Then you could also see that there’s no federal funding for higher ed.

  31. If the bus drivers are in year 1 of their contract at a rate of pay that is substandard to what the market dictates is the norm, they need to find themselves new union representation- they are clearly NOT doing their job!

  32. Captain planet - we have very different perspectives. I think the state should fund public universities at 70% rather than 27%. Having an educated society is the most important thing for maintaining democracy and having prosperity. Everyone gets paid "at the expense of others." In every job where someone is an employee. People get paid for their work, at market rates. To demonize people who get paid via taxes rather than profits is misguided (and that would include the police, the military, etc.).

  33. Wow Scott, eventually there will be no bus drivers, fruit pickers, food service workers, most any physical labor type jobs. It is beneath most educated people. Yes, shooting for the 5 dollar cup of coffee. That 10 dollar piece of pie. Want your weeds pulled or lawn mowed? Better take out another mortgage. And that will be if you can find someone to actually show up and do the work.
    There is a good post above that sums up the labor force right now. A massive shortage in skilled labor and people wanting to get into service orientated work.

  34. billyjoebob - good points, though I'd support more funding for votech classes, especially adult education. People have different skill sets. I'm horrible at anything mechanical, another is a genius at it. One just has to find ones' niche.

  35. Is the bus drivers' union a part of or the same as the teachers' union? Does a teacher negotiate a contract for the bus drivers? Do the districts that pay a higher hourly wage offer as good a benefit package as RSU9? Answers to these and other questions may unravel the problem. Or at least part of it.

  36. Scott Erb..."Having an educated society is the most important thing for maintaining democracy and having prosperity", I know alot of people without a college degree including myself that are doing just fine. The are patriots unlike a lot of "educated" people I know.

  37. Bob, no the bus driver's are with the ed techs and custodians for their union, not the same as the teachers. Old Maineiac - while I see education (and as I noted above votech and adult ed) as really important, I did not mean to imply they were necessary fro everyone. Sorry.

  38. Enough already!

    We, the people of the United States of America, of which, Maine is a significant part, have been underfunding infrastructure for a long time: Schools, roads, broad band internet.

    Then we the people allow our Congress and President to cut taxes by huge amounts for corporations, and high income taxpayers, and now we complain about not paying public servants enough?

    Look at how we are divided and see: Go into attack mode! Please, don't face the big problem of underfunding public services like roads, fire departments, schools, (schools include the buildings, the drivers, the cafeteria workers, the teachers). Instead, attack, repeat, attack! Drive wedges, don't solve problems!

    If you are curious about pay, investigate: RSU 9 does, in fact pay less than other districts for almost all positions.
    Our state has made it very difficult for rural, away from the coast of Maine to compete by reducing funds coming to the towns, revising how pensions are funded, etc...

    So what happens instead of forming a plan to address the next 5 to 10 years of public services locally?

    Attack, repeat, Attack!

    Enough already!

  39. Mr. Erb:
    Many Americans have spilled blood all over this world so that you have the RIGHTS you have today. Watching the meetings on video it appears that you do not salute the flag! Why? Yes you have that right. However, in a public school environment why would you want to show such disrespect to our flag and our country? What message are YOU sending the students? Communism?

  40. Frankly, I don't want to hear how UMF is "self-funded" and not a burden on the tax payer. How long have you lived in Farmington? We had to build a $7M+ sewer treatment plant because of UMF's expansion in dorms.
    They DID have to contribute to the capital costs of it, but guess who ELSE paid for the expansion? The users. And guess how much the fees went up? A LOT! We have extra sidewalks for UMF students. Sure tax payers use them, but we paid for them, not UMF. We have watched our town be sucked up by UMF, losing tax dollars yearly for THEIR tax exempt property. (132 pieces I believe) The rationale is that all the students will support the town and its business. Okay, coffee shops and sandwich shops are those who benefit. BUT...did anyone factor in the amount of taxes UMF has sucked out of this community? Sabine, you might be interested to know the sum likely exceed $1.2 Million now with the Emery Arts center, and the Biomass plant.
    Now...let's look at the EXPENSES created by the UMF student body itself. Their voting practices cost the town roughly $5,000 per election for additional personnel and paperwork needed to provide their needs to secure registration. But then...let's look at the student body from another angle. THEY VOTE ON OUR SCHOOL BUDGET!!!! They are enticed by Professors, local teachers, and other local supporters to COME VOTE TO SAVE OUR SCHOOL. They show up at rallies. AND they vote. And guess who pays for increased budgets? NOT THEM! Then they laugh behind the tax payers backs.
    So when people say the University doesn't cost the town anything, think about all the street lights our taxes pay for that surround the campus. And the tax payers pay for the hydrant rental on all the fire hydrants around campus. Plus we plow their streets, and sidewalks.
    So when does UMF start contributing to the town's coffers? NEVER! EVER!

  41. @Old Maineiac: Equating 'patriotism' with NOT being 'educated' is the most outrageous thing I've heard in a long time.

  42. You folks who are upset about Scott Erb's remark about an educated population should really study the writings of Thomas Jefferson.

  43. Scott, look at Mt. Blue's parking lot. It's crammed with vehicles. How many auto shop classes are offered in the school?. Wood working? Plumbing? Anything mechanical?
    How many teachers and staff drive and need repairs on their vehicles?
    As a retired ( 45 years in the trenches ) auto tech I have seen the public school systems run their course. When my children went through high school the shop classes were cutout completely. The sports programs were boosted. When we would go to school sponsored sports programs the parking lots were filled with vehicles.
    My point is that I have gotten through life not needing the services of you, or someone like Sabine ( I am NOT minimizing what you do ) but chances are you have and do use my field of services.
    I read one of your staff praise my profession right here on these threads.
    As I see it this is a rigged game. The people setting the market and wages are the people collecting them.
    How can there be " just keep raising taxes " for a entity that just wants to continue to spend so it can raise more money to spend more?
    I agree everyone has a niche. The schools I, and my children, went to did NOT explore and support those niches.
    They just talked about mandates, test scores, and a lack of funding.
    I would love to see the janitors and bus drivers paid what a hard working, critical function of the school system and the community are worth.

  44. Dear Enough Already,
    You too got a tax cut. If you are interested in paying more there is a place on you income tax form where you can do that. Did you? If you are so interested in paying more~ put your money where your mouth is and do so. The rest of us are tired of paying more and getting less. Working harder only to give it away and get no benefit from it. We have very pretty schools with lovely architecture, artwork, and outstanding paint jobs. However, the kids don't come out any smarter. When we realize that all of the frills don't make us smarter, better, accountable, or more able to contribute to society~~then we will start doing the right things with our money (taxes).

  45. Nancy, you're antipathy to UMF blinds you from the fact that all over Maine businesses have been closing as globalization means outsourcing jobs. Without UMF, or the hospital, Farmington would be in a world of trouble. Think what area businesses would say if UMF, all its employees and the students weren't spending money here.. At this point, Nancy, I just have to laugh at you.

    Jason has me laughing out loud though. Communism? *eyes rolling*. I made my decision when I was 20 (and I was actually a state officer for the South Dakota College Republicans) that I would NEVER pledge my allegiance to a SYMBOL. My allegiance is to the ideals that make America great, and to the constitution. I stand at attention, respectfully, and remain silent. If I do not show any disrespect. If that bothers you, that's your problem, not mine.

  46. By the way, an addition to my comment. As much as I disagree with Nancy, I think is she a great person, and I admire her willingness to be active in fighting for what she believes.

  47. "Having an educated society is the most important thing for maintaining democracy and having prosperity."

    Not having an educated society results in a mass of mindless bigoted followers parroting their leader's tripe and waiting around to be told what to do next

  48. Billyjoebob, I think a lot of people don't realize how difficult it is to be an administrator these days in schools - and everyone likes to just attack "administrators." But the Superintendent has to run a $35 million enterprise that is full of mandates and government requirements, and the task to to assure quality education for all kids. I know I could not do the job a Superintendent or principal could do - these are specialized intensely demanding jobs. I know people running much smaller businesses with far less complexity often make far more money. I'm not sure how the market is rigged here. In fact the real rigging is from big banks and businesses who get massive bonuses and use their clout to have laws written to protect them from market discipline! Teachers are among the lowest paid professionals given the demands and requirements made of them. They also get paid less than most skilled workers.

    But I think and hope that as the votech program expands and people realize that the job market is changing, schools adapt and recognize the variety of niches that are necessary, and help all students find those. College isn't for everyone, votech isn't for everyone, and standardized tests are, in my opinion, a bit of a farce. Schools stress those because of government demands, and at least they give us data that can be used to improve things. I have no idea how to change the funding mechanism, but do know that the new Superintendent is focused on trying to minimize costs and take seriously community concerns. Neither she nor the school board can get rid of government mandates and legal spending obligations.

  49. "$35 million enterprise", there lies the problem

  50. Scott, we have totally different views on the function for public education and where the lines are drawn.
    But in the end it is the people most educated who draw the lines ( make the rules ) and the most to gain from them.
    When I go out and see the product of public education I think 35 million a year is way overpriced.