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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 12, 2011 / 10 Tamuz, 5771

Controversial budget law begins to pay off

By Byron York




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "This is a disaster," Mark Miller, the Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader, said in February after Republican Gov. Scott Walker proposed a budget bill that would curtail the collective-bargaining powers of some public employees. Miller predicted catastrophe if the bill were to become law -- a charge repeated thousands of times by his fellow Democrats, union officials and protesters in the streets.

Now the bill is law, and we have some early evidence of how it is working. And for one beleaguered Wisconsin school district, it's a godsend, not a disaster.

The Kaukauna Area School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect at 12:01 a.m. June 29, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it's all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.

In the past, teachers and other staff at Kaukauna were required to pay 10 percent of the cost of their health-insurance coverage and none of their pension costs. Now they'll pay 12.6 percent of the cost of their coverage (still well below rates in much of the private sector) and contribute 5.8 percent of salary to their pensions. The changes will save the school board an estimated $1.2 million this year, according to board president Todd Arnoldussen.

Of course, Wisconsin unions had offered to make benefit concessions during the budget fight. Wouldn't Kaukauna's money problems have been solved if Walker had just accepted those concessions and not demanded cutbacks in collective-bargaining powers?

"The monetary part of it is not the entire issue," says Arnoldussen, a political independent who won a spot on the board in a nonpartisan election. Indeed, some of the most important improvements in Kaukauna's outlook are because of the new limits on collective bargaining.

In the past, Kaukauna's agreement with the teachers union required the school district to purchase health-insurance coverage from something called WEA Trust -- a company created by the Wisconsin teachers union. "It was in the collective-bargaining agreement that we could negotiate only with them," says Arnoldussen. "Well, you know what happens when you can negotiate with only one vendor." This year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase in premiums.

Now the collective-bargaining agreement is gone, and the school district is free to shop around for coverage. And all of a sudden, WEA Trust has changed its position. "With these changes, the schools could go out for bids, and, lo and behold, WEA Trust said, 'We can match the lowest bid,'" says Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke, who represents the area and supports the Walker changes. At least for the moment, Kaukauna is staying with WEA Trust but saving substantial amounts of money.

Then there are work rules. "In the collective-bargaining agreement, high-school teachers had to teach only five periods a day out of seven," says Arnoldussen. "Now they're going to teach six." In addition, the collective-bargaining agreement specified that teachers had to be in the school 37-1/2 hours a week. Now it will be 40 hours.

The changes mean Kaukauna can reduce the size of its classes -- from 31 students to 26 students in high school and from 26 students to 23 students in elementary school. In addition, there will be more teacher time for one-on-one sessions with troubled students. Those changes would not have been possible without the much-maligned changes in collective bargaining.

Teachers' salaries will stay "relatively the same," Arnoldussen says, except for higher pension and health care payments. (The top salary is about $80,000 per year, with about $35,000 in additional benefits, for 184 days of work per year -- summers off.) Finally, the money saved will be used to hire a few more teachers and institute merit pay.

It is impossible to overstate how bitter and ugly the Wisconsin fight has been, and that bitterness and ugliness continues to this day with efforts to recall senators and an unseemly battle inside the state Supreme Court. But the new law is now a reality, and Gov. Walker recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the measure would gain acceptance "with every day, week and month that goes by that the world doesn't fall apart."

In the Kaukauna schools, the world is definitely not falling apart -- it's getting better.

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Previously:




07/04/11 Anti-Mormon bias persists, notably among Dems
06/27/11 Huntsman tries McCain model, but he's no John McCain
06/06/11 Amid media circus, Palin lays out policy positions
05/30/11 GOP condemns Dems' ‘breathtaking’ refusal to produce budget
05/24/11 Eye-for-an-eye filibuster stops Democratic nominee
05/17/11 Amid RomneyCare fight, voters ask: Where's Mitt?
05/10/11 Bin Laden coup won't help Obama in budget fight
05/09/11 Inside the GOP debate: Pawlenty underwhelms, Cain struggles, Santorum scores
05/02/11 Huckabee decision will shape GOP presidential race
04/27/11 Get ready for game of chicken over debt ceiling
04/25/11 McCain: Libyan rebels seek U.S. recognition, might pay for war costs
04/18/11 Have the U.S. and NATO given up on Libya mess?
04/11/11 Reforming entitlements is key to a strong military
04/05/11 Jihadis Who Killed Americans Get U.S. Support in Libya
04/04/11 Unions deploy money and muscle in Battle of Wisconsin
03/30/11 Labor fight in Wisconsin is far from over
03/28/11 Obama fails to grasp the gravity of going to war
03/21/11 Union equates lavish benefits to black civil rights
03/15/11 GOP should heed lesson of 1991: No guts, no glory
03/14/11 GOP focuses on NPR's subsidies, not its politics
03/08/11 While Obama seeks new ideas, his bureaucrats stifle them
02/28/11 Why the GOP shouldn't fear a government shutdown
02/22/11 In Hawaii, a dispiriting glimpse of one-party rule
02/21/11 Obama team uses slippery words to tout budget
02/15/11 Myth and memory: The battle over Reagan's legacy
02/07/11 Invoking Reagan, Palin says ‘this is a time for choosing again’
01/31/11 With each passing year, Reagan grows larger in the American political imagination
01/24/11 House GOP begins long drive to dismantle Obamacare
01/17/11 GOP gears up again to strip NPR of federal funds
01/10/11 To House GOP, illegal immigration is a jobs issue
01/03/11 Obamacare mess is legacy of Dems' moment of power
12/27/10 Smiling Dems will soon cry ‘Washington is broken’
12/20/10 Dems are earmark junkies but GOP goes straight
12/13/10 Needed: A ‘more presidential’ Palin
12/06/10 With Dems in a funk, Obama charts a new course
11/29/10 Obama's poll numbers point to his defeat in 2012
11/22/10 Holder ignored risks of civilian terror trials
11/16/10 Dems love facts and science --- except when they don't
11/08/10 Obama, new GOP lawmakers are on collision course
11/01/10 New GOP star on track to defeat Dem legend Russ Feingold
10/26/10 If Dems lose, Obama will blame everyone but himself
10/19/10 Profligate Congress should read its own bills
10/13/10 Why Big Labor couldn't match Glenn Beck's rally
10/11/10 Trash-talking Democrat faces defeat in Florida
10/05/10 A GOP unknown in striking distance of Barney Frank
09/28/10 Administration inflates green-jobs numbers
09/20/10 In Delaware, GOP should target Dems, not O'Donnell
09/14/10 GOP Insiders Wary of Landslide Predictions
08/31/10 For Obamacare supporters, judgment day approaches
08/23/10 Obama has himself to blame for Muslim problem
08/17/10 Cut spending without cutting services? Start here
08/17/10 For Michelle Obama, extravagance dents popularity
08/09/10 Obama's zealous civil rights enforcer gets busy
08/02/10 A battle between Left and Right --- inside the GOP
07/26/10 GOP spoiling for fight over Berwick appointment
07/20/10 How long will the public tolerate Afghan war?
07/12/10 NASA's Muslim outreach: Al Jazeera told first
07/02/10 Legal complaint against Gore is detailed, credible
06/28/10 Obama and Dems heading for electoral disaster
06/21/10 Who told Obama drilling is ‘absolutely safe’?
06/14/10 Billions for ‘green jobs,’ whatever they are
06/07/10 Sestak a no-go for any job. So what was the deal?
05/31/10 As economic worries worsen, White House puts on the glitz
05/25/10 GOP dilemma: Fight Kagan, or go along?
05/11/10 Enforcing nation's immigration laws would be a bargain
05/03/10 How Obama could lose Arizona immigration battle
04/27/10 What's behind the anti-Tea Party hate narrative?
04/20/10 As government expands, beware the post-office example
04/19/10 Who wins in 2010? Good luck reading tea leaves
04/12/10 GOP Obamacare strategy: Try repeal, then cut
04/05/10 Obamacare was mainly aimed at redistributing wealth
03/30/10 Message to Dems: People still don't like Obamacare
03/23/10 The coming consequences of Obamacare
03/16/10 Marco Rubio and the Republicans who love him
03/15/10 GOP hopes town halls take health care off table
03/08/10 Dems turn risky health vote into manhood contest
03/01/10 Why Obama defies the public on health care
02/22/10 South Carolina mulls 2012: Romney? Palin? Huck?
02/16/10 GOP winning war over Miranda rights for terrorists
02/09/10 Who are the 300 terrorists held in U.S. prisons?
02/02/10 Is Obama dissatisfied with being president?
01/19/10 The Republican dilemma: Good Michael or Bad Michael?
01/12/10 Now the lawmakers are figuring out what they didn't know
01/05/10 GOP deserves blame for Democratic excesses
12/29/09 Dems' dreams of a blue West begin to turn red
12/22/09 Why Dems push health care, even if it kills them
11/30/09 Dems' kamikaze mission: Health care by New Year's
11/23/09 Why it's a mistake to bring Gitmo prisoners here
11/16/09 Dems' slick fix: $210 billion of fiscal restraint
11/10/09 Obama can't be community organizer for the world
11/02/09 At key moment, Obama leaves health post unfilled 10/26/09 ‘Fierce urgency' for jobs, not health care’
10/12/09 Facts hurt Jennings in youth sex controversy
10/05/09 Amid terror threat, Dems chip away at Patriot Act
09/27/09 In Afghanistan, let U.S. troops be warriors
09/21/09 Under fire, Democrats abandon ACORN in drove
09/14/09 Dems stifle Republican health care plans
09/08/09 For Dems, a serious Charlie Rangel problem
09/07/09 Obama's speech: Wrong setting for a sales job
09/01/09 What happened to the antiwar movement?
08/24/09 Why Dems may jam through health care plan
08/17/09 GOP thinks the unthinkable: Victory in 2010
08/10/09 The empty words of a journalist turned flack
08/03/09 Probe finds new clues in AmeriCorps IG scandal
07/27/09 Obamacare haunted by unkept promises of stimulus
07/20/09 Why the GOP failed the Sotomayor test
07/13/09 What the GOPers will ask Sotomayor
06/29/09 Serious questions remain for Mark Sanford
06/22/09 How GOPers can crack the AmeriCorps scandal
06/16/09 Worried about Sotomayor? Consider Andre Davis
06/08/09 Can Mitch Daniels save the GOP?
06/01/09 When the Dems derailed a Latino nominee
05/26/09 Why the GOP will defeat Obama on healthcare
05/19/09 Rosy report can't hide stimulus problems
05/12/09 The Reagan legacy is the man himself
05/05/09 Sen. Specter, meet your new friends
04/27/09 Ted Olson: ‘Torture' probes will never end
04/20/09 Who's Laughing at the ‘Axis of Evil’ today?
04/14/09 Congress needs Google to track stimulus money
04/06/09 Beyond AIG: A bill to let Big Government set your salary
03/30/09 On Spending and the Deficit, McCain Was Right
03/24/09 It's Obama's crisis now
03/17/09: Geithner-Obama economics: A joke that's not funny



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