Saturday, April 9, 2011

The More you Poke into it, The More It Stinks

On Monday night, Tim Culver wants to be like the giving tree. He wants to give away $32,500 of your tax dollars under the thinly veiled guise of "equity". Will the school board stand for this nonsense?

"This would not make them entirely "whole"...We would be spending funds that were not mandated by law to do so...We aren't strapped for this $32,500 in this year’s budget."
--Tim Culver/Admin Team
You can read the situation report here, but in a nutshell, here's the dealio:

The Administrative Support staff are the only staff member who are not under a contract. Therefore, these folks will have to pay 5.8% of their salary (their half of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) contribution) whenever the Capitol mess gets sorted out. This idea is wrong on sooooooo many levels.

This move circumvents law!
First of all, it would put the school board /district in a position of circumventing law. If the law says you pay it effective xx/xx/2011, you pay it. NOBODY has to LIKE it, mind you, but you gotta do it. We all have to pay our property taxes annually...right? You don;t just say..."hey...sorry you have to pay this so, tell you what, we';ll give you a lump sum salary increase to cover it." WTF???!!!

At $30/hr, They're Not Hurting
How many of you state/municipal/county employees are making $30 bucks an hour? Not many! The average salary of these 31 individuals is just a few pennies less than $30 per hour. At a typical worker's 2080 hours per year, that comes to $62,400 annually! And the RANGE is $18 to $46 per HOUR. Annualy, that translates to $37,000 to $96,000 per year. These people are hurting????

Why this sudden push for equity?
Especially when things aren't even equitable as it stands. The employees who belong to Local 60 AVERAGE about $15.00 per hour, yet for years they have paid a significantly higher share of their health and dental insurance than any other staff members. We're not seeing Dr. Culver rushing to "make them whole".

The average Local 60 employee makes about $15/hour and pays $1600 annually out of pocket for health and dental insurance. The average Administrative Support staffer makes $30/hr and pays only $785 out of pocket. Where's the equity there?

Why Would We Boost Retirement Income?
By giving these people a lump sum payment, we effectively increase their annual salary, on which retirement income is based. Why would we do that? The district is not in the business of providing retirement shelters or boosting retirement income.

The math doesn't make sense!
Do the math. If the lump sum payment Culver proposes represents 5.8% of 3 months worth of salary, then multiply that by 4 and you arrive at what these folks would pay under Walker's law annually. Then divide that number by 5.8% and that value represents what their annual salary is...right? WRONG! Because while we think these folks are (for the most part) pretty well compensated, our table of salary calculations suggests that these folks are being paid as much as $130,000 per year. And we DO KNOW that that's not the case. So why the funky math?

Uncovering the Funky Math
Inquiring minds asked a few questions. The first answer received was "Those are the numbers that our database produced when we queried the system for WRS payments from March 25 through June 25." WTF???

So more questions were asked. And what we learned was --and we're sure we're absolutely fracturing this--- but it's important you get SOME explanation before Monday's meeting. It's something along the lines of: For many staff, including these folks, the district defers out payments because the summer months cross into a new fiscal year. Their salaries taken out in previous (i.e.current) fiscal year and then paid out over summer (new fiscal year). So...wait....we heard that this was all about equity and these people having to pay from [some date] through June 25, 2001, while others do not. NOW we're saying that we're going to apply this gift to money paid out in the summer....theoretically when all others have the 5.8% taken out of their checks but they don't --and shouldn't-- get this gift?

As Judge Judy says, "If it doesn't make sense, it's not true".