Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Reality of Act 10!

By Jeff Simpson

Marshfield School District has been in the news lately,   This time they have shown us the consequences of ACT10. 

First this story from the Administrators where they praised ACT10:

School administrators in Marshfield are adamant the tools included in Act 10 have had a profound effect on their ability to control costs.

Since the law curtailing most collective bargaining rights for public employees took effect in 2011, the amount the district spends on salaries and health insurance benefits has declined drastically.

“These tools we have been given have been quite effective for us being able to curtail and control the costs,” said Pat Saucerman, business director for the Marshfield School District. “I don’t want to give Act 10 too much credit, but I do believe it’s had a positive effect on our ability to control costs as we move forward.”

The district spent about $16.6 million on teacher salaries last year — the lowest it’s been since the 2007-08 school year — according to unaudited budget figures, which is about $1.3 million less than three years ago, a 7 percent decline.
Yes the School District of Marshfield is now paying less in wages then they have in years.  I am sure that the local businesses in Marshfield thank them.  

Then came this story:

 The Marshfield School District has seen an unprecedented level of turnover among its teaching staff members in the two years since Gov. Scott Walker’s signature piece of legislation was signed into law.
A total of 77 teachers have retired, taken positions at other school districts, or left the profession entirely since Act 10 abolished most collective bargaining powers and required teachers and other support staff members to shoulder more pension and health insurance costs.
That’s about 30 percent of all teachers the district employs.
In the summer before teachers were subject to provisions of Act 10, 40 teachers retired, according to documents presented to the school board’s Finance Committee by district administrators last month.
Retirements essentially have been non-existent in the district the past two summers, but the same can’t be said about teacher resignations. Typically, the district would average about three teacher resignations a year during the decade prior to Act 10; that’s risen to 15 this past summer and 16 in 2012.

There you go Ladies and Gentlemen, Marshfield School District has just signed up to be the farm system to school districts all over the state.  You can have them the first couple years of their career, while they figure things out.  then send them to the districts who put education first!  

Yes,  ACT10 seems to be working well. 

I hope that Kenneth Slezak is able to let the fine folks in the 69th district what has happened to their schools.  I am sure the fine professionals who work at the Marshfield Clinic are none to happy that the best of the best teachers at their children's school are leaving for greener pastures.   


PS:  As capper says "there is more, there is always more."   Back soon with the Tonya Bjork "crimes against democracy" truth tour soon!  


  1. As a Marshfield resident, I can tell you that I'm glad our youngest graduated in June. What was once a really good school district has been slowly eroding, and will continue to do so.

    I can attest to the fact that because of Act 10, local businesses in the community have been hit pretty hard. When you take that amount of money out of a local economy, things happen. The Marshfield Clinic is still hurting in regards to patient numbers, and much of it is due to the fact that many can't afford to go, have lost insurance, or cannot afford the added deductibles.

    It's amazing when you look at the big picture, and see the overall impact that this had, Marshfield happens to be a good example as Jeff points out.

    Contractors lose business because now the teachers and\or support staff cannot afford the occasional remodeling, painting, etc. Smaller businesses are hurt because people have to start choosing to save money versus supporting a local business. Needless to say, the impact will continue to decimate much of this area via the all too familiar "snowball effect".

    1. I found this blog as I was researching the importance of school board elections in light of post Act 10. Yes! You hit the nail on the head! This is what I testified to down in Madison, it is just like the cyclical Great Depression. In essence when you cut pay from one sector, albeit public or private, the ramifications are felt throughout society.
      For example, if you cut sports/other extra curricular opportunities, you in turn have now increased the number of children who need something to stay out of trouble. Therefore, when you cut benefits, less people utilize the clinic a main industry of Marshfield.
      I was one of the teachers that left, it had nothing to do with money, it was about respect of the profession that I needed so that I could reach those I needed to reach, that is why I became an educator and that is not only why I left, but why I will fight till the death to reform education, which is and always has been the great equalizer!
      That said please vote today and ask others to do the same.
      Every Vote Counts.

  2. Exactly WICS, I cringe when an administration comes out and talks about how great it was for their district.

    Truly the people who support ACT10 do not really understand it.

  3. Something similar happened in New Berlin. It might have been even worse. (I don't know, I might have an axe to grind because I graduated from a neighboring school in the same athletic conference.)

    The school board and administration were already on their way to making the high schools more like penal institutions (video cameras in the ceiling -- everywhere -- and half a dozen city cops patrolling the halls with .45's on their hips, every day) and ACT 10 gave them their best opportunity to crack down and sacrifice education, intellectual curiosity and critical thinking, to advance an agenda that emphasizes obedience, conformity and submission.

    I'm glad we were out of there by the time all this went down:

  4. The tea party got their way. We will no longer see teachers retiring after making education their life career. 30% turnover is the norm since ACT 10. There is no reason to stay with one district much less in the field at all.

  5. May we also point out that a lot of Marshfield's district was represented by Scott Suder, and the voucher lobby is making a big play for the open seat that gets chosen in a month. No better time to organize and fight back, if you're up there.

  6. Jake, I spoke to someone a few weeks ago, and he told me that no state dem's contacted the Clark Country Democratic office in regards to a candidate, funding, etc. There is a Dem running for that seat, but there's not real push or help coming at all except for locally.

    We'll do what we can, but there's already Koch\Tea Party money (Bob Kulp), the Liberty Party (Scott Noble), American Federation for Children (Alanna Feddick)

  7. Quite a few teachers from my home district (Osseo-Fairchild) also retired early because of Act 10. That's not a big district population-wise. My niece and nephew are students there and I hope they continue to get a good small-school education despite it all.

  8. My daughter graduated HS before Act10. Her best teachers were the older more experienced ones. Coincidentally, there were quite a few retirements coming up and we were thrilled that she was able to have more experienced teachers. I don't know why the citizens of our state cannot seem to understand that the quality of a school system is the first factor people consider when moving.