Wisconsin: After the Collective Bargaining Law

On June 14th, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the Wisconsin legislature did not, in fact, break any laws when they passed the bill into law that removed a large portion of the collective bargaining rights from public sector unions.

From the Left, the words spewing from the bleachers were ones of destruction the end of education as we know it.

Teachers would have their power taken from them and, without said power, would be left–ahem, powerless in the streets.  Schools would crumble and a darkness would be upon the face of the deep.  But I wonder, is it possible that something might happen?  Is it possible that the passing of this law would allow districts the ability to save their schools?  Would communities be able to educate their children with teachers they loved and class sizes they want?

I think so.

Let’s check the tale of the tape:

A study has been released by The MacIver Institute, and the news is looking good so far:

Though the plan is still in its infancy, many districts have already undergone contract extensions that include these considerations. The results have led to a projected $154 million in savings that have helped to offset less revenue from the state and keep Wisconsin’s schools up and running. One shining example we’ve seen so far happened in the Kaukauna School District.

Kaukauna’s changes – which included concessions from employees to pay the full 12.6 percent of their health insurance and 5.8 percent of their pension contributions – helped turn a projected $400,000 deficit into a potential $1.5 million surplus. As a result, the small town’s gains have been some of the plan’s most publicized outcomes. These changes led to the cancellation of proposed layoffs and ensured that schools in the town could operate normally despite large budget cuts. In this case, teachers were able to save their own jobs – and stay in business for students – by giving back.

For the town of Kaukauna this is huge.  It means that they have turned around the school budget by nearly $2,000,000!  That is an amazing story.  Further, jobs were saved and classes weren’t cut.  For the first time in a long time, kids won.

But the good news doesn’t end in Kaukauna, not by any stretch.  In fact, it just begins there.  Many other districts are also reaping the savings.  For example, Christian D’Andrea has many listed:

Green Bay save $11 million.  Madison $15.5 million and Racine is about to save $19.2 million.

The only thing that overshadows the absolute success of this program is the fact that it took so long to get here and caused such pain.

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