Teacher Gift Cards

On Madison.com, Madison School Board member Ed Hughes says he wants to bonus the Madison teachers with a $200 Dane Buy local gift card to help make up for lost wages, for the unpaid days they had to take, for protesting Governor Walkers war on education.

Board member Ed Hughes said giving the Madison School District’s 4,030 employees a $200 Dane Buy Local gift card plus $60 to cover the related income taxes — costing $1.05 million — would be similar to a profit-sharing bonus and serve “as a gesture of appreciation for all the hard work our teachers and staff have done through these hard times.”

It’s unclear whether district officials or other board members support the idea.

Don Severson, president of Active Citizens for Education, a district watchdog group, called the proposal “crazy.”

Hughes even has a way to pay for it:

Funding would come from the $1.3 million windfall the district will get from docking the pay of 1,769 teachers who were absent without an excuse on one or more days between Feb. 16-18 and 21.

The district closed school during those four days because of the high number of staff members who called in sick to attend protests over Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed changes to public sector collective bargaining.

“Under the circumstances it seemed to me the school district shouldn’t necessarily profit from that, because the teachers agreed to make up the time in a way that took away planning time for them,” said Hughes, who is considering a run for school board president when new officers are elected Monday.

Maybe Ed Hughes has it wrong, maybe he should say that the Madison Schools are thinking about leaving the state and then the politicians could fall all over themselves to offer them money to stay. Plus an extra $1,000,000 pumped into the local economy would not be a bad thing at this time.


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9 thoughts on “Teacher Gift Cards

  1. Really Jeff?

    1. I think if you feel strongly about something and want to protest, that’s all well and good, but there are consquences to that, not rewards. “for the unpaid days they had to take” — no one made them. They could have protested after 3pm, but they chose to walk out on their jobs, so they certainly don’t deserve a gift card for that.

    2. “Hughes even has a way to pay for it” — No he doesn’t. It’s a backdoor way of returning money that was rightfully docked for employees who went AWOL. And Hughes does NOT have a way to pay for it. You must have missed the part of the story that said, “Hughes is also proposing increasing the district’s proposed property tax levy for next year by about $2 million.”

    3. “an extra $1,000,000 pumped into the local economy would not be a bad thing at this time.” What about the $2,000,000 that Hughes is proposing to take OUT of the local economy? Figures you would support an artificial “stimulus” of gift cards, but be ok with raising taxes on everybody else.

    4. I thought that school district was “broke”? I also thought it was “all about the kids”? I don’t want to hear them a few months from now saying they have no choice but to layoff teachers or cut programs. They apparently have an extra million to throw around right now.

  2. 1. Yes. They had to take. It was the teachers storming the capitol that gave the Heoric 14 the power to leave. Which has kept this ridiculous draconian bill from being passed. So yes they had to be there, because if they were not, the bill introduced on friday night would have been law on wednesday.

    2. http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/local_schools/article_a44a79ea-825c-11e0-aca2-001cc4c03286.html There is some more information but his point is he wants to let the teachers know that they are appreciated and really the money was theirs anyway.

    3. He is continuing to ask for the extra $2,000,000 because regardless if we pay the teachers or not, schools still need upkeep etc…

    4. school districts are broke and it is about the kids, but I dont work for free do you?? I personally want my kids teachers to be the highest paid teachers in the state.

    1. So basically you are saying there is no accountability. Heck, maybe next year the teachers won’t show up at all and we can send them all to Tahiti.

      1. No they did not have to take off. They could have protested after 3pm. Instead they CHOSE to do walk out, and by going AWOL, must accept the consequences. By the way, I believe they stormed the capitol well AFTER the Senators fled the state (you know those 14 delinquents who failed to do their duties as well), so I’m not sure what connection you make to teachers giving them “power.” Last time I checked, the legislature has passed the law and the Governor signed it, contrary to your statement. I doubt the teachers have anything to do with the current ludicrious court challenge, but if you want to make false heroes out of them, so be it.

      2. He could show that he appreciates teachers without using other peoples’ money (i.e. TAX dollars) to do so. And NO the money really isn’t theirs. The taxpayers pay them to do a job, so when the teachers did not perform that job, the money was rightfully withheld. Not a difficult concept. If I don’t show up to my job, and LIE about it, my boss isn’t going to give me a bonus. I would probably be fired.

      3. He is asking for $2 million, but if he uses the $1 million they currently have, then he would only have to ask for $1 million. That math isn’t hard, even for some of the bad teachers that can’t be fired because they hide behind union protections.

      4. Who said they are working for free? This is a bonus, not salary. My point is that if the school district is broke and you say the kids come first, how is it appropriate to give out gift card bonuses?! Seriously? I would love for teachers to be paid a lot more too, but only if they can be held accountable and hired and fired for performance. (See “NYC charter school’s $125,000 experiment” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/10/60minutes/main20041733.shtml)

      However, as long as they are willing to protect the lowest common demoninator, that is what they are going to get.

  3. So lets see Skipping work, trying to use phony doctor excuses to get away with it, and then we should show appreciation for that type of examples they gave their students? Only in Dane county would this be considered a good idea. No one forced them to skip work that was a decision they made by themselves and by doing so they do not get paid nor should they be rewarded.

  4. I went to a forum that Chris Larsen spoke at recently and he pointed out that it was the amount of people at the Capitol that empowered them to head to IL. It is not only factual its logical. if a few hundred people showed up to protest from 4-6pm(the school work day doesnt end until 3:30 then you have to get there). This would have never happened.

    The legislators would have all been at the Avenue bar by the then. So yes they HAD to go to the Capitol.

    he is using the money that they forfeited for protesting the draconian and highly political budget “repair” bill. So yes it is their money/.

    Again it is myth that you cant fire “bad teachers”…..you can do it there is a process that needs to be followed. Its that simple.

    Can you define a good teacher for me specifically please?

    1. So teachers were the only ones showing up at the Capitol, which is what empowered the fleeing Senators? I thought we were all told that everyday average citizens were protesting. If it was just pulbic employees, that sounds a little self-interested to me.

      Yes there is a process to fire teachers, but it is so difficult, it rarely if ever happens. We couldn’t even get rid of that teacher looking at porn at work. More often than not bad teachers are shuffled around (must have gotten that idea from the Catholic church), than go through the extraordinary time and cost to actually put one of those union “brothers and sisters” out of a job for poor performance.

      Your argument about how it is impossible to define what a good teacher is a tired one. There is a multitude of criteria that could be used, just like any other job. But are you saying because it might be challenging to define, that we not even bother with any standards? Face it, public education is a state that is so resistant to change, and the unions are a driving force behind that. Now that Obama has “fixed” health care, why is it not urgent that he fix this broken institution as well?!

      1. Nope there were lots of people showing up at the capitol, as we saw thousands upon thousands. The thing is the Madison teachers were there first out of proximity and never left!

        You could have gotten rid of a teacher looking at porn at work if the administrator had followed the rules, but if I remember right, thats not exactly how the story went.

        What are the multitude of criteria? shouldnt we have a plan before we tear down the current education system? Public education is resistant to republican change, because republican change appears to be lets divert the public money private. We should all be resistant to that change!

  5. Jeff that is NOT their money it is taxpayers money that is used to pay their salaries to TEACH not to skip work. They do not have a right to ANY money. It was their choice NOT to work and that means they decide they also not to get paid. You said it yourself “money that they forfeited”.

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