Lindbergh teachers should fear incurring wrath of district taxpayers

To the editor:

I cannot speak to the “climate of fear” that Lindbergh Schools teachers believe they are enduring in their schools, but perhaps they really should fear incurring the wrath of the voters who ultimately pay their salaries.

This year, teachers are getting salary increases of 3.2 percent after a year in which inflation was 0.8 percent. Last year, they received an increase of 5.3 percent after inflation of 1.5 percent.

A little research reveals they have beaten inflation by similar amounts in most of the past 10 years. Unlike many of us, whose real earnings are staying the same or declining, Lindbergh teachers are doing very well.

Tax money is a finite resource — taxpayers can only afford to pay so much — and Lindbergh teachers seem to be grasping for more than their fair share of it. I work in another profession paid with tax money: providing supported living in the community to adults with developmental disorders. Workers at my agency have received three raises in the last 10 years, and just seven since 1990. My inflation-adjusted salary is 97 percent of what I made 10 years ago, and just 81 percent of what I made in 1990. It’s not the agency’s fault; payments from the government for our services have stayed mostly flat.

I say all this as a friend of education and teachers and unions.

In 40 years of voting, almost always I have voted for the most liberal candidate available. So I’m no fan of former Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker and I do not agree with what he did to teacher and public worker unions in Wisconsin — but I’m beginning to understand the impulse.

Wes Gilliland