Tales from the Mark Side: The Conservative Voice in Manatee County

Manatee County teachers should not be exploited at the expense of the taxpayer. It’s time for a change

 

By Mark Young

mark.young@manateeherald.com

 

When I first began this little adventure with you I was wondering if the news cycle would be busy enough to visit with you twice a week.

With Biden in office, I simply can’t keep up with the number of debacles happening at home and abroad. And now we find out that Hillary Clinton has been caught red-handed once again breaking the law by hiring Dem operatives to hack into Trump’s campaign servers.

How many times is this … umm, woman? … going to get away with committing felonies? This latest criminal act is similar to what brought down the Richard Nixon administration with a little something called Watergate.

Remember when things like that were the biggest scandals facing this nation? Seems like they are the norm now and these corrupt democrats continue to get away with it while Conservatives are called dissidents and rebels simply for saying they love America.

But I digress for now because I’d prefer to shift gears to a conversation I had with a longtime Manatee County teacher over the weekend at the Bradenton Area River Regatta.

Thank you by the way, to so many of you who stopped by to say hello. And by so many, I mean zero.

It’s OK. One day I’ll have my Sally Fields Oscar moment and be able to say, “You like me, you really like me,” through a smile and joyous tears.

Seriously though, I did have a couple of nice conversations with some folks and I appreciated that.

Obviously, the discussion with this teacher turned to the extra mill the school district blackmailed taxpayers with in order to cover teacher salaries. We’ve covered all the points of this debate many times so I’ll just jump into the heart of this particular conversation because I was both inspired and disturbed.

I was inspired by her passion for teaching and the difficulties our teachers face in the classroom, and whether or not their contribution to society by educating our children is valued as much as it should be.

It begs a whole different debate, in reality, because let’s face it, there are far too many teachers participating in the political indoctrination of our children instead of educating.

However, I know there also are many teachers like this one who clearly cares about her mission in life. Our children benefit greatly from teachers such as this and they have my respect and admiration and always have.

She explained why she voted for the extra mill tax and, of course, it makes perfect sense. She would have lost up to $8,000 in a salary that already leaves much to be desired given the educational requirements and responsibilities to teach.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy because I spent 26 years as a journalist, meaning the only vacation I could ever afford was a bi-monthly trip to the bank where I always came home disappointed.

Teachers make way more money than journalists do, if I wasn’t overly clear on that last point. Way more.

However, she made a lot of valid points. For example, let’s say you have a husband and wife who are both educators. Without the tax, it could be up to $16,000 taken out of the family income. It’s a lot of money so, of course, it’s no wonder why the tax was heavily supported by teachers.

It’s not their fault and while this may sound like a case of there are always two sides to a story, that’s not where I’m going with this.

It is, and continues to be, the fault of this administration and school board who allows it all to happen. This administration blackmailed the taxpayer and the teachers by holding the teacher salaries over our heads.

When in reality, this district takes in enough money to walk and chew gum at the same time. As I have argued many, many times, a $1 billion budget for 50,000 students is a ridiculous amount of money.

Those in charge have had no issues before and during this extra millage tax raising their own salaries and have ignored the teachers for far too long. We shouldn’t need an “extra” tax to pay an appropriate amount of money to our educators.

To tell the teachers that if the special tax wasn’t successful that they would have to bear the burden of a salary cut is just evil. There is no school district without teachers. I dare say, we would survive just fine without much of this district’s overpaid administration.

I have outlined several times the ridiculous amount of wasteful spending, as well as the many scandals in which this district has been mired.

My point still stands despite my sympathetic ear. This district already taxes us entirely too much and they don’t need an “extra” tax to pay our teachers a fair wage.

I challenge every school board candidate this election cycle to make this very point. I will support any candidate who pledges three very important things:

  1. Do not let the extra millage be extended again.
  2. Require this district to work within its monstrous budget while ensuring teacher salaries are not interrupted when the special tax ends, and do what needs to be done to at least try and bring taxes down for a change.
  3. Hold this district administration accountable once and for all. And that means taking actual action in no uncertain terms to bring an end to this tyrannical, self serving administration.

Accept this challenge, and you have my support. Do it not, and you don’t deserve the opportunity to guide our children’s education into the future so don’t bother to run. You won’t like what I have to say if you prove yourself to just be another butt in a chair without the courage to make a positive difference.

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By Mark Young

Mark Young is a U.S. Army veteran and a seasoned journalist of 25 years. His writing and reporting has garnered dozens of state press association and press club awards in Florida, Nebraska and Wyoming for investigative reporting, opinion writing, in-depth reporting and more.

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