Today’s moment of conservative zen comes from New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie is taking on the greedy public sector fat cats head on.
About the only thing that could make that clip any better would be a few uses of the word “jackwagon.” But we’ll let that slide.
For a little background, go here:
The day before the meeting Seitz is quoted in the Daily Record as saying, “Because of the proposed salary caps, I have to look at my future and the financial welfare of my family. I certainly would have options if I didn’t feel the compensation in this district, or New Jersey, is appropriate.”
The governor reacted to Seitz’s veiled threats to leave New Jersey and go to a nearby state where there is no state salary. “I will say in response to Mr. Seitz, ‘Let me help you pack.’ We have real problems in our state that we have to fix and we don’t have the time, nor the money, nor the patience any longer for people who put themselves before our citizens,” Christie railed.
Christie is brilliant to individualize the issue by making an example of Seitz. The fact is, public sector salaries have gotten out of control and the educational system is a prime example. And the problem isn’t unique to New Jersey by any means. For starters, 7 of the top 10 richest counties in the United States surround — literally — Washington, D.C. That’s no coincidence. And taxpayer money is increasingly being used for lobbying — to spend more taxpayer money. Is it any wonder that our country is in the mess it’s in?
As for educational salaries, I’ll see Christie’s Lee Seitz, and raise him a Jesus Chavez.
Who’s Jesus Chavez? He’s the superintendent of the Round Rock Independent School District in central Texas, with about 42,000 students. And he makes a lotta money.
Round Rock Superintendent Dr. Jesus Chavez has 14 years experience and is the only superintendent who agreed to talk to KVUE about superintendent salaries. His base salary is $250,000 a year.
That works out to just shy of six bucks per student. Don’t worry, though. He doesn’t think superintendents make too much.
“I don’t think superintendents get paid too much,” he said. “There is a shortage of superintendents, principals and other top level administrators. So the market and the qualifications that one brings makes it competitive.”
Shortage or not, this is ridiculous and arrogant. Parents, the vast majority of whom earn far less than Dr. Chavez, are routinely asked to kick in school supplies paid for with their own money. Schools hold fundraisers to pay for even basic classroom supplies. Yet atop the educational pyramid sit folks like Chavez, among the wealthiest in their regions. The superintendent of the Austin ISD makes a whopping $276,000 in base salary. In the case of educational executives, the rich seem to get richer while teachers and classrooms get shortchanged. Parents get hit on both ends, through rising property taxes to pay these salaries and through being hit up to pay for supplies directly.
If you cut Dr. Chavez’s salary in half, he would still be far ahead of the local median salary (which is itself probably inflated a bit by the presence of Dell’s and other high tech headquarters), and that money could pay for two or three additional teachers. Multiply that by all the other fat cats at the top of the educational food chain and pretty soon you’ve made a real difference in class sizes.
Or, you know, you could just turn those savings back over to the taxpayers who are paying these exorbitant salaries in the first place. Doing so might even be economically stimulative.