Budget cuts done — at least for now

Legislators trim $272 million from current spending

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    Sept. 29, 2008 9:30 p.m.

    It is completely insane how the legislators receive $120 per diem per day. Who on earth needs $40 per meal every day? When cutting budgets, why not cut their per diem in half and they will still eat better than most of us! I would also bet that they are not receiving any other cuts at all.

  • My reply to Avoid Compulsion
    Sept. 27, 2008 10:13 p.m.

    To: Avoid Compulsion

    Here is my answer to your question:

    I love to teach.

    My "call" is as simple as that.

  • Unappreciated in Public Ed
    Sept. 27, 2008 9:37 p.m.

    I wish I hadn't read most of this thread. I didn't know how hated I was as a member of the "Liberal Teachers' Union."

    I love my students and work very hard to give them my best each and every day. I am a single mom and every month I wonder if we are going to make it. I pay almost $300 out of pocket per month for my gold-plated benefits and would love to teach in a school district where teachers are getting $90K - $100K a year.

    I guess I am tired of being blamed for teenagers who can't read, do basic math, drive drunk, take drugs and get themselves pregnant and everything else that is wrong with society and that I am a whiner when I want better conditions in public schools.

    Never-the-less, I will continue to work 12-14 hour days, doing grading and preparing lessons at home after I finish my contract time. And I will continue care about what the 178 students who come through my classroom door will learn this year and what kind of adults they will become. If I don't - who will? Certainly not the politicians on the hill.

  • teachers
    Sept. 27, 2008 9:25 p.m.

    I used to be one of those people who thought what a great deal teachers have.....weekends off, summers off, every holiday off, good benefits....Then I decided to volunteer more and more at my children's schools. What an eye opening experience. I have gained a great deal of respect for those who spend their day educating my children. They EARN every dime and are very under appreciated.

  • lovetoteach
    Sept. 27, 2008 8:42 p.m.

    As teacher with a Masters degree who has taught for almost 25 years,I would be VERY interested in a district that pays $90,000-$100,000. Please name the district!! In my district administrators typically earn that, but those in the "trenches" dealing day to day with the children will never earn that even with a PhD and 35 years of experience.
    As for medical, each year it costs me more out of pocket with less benefits. My neighbor who works in the private sector pays much less per month for his and has truly "gold plated benefits".
    I generally work 10-12 hours each school day and roughly 6-10 more on weekends. I am not the exception! I work a part time job during the summer but manage to put around 20 hours each week ALL summer to be prepared for my students come Fall. I love what I do, but tire of ignorant comments from individuals who happen to know a slacker teacher or think they know what real teachers do. Please Republican 6:34pm and Just a lowly taxpayer 1:24pm spend some time in the schools with a great teacher!!

  • Hey lowly taxpayer...
    Sept. 27, 2008 7:52 p.m.

    as a lowly school teacher with 20 years experience, I make less than half what the "teachers in your district" apparently make. What district is that? I want to work there. Maybe I could afford a nice car like I see students drive instead of my 16 year old truck. LOL! My students are younger than my truck! And "gold-plated benefits?" Are you kidding? We have about the worst medical money can buy! My insurance hasn't even kicked in from last year - we haven't met our enormous deductible yet.

    And my time off? I spend the summer working for tips so I can make it through the next winter, paying for two kids in college and a missionary.

    Maybe you should check facts before you start running your mouth. Check the site Anonymous refers to.

    Regurgitating what you hear from others does not show a lot of critical thinking about the subject. Oh wait, that's what Utah (Republican Legislature) wants - kids who can regurgitate information on standardized tests. That makes us all accountable...but that's another subject.

  • Legislators
    Sept. 27, 2008 5:07 p.m.

    I heard on the radio that the legislators were unhappy that they had to drop everything and attend the special session. Some were in the middle of campaigning, some had to leave work...others had to cancel vacations. Poor legislators...I feel sorry for them..maybe we should do them a favor by replacing each and every one of them....Then it won't be such a burdon for them.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 27, 2008 4:36 p.m.

    If you don't like public schools go to private schools.

    If you put "utah's right to know" in google or similar search engine you'll find a site that gives the salaries of all State employees. Including teachers. A quick check show the higher the degree and longest tenure make good money. That's the same as most workplaces.

    And no, I'm not a teacher, and feel a 4% reduction in the school systems would not affect people as strongly as other measures taken. We are in this together and education needs to contribute their fair share.

  • Avoid Compulsion
    Sept. 27, 2008 3:25 p.m.

    When you use the power of the police state to force me to do something against my will you are the one initiating the war and creating warring factions. Leave me free to choose for myself and we will likely find many opportunities to cooperate. Right now the government-run school establishment has launched war on the taxpayers of the state. We have every right and responsibility to defend ourselves from this assault.

    Now you know who started the war, the question is whether you will stand down or whether your will continue to battle for complete and total domination. As a teacher, it's your call.

  • I'm Grateful
    Sept. 27, 2008 1:45 p.m.

    As a regular public school teacher in Utah, I'm very grateful for the benefits that I receive. Even though my monthly premium doubled this year, and my monthly out of pocket cost for prescription drugs is now up to $276.00 I know that it could be a lot worse. I, along with most Americans, stay awake some nights and worry about making it to the end of the month--but we always figure out a way.

    I don't really understand why some would want to take benefits away from others. Surely the greatest, most successful country in the history of our planet can figure out a way to spread benefits to MORE Americans and not less.

    I also don't really think benefits are a government vs. private issue. My brother works for the LDS Church (private) and his benefits (insurance, retirement, etc.) are far better than mine. I am happy for him. He has a young family and it gives me great comfort to know that a medical situation won't destroy his family financially.

    Can't we all work together instead of pulling apart into selfish and bitter warring factions?

  • Just a lowly taxpayer
    Sept. 27, 2008 1:24 p.m.

    Where are the underpaid teachers? We have public school teachers making $90-100K per year in our district with gold-plated benefits those in the private sector could only dream of (100% paid health insurance, rich pension allowing early retirement). I'd hardly call that underpaid. We have administrators making almost $150-200K per year plus lots of perks.

    Of course, many teacher work part-time and are paid part-time salaries. Teach more classes+ work the summer = get more money.

    But who am I? Just a lowly taxpayer trying to make ends meet.

  • Red Smith
    Sept. 27, 2008 1:16 p.m.

    Let's put Schools on the 4 day week, too. That should save more money under the 4 day money saving theory.

  • To Repulican
    Sept. 27, 2008 1:17 p.m.

    Then we should cut all your benefits and pay you half of what you make. Lead by example instead of putting it on someone else. I can tell you're a real "Chirstian" by your disdain for the people who educate the younger generation. I see nothing Christian in anything you wrote. Quit being enamored with yourself and your money. In the end it will be your downfall.

  • Zadruga Guy
    Sept. 27, 2008 10:10 a.m.

    Hey, Cut the Bennies, at the corporation I work for, there are no separate buckets for Sick Leave and Vacation Leave. Instead, there is just one bucket called "Paid Time Off". Thus, time off earned can be used for any purpose -- no doctors notes needed when you are sick. But there is a maximum cap on how much Paid Time Off you can acrue, so it is common where I work for employees to be forced to take a day off even if they do not want to because otherwise they would be over the maximum.

    My understanding is that the system my corporation has is now the norm, so if the business you own still has separate buckets of vacation time and sick leave, perhaps the problem you have retaining employees is due not to the state government being too generous to employees, but your company being too miserly.

  • To The children?
    Sept. 27, 2008 8:15 a.m.

    The "liberal teacher union", as you label them, is actually made up of thousands of hard working, conservative teachers who donate numerous hours each night and weekend to prepare lessons and grade papers. Without their "liberal union" they would probably be working for free during the day as well.

  • To Republican
    Sept. 27, 2008 8:09 a.m.

    Isn't it wonderful when people, who have no clue about what they are talking about, make simple minded comments? They simply show their ignorance. First of all, there is no difference between what "union" teachers and "non union" teachers are paid. Utah is a "right to work" state. Secondly, Utah is already dead last in per pupil funding. Cutting the benefits, which teachers in every other state are given, would drive away the rest of our dedicated teachers and make it impossible to compete with other states in hiring new teachers. Thirdly, most of these "part time" teachers spend many hours at night, on weekends, and during their vacation time preparing lessons and taking classes to improve their teaching skills (at their own expense). Get your facts straight. And, by the way, you should be embarrassed to title yourself a Christian with such unChristian like comments.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 27, 2008 7:34 a.m.

    We can't keep cutting the road budgets and expect any where close to the same service. Wake up government.

  • Frustrated
    Sept. 27, 2008 6:15 a.m.

    How can we have a short fall when accoring to the news and the state there is a 500 million dollar surplus? Answer me that one.

  • Teachers underpaid
    Sept. 27, 2008 6:07 a.m.

    It is amazing to read the disdain for teachers on this thread. How do you think your kids will get educated so that can get into the local community college or BYU? Do you think they magically educate themselves? I see my kids' teachers working very hard to teach my children in the local public school, and I really respect what they do to inspire my kids! People squawk that we're losing domestic jobs to better educated, lower-paid foreign workers. Well, if we truly cared about future employment in this country, we'd support our schools to prepare our kids to become creative entrepreneurs to establish local businesses, provide local jobs to our educated work force, and move Utah into the 21st century's high tech industries. Instead, we poo poo our schools and teachers and wonder why our kids can't compete in world markets. Education is the engine of this nation's economy. Without it, Utah will continue to be hobbled by the limited economic opportunities for our children. I'm very pleased that our legislators kept education unharmed in the current budget cuts! Utah now needs to create incentives to bring the best and brightest teachers to serve our kids!

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 27, 2008 1:49 a.m.

    Bonding is not that bad of an idea. The state still holds a 500 million "rainy day fund".

    In times like this you need to help people eat, have a shelter over their heads, and get needed medical care.

    Ps. 10:2 "wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor."

    Is taking an alternate route or spending 5 minutes extra in traffic that big of price to pay?

    From trophy homes to fitting the camel through the eye of the needle we will soon learn the metal of our leaders.

  • The children?
    Sept. 27, 2008 12:54 a.m.

    Did you really say not cutting education was "a huge relief to our children?" OH my..I am so sure The average third grader was really worried...What you meant to say was "The liberal teacher union us very relieved."

  • To Harmless
    Sept. 26, 2008 11:17 p.m.

    The Legislature's budget took the same size cut as everyone elses not to mention they cut their pay.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 26, 2008 9:54 p.m.

    Public education was held harmless last budget downturn (2002) also.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 26, 2008 9:10 p.m.

    Get you head out of the sand or where ever it is buried, Phil. Roads are just as much about people, if not more. Us working folks who pay the taxes also have to pay for gas when stuck on the freeways. I bet Phil didn't even have an alternative proposal for the legislature. He probably did the classic democratic approach -- go whine to the media but bring nothing productive to the debate.

  • Harmless
    Sept. 26, 2008 6:57 p.m.

    The also held themselves harmless.

  • Republican
    Sept. 26, 2008 6:34 p.m.

    As a good EVANGELICAL CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN REPUBLICAN, I say cut the education budget. Cutting the education budget will save money as well as cost all those union teachers their jobs. Hire the non-union teachers back with half the salary and no benefits. There is no reason to pay benefits to people who only work barely 9 months per year. I know this won't take care of the whole problem but it will be a good start.

  • Cut the bennies
    Sept. 26, 2008 5:11 p.m.

    There is so much waste in government. I get so mad when I'm golfing in the middle of the day with a government worker who is using a sick day, or have so many accrued they have to use them. As a self employed person I pay $1000 per month for health insurance why do I have to pay for gov. workers benefits. They all brag about how little they have to do. And they are living for their retirement. Cut the bennies believe me they won't bail. I've hired a few who want to make more money and they don't last in the private sector, Where there is accountability and 10 minutes breaks.

  • Upcoming Election?
    Sept. 26, 2008 4:51 p.m.

    Of course they will hold public education harmless -- it's an election year!

  • Thank you
    Sept. 26, 2008 4:45 p.m.

    Thank you for not cutting any budgets in public education. That is a huge relief for our kids.

  • My favorite
    Sept. 26, 2008 4:33 p.m.

    Candice is my favorite!

  • Craig
    Sept. 26, 2008 4:17 p.m.

    Phil Riesen, D-Holladay has it all wrong. We can not borrow our way out of the problem.This attitude of bonding and spending money we do not have is the problem at the federal leval. No one in their right mind would want to mock that situation. Cuts hurt sometimes but they are needed.

  • Al,
    Sept. 26, 2008 4:15 p.m.

    Why dont we get rid of the lazy people in office who are making too much and not even lifting a finger or get down right dirty........ instead of cutting cost of highwaypatrol or medicaid or even schools there plenty too go around?? what we paying taxes for........