In Wisconsin, Smaller Class Sizes through Fiscal Restraint

Of the various hyperbolic leftist talking points against the recently enacted Wisconsin collective bargaining law, the “war on teachers” was easily the most shrill, dumb, and tiresome. It was also flat wrong.

Now a similar collective bargaining reform by the Kaukauna Area School District (part of the Appleton metro area) is projected to shift the District’s budget from a substantial deficit to a large surplus. The Appleton Post Crescent reports:

As changes to collective bargaining powers for public workers take effect today, the Kaukauna Area School District is poised to swing from a projected $400,000 budget shortfall next year to a $1.5 million surplus due to health care and retirement savings.

The Kaukauna School Board approved changes Monday to its employee handbook that require staff to cover 12.6 percent of their health insurance and to contribute 5.8 percent of their wages to the state’s pension system, in accordance with the new collective bargaining law, commonly known as Act 10.

“These impacts will allow the district to hire additional teachers (and) reduce projected class sizes,” School Board President Todd Arnoldussen wrote in a statement Monday.

Teachers unions have been advocating reduced class sizes for years. Whatever the merit of smaller classes — and there is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes an “ideal” classroom headcount — they would require the hiring of more teachers, resulting in more dues-paying union members.

Now Kaukauna is poised to give the unions that, in exchange for some modest increases to their health insurance and pensions. Yet I  doubt the state’s NEA affiliate will be celebrating (hat tip: Iain Murray).

For more on public sector unions, see here and here.