Via TPM and Ann Althouse, who’s been righteous in challenging the left’s accusation that Prosser choked Justice Ann Bradley but who calls this, with understatement, a “PR fail.” Note to self: When accused by a reporter of having a nasty temper that makes me “grabby” with others, do not display a nasty temper that involves being “grabby” with others.
I still don’t believe the liberal account of what happened between him and Bradley, but according to their own Ted Kennedy rule, there’s really no private behavior so repulsive that it can’t be redeemed by the right public policy outcomes. In which case, here you go:
The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the [collective bargaining] law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it’s all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous…
In the past, Kaukauna’s agreement with the teachers union required the school district to purchase health insurance coverage from something called WEA Trust — a company created by the Wisconsin teachers union. “It was in the collective bargaining agreement that we could only negotiate with them,” says Arnoldussen. “Well, you know what happens when you can only negotiate with one vendor.” This year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase in premiums.
Now, the collective bargaining agreement is gone, and the school district is free to shop around for coverage. And all of a sudden, WEA Trust has changed its position. “With these changes, the schools could go out for bids, and lo and behold, WEA Trust said, ‘We can match the lowest bid,'” says Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke, who represents the area and supports the Walker changes. At least for the moment, Kaukauna is staying with WEA Trust, but saving substantial amounts of money.
Then there are work rules. “In the collective bargaining agreement, high school teachers only had to teach five periods a day, out of seven,” says Arnoldussen. “Now, they’re going to teach six.” In addition, the collective bargaining agreement specified that teachers had to be in the school 37 1/2 hours a week. Now, it will be 40 hours.
The changes mean Kaukauna can reduce the size of its classes — from 31 students to 26 students in high school and from 26 students to 23 students in elementary school.
So insanely politicized is Wisconsin right now that the local sheriff had to recuse himself from investigating the Prosser/Bradley incident because he had supported Kloppenburg in the recent supreme court election. Exit question: What’s really driving the turmoil on the court? Just volatile personalities clashing under the stress of huge policy conflicts? Or is it … democracy?