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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hilmer's Courage to Speak Out is 'For The Kids,' Letter Writer Contends

October 19, 2011 - To the editor:

When Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer last brought up the issue of public pensions at the fire district, there was an outcry from those who claimed it was a matter of life and death.

The defined-benefit plan was replaced with the defined-contribution plan and the district and taxpayers were much better off for it.

Hilmer's latest column about teachers' pensions has drawn a similar response from our educators who claim they deserve such a generous pension because their job is so important and difficult.

Teaching our children is definitely a noble profession, but does it deserve special benefits that the rest of us do not receive?

What would our quality of life be without the other skills?

If your sewer line breaks or your toilet backs up, you call a plumber. Life would be pretty "crappy" without those skills.

Without an electrician you couldn't enjoy television, computers, lights and refrigeration.

Have you ever seen an auto mechanic after a day of working on a 150-degree engine on a hot summer day — hands cut up and covered from head to toe in greasy dirt, but without your car how would you get to work, the doctor or the grocery store?

I could go on but I think you get the point. All professions and skilled labor are equally important in our society, so why do teachers claim that their job is more important and that they work harder than the rest of us?

Our teachers work in an air-conditioned classroom and never get their hands dirty.

They don't have to work nights or weekends. They are paid for every major holiday and enjoy a spring break, Thanksgiving break, Christmas break and can enjoy three months of summer off.

Does that sound like a more difficult work schedule than you have?

I've read their complaints that they paid for their own schooling and that they have taken additional night courses to further their careers. Well guess what, so have the rest of us — nothing unique there.

And what about the results of our teachers' efforts? Sadly, the United States has fallen behind the rest of the developed world in the education basics. When our kids graduate after 12 years of school, they are qualified to do what — go on to college? While I'm not opposed to higher education, you'd think that our kids would be qualified for something more than just more school.

Every taxpayer should watch the documentary "Waiting for Superman" to learn more about our education system and how the teachers' unions have affected our children's future.

I'm sure there will be more teachers who will respond to this letter, but the conclusions as I see it are pretty clear. Teachers do not work harder than the rest of us and their job is not more important. Our teachers have a great work environment and they enjoy a schedule that the rest of us envy. We pay our teachers a salary and benefit package that is more generous than what is available in the private sector.

What really bothers me is when they use our kids as pawns to justify demands of increasing salary and benefits for themselves — and that needs to change.

I appreciate Aaron Hilmer for having the courage to discuss this issue with the taxpayers. He's not asking for anything for himself and doesn't personally benefit from reforming these out-of-date pension packages, so he must be doing it "for the kids" and "for their futures" and for that I thank him.

Jim Smoot

south county

Webmaster: Right on Jim!!

1 comment:

  1. Local blogs have been dissing Jim Smoot for his legal issues on CaseNet. OK, what about that deadbeat Karl Frank, Jr? He screwed virtually everyone who lent him money. And this guy is the bigshot leading the Mehlville tax raisers? If I were MCTM and the Patch, I wouldn't let Frank near near me with his baggage.

    Found this on the Call website:

    Frank explains why he won’t seek Mehlville school board presidency

    April 25, 2007

    In announcing that he would not pursue the office of Mehlville Board of Education president, Karl Frank Jr. read the following statement to the board last week:

    “As most of you know, I wanted to be our next president of the Board of Education. I was enthusiastically looking forward to serving in that capacity and doing what I could to continue moving our district forward. My passion for the Mehlville School District comes only second to my family and work.

    “My wife, Elaine, and I always dreamed of owning our own successful small business as entrepreneurs. In 2001, we took steps to make that dream a reality by starting our own computer consulting business.

    “Unfortunately, similar to many new businesses, we failed financially. As a result, in October of 2005, we were forced to file bankruptcy. While this has been painful to us — and honestly embarrassing to us — we did learn from this. And we didn’t give up on our dream. It has been said that only in America do you get a second chance and today our business is doing well.

    “In the best interest of the Mehlville School District and the 11,000 kids that are educated every day in our schools, I have decided now is not the best time for me to pursue board president. Instead, I think it is important that we come together as a board and rally around another leader, Tom Diehl. Tom has demonstrated that he possesses both the intelligence and leadership skills that are needed to be a great board president.

    “This is a great moment in Mehlville history. I’m looking forward to this coming year where all of us are working together to improve the educational lives of 11,000 kids. I’ve made some mistakes in my personal and business life, and I’m sure I have made and will make mistakes serving on this board. The key is to recognize those mistakes and learn from them. I’m trying to apply that simple principle to everything in my life.

    “I commit to this board and our community that I will work my heart out to move this district forward. Together, we can make a difference.’’


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