(Updated: see below within article) After first labeling me a Fascist, tin-foil-hat-wearing kid-hating bully in the Whidbey News-Times Facebook forum, Oak Harbor High School Teacher Kevin Kindelberger next penned a letter to the editor which received the title “The school levy is not a scam”. His was the second letter published in the News-Times in an attempt to counter my letter titled “Proposed levy is a scam, vote against“.
Teacher Kindelberger’s apparent modus operandi is simply to claim “I assure everyone that not one of these accusations (by Bill Burnett) has any truth to it”, referring to articles written by me and which he has apparently read here at Island Politics.
Teacher Kindelberger allegation 1: “He (Bill Burnett) has accused us of teaching the students to be marxists, like this was the 1950s and he is on his own personal witch hunt.”
Actually, what I said was: “In 2012, the Oak Harbor School District OHEA Teachers’ Union is campaigning for a 39% pay raise in their local supplemental pay and has chosen Autonomism, “a set of left-wing political and social movements and theories close to the socialist movement” as their chosen symbol of militancy on the OHEA Facebook page.”
Also, I do find it interesting that in 2011 one of Kindelberger’s high school students wrote about Kindelberger:
“…he calls us communists… and doesn’t care if we tell our mommy. Since she would probably agree according to him. SHYEAH. He is awesome.”
(Another student wrote: “…super easy. hilarious. doesn’t care how late your homework is”, but I digress.)
Teacher Kindelberger allegation 2: “He has accused Oak Harbor Education Association of threatening to boycott businesses.”
I reported, along with screen shots taken from the Oak Harbor Education Association’s Facebook page, exactly which teachers said what about which business at “Oak Harbor School District teachers’ union members openly threaten business owner who communicated with school district about TRI-Days and school levy”
Teacher Kindelberger allegation 3: “…he (Bill Burnett) has accused teachers of wanting to line their own pocket at the expense of the children..”
Guilty as charged. In fact, that’s 100% truthful, and I most recently reiterated the details of them wanting to do so in “If OHEA Members Believe they “Deserve” TRI-Days Prove it by Running a Separate M&O Levy for All TRI-Days and Nothing Else and Lose All TRI-Days if the Levy Fails”
Teacher Kindelberger allegation 4: “Tri Days are not at all what this levy is about, and are used by Burnett as a scare tactic only…and if it fails in February, we will not only lose more of the above including great programs like choir, middle school athletics, AP classes, but also more reliable technology, textbooks and of course teachers and aids; thereby setting back the quality of education for years to come.”
No levy which the school board has ever proposed to voters (including this one) has ever specified that it would divert either M&O levy property taxes or Federal Impact Aid in order to provide even ONE TRI-Day for teachers’ bonus pay. Nonetheless, over the years, the school district has perennially cried “poor” while ever-increasing M&O property tax levy dollars and/or Federal Impact Aid dollars have been diverted into an ever-increasing number of TRI-Days. Teachers now perennially skim $1.4 million in 14 TRI-Days away from kids! This levy request would literally double the existing levy, would raise property taxes overall by 10% and would ensure the skim rises to 19.5 TRI-Days and $1.95 million! By not asking voters directly for TRI-Day bonus pay, M&O levies have become one big TRI-Day scam upon the voters, levy after levy after levy. Four years hence, the school district will cry “poor” again while teachers will have skimmed $8 million away from kids! The levy is a scam. Vote “no”.
If the teachers feel SO strongly about how much they “deserve” their TRI-Days, prove it by putting your money where your mouth is: petition the elected school board to run a separate Maintenance and Operations Levy for all your TRI-Days. If the levy passes, you get as many TRI-Days – and only that many – as the voters would approve. If the levy fails, you lose all your TRI-Days until you can ask the voters for them four years later, when the next Maintenance and Operations levy is offered to the voters.
The fact that we presently fund all those programs under the EXISTING funding levels demonstrates why teacher Kindelberger’s allegation are truly the only “scare tactics” being played with here and why a 100% increase in THIS LEVY – which would also be about a 10% overall increase in ALL property taxes – is wholly unjustified and should be rejected by the voters.
Teacher Kindelberger allegation 5: The entire concept that levy funds (for TRI-Days) get funneled to the teachers’ union is a conspiracy theory.
Teacher Kindelberger resurrected his disingenuous diatribe in comments in the Whidbey News-Times Facebook forum comments’ section to help bolster a letter-to-the editor from Oak Harbor School Board Director David McCool. In his write up, Kindelberger states “All the literature for OHEA and for the Levy are public knowledge.” In fact, I have already delineated the facts of TRI-Days, Federal Impact Aid, and local M&O funding – facts which fully refute teacher Kindelberger’s most recent bogus conspiracy theory allegations – in the article: If OHEA Members Believe they “Deserve” TRI-Days Prove it by Running a Separate M&O Levy for All TRI-Days and Nothing Else and Lose All TRI-Days if the Levy Fails.
The fact that local levy dollars and Federal Impact Aid dollars (revenues which are fungible with respect to one another) get funneled off without ever having fully disclosed this to be “the plan” to the public – to fund TRI-Days – is well-documented. Where does teacher Kindelberger think that $$ for TRI-Days comes from in those school districts which receive ZERO dollars Federal Impact Aid? Obviously, 100% of those dollars for TRI-Days comes from local property taxes collected via local Maintenance and Operations (M&O) levies. It is also a fact that no school district EVER campaigns that they INTEND to spend local property taxes on TRI-Days to pay-pad teachers’ salaries. No surprise, that is just like it’s being done in the Oak Harbor School District.
End Updated Section
Teacher Kindelberger allegation that he FAILED to make: “…he (Bill Burnett) has accused teachers of conning students in school about school revenues.”
I did, literally, say exactly that in my letter to the editor, but apparently, Kindelberger realized that, in this case, if he called ME a liar, he would also have to accuse some of his own students of telling the very SAME alleged lies, since the basis for my accusation came from testimony from actual students. The News-Times article “Oak Harbor teens make a difference … one box of paper at a time” prompted me to write the article “OHSD Students Being Exploited and Conned“.
Teacher Kindelberger’s lengthy letter followed Oak Harbor Education Association President Peter Szalai’s letter a few days earlier: “Calling levy ‘a scam’ is shameful“, which I have addressed at the article “If OHEA Members Believe they “Deserve” TRI-Days Prove it by Running a Separate M&O Levy for All TRI-Days and Nothing Else and Lose All TRI-Days if the Levy Fails”
Here is my letter to the editor that teacher Kevin Kindeberger says was “misinformed”
“Voters should reject the Oak Harbor School District’s (OHSD’s) proposed 2013 Maintenance and Operations (M&O) levy. That levy would literally double local property taxes presently being paid towards that single M&O levy and would raise property taxes overall by about 10%. The OHSD’s existing and ongoing property tax bonds – paying for things like a new high school and stadium – are already programmed to increase local school property taxes by 4% to 5% annually, and even so if property values drop more or stagnate for years. An additional 10% plus-up in local property taxes is unjustified as I have demonstrated in an article titled “Oak Harbor School District claim of “massive cuts” is phony baloney” available via a Google search on the internet.
A main reason our local teachers are so gung-ho about the proposed levy is that they have been promised a 39% increase in local supplemental pay if the levy passes, via more “TRI-Days”, so they are literally campaigning for their own paychecks. Via TRI-Days, the teachers’ union already skims about $1.5 million annually into their own pockets from local discretionary revenues such as Federal Impact Aid and the local M&O school levy. TRI-Day dollars could pay for anything and everything that this giant unnecessary levy might.
Local teachers have threatened local business owners (themselves retired teachers) who spoke out against TRI-Days and teachers are conning students in school about school revenues. Educate yourself and then vote “no”. The teachers are militant and the levy is a scam.”
The letters by Szalai and Kindelberger speak for themselves. More than ever, they show what an utter SCAM the teachers’ union is attempting to effect upon our community. The one thing that apparently NEVER gets “cut” in the OHSD, are the ever-increasing number of TRI-Days that pay-pad teachers’ salaries at the expense of kids’ educational needs.
Below is a short video titled “The Machine”. It’s premise is that:
“America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.
That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.”
Tags: Bill Burnett, Federal Impact Aid, Kevin Kindelberger, Maintenance and Operations (M&O) levy, Oak Harbor Education Association (OHEA), Oak Harbor High School, Oak Harbor School District (OHSD), Peter Szalai, teacher stipend, teachers unions, The Machine, Time Responsibility Incentive (TRI), TRI-Days, TRI-Pay, Whidbey News Times