Bill targets teachers
THUMBS DOWN: The state Legislature is just getting started on a budget fix, and one of its first targets is schools, more specifically, teachers. Not good. Besides going after local governments, colleges and low-income residents, a Republican bill unveiled Tuesday would freeze teacher pay and restrict their ability to strike. It's a tough pill to swallow for teachers who are already working under stressful conditions at their school brought on by past delays in state aid payments to school. Why go after education and the teachers right off the bat? Why try to take local control away from schools districts? State aid to schools has been on the decline now for nearly a decade and schools have been forced to pinch their pennies even harder by coming up with drastic ways to save - some do it by laying off teachers, some have chosen four-day weeks, some have cut athletics and some have flat out closed their doors. And schools can only turn to the voters for levy increases so often. How long before the pendulum swings and voters stop approving tax hikes on their homes? We know many tough decisions lie ahead and just about everyone will be affected by them, but hitting the schools so hard so early doesn't seem right.
Minneota School Board covers wrestlers
THUMBS UP: Nice move by the Minneota School Board to foot the bill for the Minneota Wrestling Boosters who, because of the weather, had to get extra hotel rooms for members of the wrestling team when they got stranded in Fargo, N.D., after the Rumble on the Red Tournament. The board voted 3-2 to pay the entire $521.40 tab.
THUMBS UP: The people who deliver the Independent every day have a thankless job - it's not glamorous, doesn't pay that much, and they have to do it really early in the morning. Their job is made tougher in the winter, especially during cold snaps like we're experiencing this week. They have to traverse snow drifts and be extra careful on ice. And they do it in the dark. That's why we ask homeowners who get the Independent delivered each day to try to remember to keep their sidewalks and driveways cleared as much as possible and if you have exterior lights, maybe turn those on as well.