Saturday, December 25, 2010

Higher Education Administration Lobbies to Make Cuts to Classrooms First

As Cabinet Secretary of Higher Education Viola E. Florez put it, “Clearly, New Mexico colleges and universities are willing to step up to the plate once again and do everything possible to assist with the immediate budget challenges we face this year. The only request made by the Cabinet secretary and the college and university presidents was to have the flexibility to make the cuts within their own institutional budgets if this occurred.” In other words don’t cut huge over priced administrative salaries but give them the freedom to cut from the lower paid workers that work directly with the students and the classrooms first.

The president of CNM has clearly stated that if cuts to salaries are made that she will make them to low income workers and that she does not care how that affects them directly. She like other college presidents will not allow cuts to top administration because that would affect their own salaries and standard of living. Never mind that people earning over two hundred thousand dollars a year can more easily afford salaries cuts.

The top administration of higher education in this state has made it clear that our children are the lowest on their list of priorities. Why protect the classrooms if it would mean that their pay would have to be decreased to something less than the top 5% in the nation. We all know that there are far too many vice presidents for our colleges and universities and that their salaries do not come close to matching the salaries of other business leaders in this state. The cost of living in this state makes college and universities presidents and their vice presidents very rich people who will harm anyone to protect their own standard of living even if that includes the state's future workforce.

Any smart business executive understands that if you cut too deeply into the frontline workforce then you destroy the company’s ability to product future profits. Top educational administration in this state have taken on the views of Wall Street executives where their own profit is put before the well being of the educational system for which they work in this state. How far is the voting public willing to allow this to go before demands are made to stop the harm done to the educational system and the children of this state who are its future workforce?

Front line workers are already facing paying in another .5% of their low income to their retirement fund which will only harm the state’s economy since that money would be spent by the workers earning above $20,000 but below $25,000 for daily needs. Yet nothing was done to protect those lower middle class workers from further harm in this round of budget cuts to colleges and universities.

Note to readers: This issue has nothing to do with the court system so since it is such an important issue that will be decided within the next few weeks it should be comment on before the New Year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Holiday and Politics

With the Christmas holiday season and the end of the year upon us we should all be looking forward to the next two years. In 2012 President Obama will be running once more and many democrats in the house and the senate will also be running for reelection.

Now is the time to define what we expect from our party leadership as Mr. Gonzales runs to be reelected to lead our party into those elections. We want it made clear that education should be about our children and not top educational administration. We would even take help from the republicans if we could just put an end to outrages salaries of these people while local colleges cut programs and support services to the students. When colleges and universities demand higher tuitions all the while making deals with coaches that they know they cannot afford. Paying school presidents outrages salaries while cutting the pay of the people who work directly with the students to ensure their success.

Now the ERB wants to raise the amount paid by people making less then $25,000 a year but more then $20,000 a year. These employees are forced to pay into a plan that may or may not pay them back when it comes time for them to retire. These are the working poor who struggle daily to keep a roof over the heads of their families, food on their tables and a car running to get their own children to school and home. Where is the Christmas spirit from the people running this board. The board was forced by an outraged set of teachers to hear from them on the issue of increasing their retirement age by 10 years. Most employees who have worked for 10 years would be back to square one if that retirement age was increased by 10 years but all the board cares about is paying their own legal fees for the mismanagement of employees retirement funds. Clearly State Senator Tim Keller is right when he says that reform is badly needed when it comes to that board and how it handles retirement investments.

Mr. Gonzales should be reminded that it is not all about making people vote for the wrong candidates but instead holding government accountable for protecting the voting public and its employees that provide valuable services. Our party will only take power if the voting public strongly believes in its goals, its missions and the candidates who represent those goals/missions.

Our party should be about leading our state into a position where people have a quality education, better pay along with job security. We need to produce jobs for all New Mexicans rather then producing jobs that will advance just one party or a small elite group of people who are well connected. The time has come to define what values matter most to all New Mexicans and not just a few fringe groups.

We need to support a strong court system to provide justice to all in order to protect honest hard working families. We need support services for the courts that work so that offenders do not repeat their past mistakes and harm innocent people. We need a District Attorney’s office which does not need to delay cases because of lack of funding. Bake sales are not the answer to the financial shortcomings for the courts and their related government jobs that form the whole state justice systems. Neither is raising court fees so that only the financially well off criminals can afford to bond out of jail.

We need to protect the environment from large corporations who could care less about the health of our children and the quality of our water. We need strict laws that protect our environment but that present a fair and straight forward method for companies to follow allowing them to make sound business decisions based on firm predictable laws that clearly spell out the consequences of violating those laws.

All of these goals will take money and tax dollars but in order to achieve this jobs from all sectors will be required that result in employees being able to pay taxes. It will need higher wage earners to pay their fair percentage share of taxes on their whole gross pay so as to benefit the community they live and work in while providing services to their families and their neighbors.

Personal Note: This is my last posting for the year because tomorrow I start an internship that will not allow me to speak out publicly on politics. I will finish the first part of it by the end of the year and be able to post at the start of the New Year. So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my readers.