Guest opinion: Don't buy Balyeat's argument against public schools

2013-02-07T00:05:00Z Guest opinion: Don't buy Balyeat's argument against public schoolsBy ERIC FEAVER The Billings Gazette
February 07, 2013 12:05 am  • 

Joe Balyeat (Feb. 2 guest opinion) is no friend of public programs and services, especially public education and the folks who serve therein. He would privatize our public schools at taxpayer expense. He would lay waste to the democratic public school governing structures outlined in our state constitution. Governing structures that empower us, the people, to own and control our local public schools.

This Americans for Prosperity chief Libertarian has a long history of anti-government, anti-public school endeavor.

Back in 1998, along with Rob Natelson, Joe attempted to amend our state constitution with a requirement that there be a public vote on every new tax and fee at every level of government from weed district to the Legislature. My union, MEA-MFT challenged CI-75 and won the expected Supreme Court decision that CI-75 was unconstitutional.

More recently, just last session, Joe sponsored Senate Bill 54 to kill the Teachers Retirement System defined benefit pension plan and dump all newly hired teachers into the worst-looking hybrid (a mix of defined benefit and defined contribution) retirement plan of all time. SB54 passed that “bat crap crazy Legislature.” At our request, Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed SB54.

In the same session, Joe sponsored two legislative referenda: Legislative Referendum 119 to require Supreme Court justices to be elected from six specific geographic districts around the state and Legislative Referendum 123 to authorize the legislative fiscal analyst to rebate a portion of our state’s ending fund balance on his own without specific legislative approval. Other parties challenged the constitutional integrity of LR119, and MEA-MFT challenged the constitutional integrity of LR123. The Supreme Court tossed both from the ballot.

Now, out of the Senate, but still yammering away, Joe would turn our quality public schools that serve all God's children over to private and religious interests and give huge tax breaks in the process.

Just say "NO" to Joe. Say "NO" to each and every bill meant to drown public schools in a bathtub.

 

 

Eric Feaver of Helena is president of MEA-MFT. To learn more about Montana's public schools, go to the MEA-MFT link with this guest opinion at billingsgazette.com.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. alex
    Report Abuse
    alex - February 08, 2013 1:46 pm
    If private or charter schools want public dollars, they should have to follow the same rules and regulations. Otherwise, they shouldn't be eligible. For example, some private schools do not take special ed students because they don't want to hire special ed teachers. As long as it's a requirement for public schools, then that's where the public money should go. As for home schools, they shouldn't get any public money. However, if they can convince the politicians that they should get a tax break for a home school or a private school, then that would be fine. Funding for public schools has been squeezed so tight that it shouldn't just go to anyone who thinks they can educate. Contrary to what some think,Montana's public schools have an excellent record of educating Montana students. They will continue to do that as long as they receive adequate funding that keeps them going. Heck, Joe Balyeat is a product of the Montana public school system. He seems to have a good education.
  2. Jus Wundrin
    Report Abuse
    Jus Wundrin - February 07, 2013 4:14 pm
    All of em brattr. Yup. If you want to continue throwing money at a failing gubment institution have at it.

    Glorified overpriced baby sitting service. People like feaver are afraid of losing their power and meal ticket paid for by the US taxpayer.
  3. Brattr
    Report Abuse
    Brattr - February 07, 2013 11:48 am
    Which teacher, exactly? Are you arguing against publically funded education? We no longer have children in the public schools but recognize our responsibility to do our part in helping to support our schools...kinda like those taxpayers without "kiddies" did when our kids were answering the school bell.
  4. Jus Wundrin
    Report Abuse
    Jus Wundrin - February 07, 2013 11:07 am
    A teacher should be thanking the taxpayers. Especially the ones with no kiddies in school.
  5. Jus Wundrin
    Report Abuse
    Jus Wundrin - February 07, 2013 11:06 am
    Anything that will put a thorn under the foot of mr. feaver, I will support. Perhaps he needs to be reminded of where his bloated salary comes from.

    Get rid of the NEA.
  6. Brattr
    Report Abuse
    Brattr - February 07, 2013 10:55 am
    Yes, Jethro, we are...
  7. Still Here
    Report Abuse
    Still Here - February 07, 2013 9:32 am
    If you are Living Good and able to read this paper, you should thank a teacher. But after reading some of your other writings, I rest my case.
  8. Living Good
    Report Abuse
    Living Good - February 07, 2013 8:19 am
    And we are suppose to believe you Eric?

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