Only someone who works for the government…

November 13th, 2007

…would think that $6 million dollars wasn’t that much money.

In a blog post reacting to the WTMJ story critical of the amount of money spent on travel by Milwaukee Public School employees, best viagra rx school teacher Jay Bullock wrote:

“While $6 million over four years sounds like a lot of money, malady it is about one-eighth of one percent of the MPS budget over that time. If even as many as half of the “junkets” were wasteful or fraudulent–which seems unlikely–that’s still very little waste at all. I think most organizations would be happy to know 99.9% of their spending was not wasteful.”

While I actually agree with Jay that the story is misleading, I think I need to remind him that $6,000,000 is a lot of money in a state where the average income for an entire family is around $45,000.

Entry Filed under: Blogs,Milwaukee

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. folkbum  |  November 13th, 2007 at 7:43 am

    It’s nice to know I have atual readers.

    I would add that the average Milwaukeean’s share of the annual cost of those “wasteful junkets” is about $1.50–if you assume all were paid for by tax dollars, which they weren’t, and if you assume they were all fraudulent, which they weren’t. You might be justififed in asking for 75¬¢ back for each of the four years covered by the report. Maybe.

    One other thing missing from the TMJ report is a comparison of how much the private sector spends on travel to conferences and training. What does Harley spend? Northwestern Mutual? When Journal Corp sends Ed reporters to Ed reporting conferences, what does that run? Or even a comparison to what other local districts spend. I bet, proportionally, MPS spends less on travel than most suburban districts.

  • 2. capper  |  November 13th, 2007 at 7:45 am

    That last statement is a bit misleading. If only taxpayers were to pay for the junkets, yes the $6 million would be quite large. For people like Bill Gates, and people or agencies that sponsor these things through charitable dontations, it a drop in the bucket.

  • 3. Elliot  |  November 13th, 2007 at 9:19 am

    I definitely think they were playing fast and loose with the facts. It’s very relevant that some of those trips were paid for with grants from private entities. That’s why I said I agreed that the story was misleading.

    However, I still object to the characterization of $6 million as not being that much money.

    For example, I’d be thrilled to have 1/6 of that in my bank account. :)

  • 4. Fred  |  November 13th, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Jay is at moments like this that I am astounded by the complete lack of understanding from you.

    Harley, Northwestern Mutual & The Jouranl Corp are for profit entities. They are accountable to the bottom line.

    $6 million in tax dollars is outrageous.

    As are you.

  • 5. silent e  |  November 13th, 2007 at 11:33 am

    10000 trips at a cost of 6 million bucks.. MPS kids are dropping out a astounding rates. Test score are in the toilet. What exactly are these 10000 educators that are taking these trips learning? Whether it’s tax money or grant money, NOBODY is getting their monies worth..

  • 6. Ed JR.  |  November 13th, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    This is typical thinking for a public school teacher as long as it isn’t thier money. I’m willing to bet that if they had to spend thier own money to go on the trip they’d use the excuse that the meetings weren’t that important anyway and wouldn’t go.

  • 7. Aaron  |  November 13th, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    How did you arrive at $1.50 each, Jay?

    $6,000,000 / 600,000 citizens = $10

    $10 / 4 years = $2.50 per year.

  • 8. folkbum  |  November 13th, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Aaron, I used actual figures for what part of MPS’s budget comes from MKE property taxpayers.

    Fred, you can bite me.

    Ed JR., you would probably cry if you had to spend for your job what I spend on my job. Yeah, I get a tax deduction for some of it. But between August and now–just this school year–I’m out more than $150 from my pocket. (I won’t tell you what I spent of my own money on the last “junket” I took, either.) And I guarantee you that people in the private sector aren’t going to job-required conferences on their own dimes, either.

    Mike/Elliot, I appreciate that you smelled the BS too. That’s a lot better than many of your bretheren, for whom this story perfectly fit their pre-selected anti-MPS narrative. But in retrospect, I find it amazing that MPS actually spends so little on best-practices PD and trade (can you call it trade if it’s schools?) coventions. I bet that if TMJ had aired a story on how little PD MPS provides to its teachers, the reactions would have been exactly the opposite from the blogs. “All this tax money and they don’t help teachers teach better?! A billion dollars and MPS skips out on national networking opportunities?!”

    You know the drill.

  • 9. Fred  |  November 14th, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Bite you?

    You are working on my tax dime Jay excusing the waste of my tax dollars and are so clueless that you equate private sector spending to government spending.

    Guess what happens in the private sector when the bottom line is not there, they make cuts and travel is usually one of the first things to go. They are accountable to their shareholders, you are supposed to be accountable to the taxpayers.

    But being the eiltist snob that you are you belittle us for daring to question how you spend our money?

    Bite me?

    Screw you.

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