A Cowboy’s Faith: Payroll cuts merit consideration

buchmanhead“Too many people are overpaid and underworked.”

Somebody repeated that last week, as we nodded agreement. It’s actually been said frequently, and sadly probably truer than ever.

One of the most tender and controversial subjects in the country, and in every community, is school finance. It’s been that way for generations; literally, as the easiest way to get a father, cousin, neighbor, whoever riled is talk funding education.

Salaries versus output brought discussion. Nobody values learning more than we do, verified by background, degree and endeavors, directly and indirectly. Everything depends on knowledge, certainly.

Then, an editorial by a former classmate, whose writings we’d actually edited 46 years ago, made the point hit harder. Summarizing final paragraph of his rambling clinched the dilemma for us, though it likely made many steam.

Recently, we reflected how important our teachers were to us, a guiding hand in everything since 17 years of formal schooling.

One teacher often taught eight grades in the first half of last century. We had 24 students in our class, with one teacher for each grade, and they doubled as coaches, tutors, art instructors, event sponsors, drama trainers and more. The principal taught class if the regular teacher became ill, which was uncommon. A music teacher and school nurse served two buildings, more than 500 students.

There were no computers, which are said to make teaching and learning easier, no teacher’s aides, no special education, and no extra sports staff.

Nobody wants to take a pay cut, but we have several times. Every person in agriculture has, and will again.

Longtime workers have been told take less, do more, or leave, and we’ll find somebody who’ll be happy to have your job. Big salaries do not guarantee quality.

Remember there are mostly nine-month contracts, yet 12-month salaries, without question.

“Overfed horses never win the race.”

“Fat cats don’t catch the mice.”

No easy solution, but somebody has to pay, because education is the future. Back to old school could be a step forward.

Reminds us of Proverbs 1:4: “Educators will teach young people what they need to know and how to use what they’ve learned.” Because, Proverbs16:26: “Passion is an incentive to work harder.” Thus, First Corinthians 3:8: “Servant jobs at minimum wages make them worth doing, because we are serving.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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