In his recent Oakland Press blog posting, capitol reporter Tim Skubick speculates that the recall weapon could be stolen from the anti-tax side and used by the "more money for government" crowd. Specifically, he's thinking about K-12 schools:
The schools now confront a whopping $292 cut for every school kid who walks through the door. The governor is urging the education lobby, see yesterday's blog, to get in the game and turn up the heat on republicans who are loathed to put up a green light on new revenue. Tossing the recall card on the table might up the ante.
He ends by implying that this is a new idea: "Nobody has talked about actually doing this, but to be honest nobody has really considered the option…until now."
Well, actually... they have. Except, rather than taking down people who won’t shovel more money into public education, they try to cut down those who seek to contain costs at public schools:
One MEA tactic is to launch recalls against school board members that vote to hire private contractors. Such an attempt failed in Southfield due to lack of sufficient recall petition signatures. A similar effort against four Reed City board members succeeded during the Nov. 4, 2008, general election, despite the fact that the anticipated annual savings of $300,000 was used to hire three new teachers. Prior to privately contracting for food and custodial services, the Reed City district's projected expenses were exceeding revenues by $890,000.
And there are examples ongoing. The Macomb Daily's Frank DeFrank reported on the goings-on in the Romeo Community Schools just a couple of weeks back:
Three members of the Romeo Community Schools Board of Education are subjects of a recall effort.
District resident Dan Knepp, a retired facility engineer, filed language this week that targets board members Greg Jacobson, Michael Stobak and Jennifer White.
Knepp targeted the trio for votes they made on controversial issues in recent months, including several cost-cutting measures.
"The school board members are not listening to the community," said Knepp. "They're taking steps to outsource (jobs held by) local residents."
With financial problems that stem from repeated cuts in state funding, Romeo, like most districts, made a series of cuts to balance its budget.
A key cut contemplated was the privatization of custodian service.
So, stay tuned. Since the real goal is to spend more and not worry the savings so much, then it’s only a matter of time before this recall cannon is turned on the taxpayers at the state level.
For more on how schools can save lots of money by contracting out for noninstructional services, see many more resources at the Mackinac Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at www.mackinac.org/7970.