More coziness, double-dipping, and distorted (sports) priorities: Cape Henlopen school district
Delaware's "Harper Valley PTA" chumminess - and the distorted, exalted position of sports, particularly football - are on full display in a state audit of the Cape Henlopen school district.
The NEWS JOURNAL reports:
"A state audit found evidence of coziness in the Cape Henlopen School District, with two sisters working in the same financial department and at least two instances of administrators double-dipping - collecting full-time salaries and state pensions at the same time.
The school board also boosted the salary of the high school's dean of students, Bill Collick - who is also the school's football coach - from $63,000 to $107,500 in 2012, the audit report stated. The sharp pay increase was given to Collick after he had to stop collecting a state pension, the report notes..."
Under new rules which took effect a couple of years ago, Collick had to give up his pension benefits from the state, or else suffer a substantial cut in pay.
(The previous Cape Henlopen football coach, Tom Ott, abruptly left Cape when he was arrested on child sex abuse and rape charges).
And to readers of this blog (particularly upstate) who don't know, if Collick's name seems familiar, he served as head football coach at Delaware State University, achieving a record of 81-48. Also coached at Sussex Tech.
Further, Auditor Tom Wagner's office found an interim district superintendent, David Robinson, received a state pension while receiving compensation to the tune of $173,000 from the district.
Wow... so much here, I don't know where to start.
If you want a textbook example as to why school property tax referenda are an uphill struggle in Delaware, here it is. School districts poor mouth their financial positions; then, this type of chicanery happens.
As for Collick - granted, he is an alum of Cape and has the track record of a winning coach - but was it the school district's responsibility to address his pension problem? What would have happened if Cape's dean of students had NOT been the football coach?
Let's just suppose. Suppose Cape Henlopen had hired an alum who had become an esteemed university professor of mathematics, physics, and/or history. (Granted, given tenure at the university level, this scenario is highly unlikely). But for whatever reason, this professor agreed to come back to Henlopen as dean of students and a math, physics, or history teacher. Would he/she automatically get a salary boost to compensate for the loss of his/her pension benefits?
I know it's getting a bit old from me, but this deference to competitive sports - particularly football - is absolutely distorting what should be the primary mission of high schools and colleges in this country. It is the new opiate of the masses.
You can hear my interview with state Auditor Tom Wagner (R-DE):
Mr. Loudell: Maybe all this emphasis on football is because it's the modern-day version of Bread & Circuses (the opiate of the masses)... only now we pay large sums of money for this entertainment (through high ticket prices and our tax dollars)
Tue, May 13, 2014 9:29am
Mike: Hopefully the Select Committee on Benghazi will actually find out what happened...if they truly want to know what 0bama knew on the day of this event they need to see the president's PDB (Presidential Daily Briefing). Bush released his PDB for 9/10 and 9/11/2001 to show that he didn't have prior knowledge of the September 11th Attacks...so we have precedent for this current president releasing his PDB to show where he was and what he knew.
Tue, May 13, 2014 9:32am
School districts (state government) are very nepotistic. Siblings, cousins, husbands and wives, etc. If that is an issue, then every state office has problems. The biggest glaring issue is the sudden increase in pay that equates to the lost pension. Plus, isn't the CFO in Cape the same one who was the CFO for the Department of Labor years ago? Shouldn't he know workplace pay issues?
Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 13, 2014 10:34am
EarlGrey: Here is exactly what Hillary replied in the context of the Benghazi massacre [taken from the transcript of the hearings]. I think if you read her entire comment, you'll get a different picture from the edited versions the Right Wing Media play.
Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.
Mike: I'm the one who posted the zerohedge link earlier...and (as I said then) your are correct about the G.O.P. not wanting to investigate Benghazi.
And, to answer Hillary's question...IT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE whether or not it was a protest, guys out for a walk or an organized attack by Al-qaeda. And, if Hillary was serious about finding those responsible and bringing them to justice... why did she blame the attack on a stupid tape when she knew full well that was a lie from day one?
Hillary has bigger issues than just Benghazi...Drudge had a story last night about her health. Apparently she wasn't lying when she said she was unable to appear before Congress for earlier hearings due to health issues... but she also didn't tell the full truth about the extent of her health.
Tue, May 13, 2014 12:18pm
No Earl, and this is where you partisanship puts your gigantic blinders on... No. No. NO It does not make a difference as to whether or not it was a protest, guys out for a walk, or an organized attack by Al-Qaeda. .... to 99.99999999% of the rest of America... Face it, there is something weird in you that this must tick off.. Fine.. Get ticked off, but leave us out of it.
Move on like the rest of 99.99999999% of America has.. There are far more important things in life that need to be fixed than to throw away more $$$$$$$$$ and more time on such a teeny, weeny, tiny, whiny, insignificant blip on the radar of history.
On the galactic scale of things... knowing why that person getting pulled out of their wreaked car and onto a stretcher as you drive past... knowing why that random stranger happened to be out driving, is far, far more relevant than why Benghazi was attacked on that day, at that time, and for whatever reason...
If you don't think that wondering why that person in that car was out driving when they did is so important... you are finally getting the picture of how all the rest of us feel about your "pet" cause.. Benghazi... In God's eyes, that person is far more important than yours, or anyone's pet cause.
Now back to the topic at hand....
Tue, May 13, 2014 12:21pm
I think sports are, and need to be a big part of our curriculum, that is, until we return to times of having to undergo back breaking labor.
If I remember correctly, the swelling up of sports enthusiasm is directly tied to our lack of our own physical activity.
Almost as if we live vicariously through the sports of others... We do so because we have nothing else.
Tue, May 13, 2014 1:19pm
I find it interesting how a post about the audit at Cape Henlopen - and whether the dean of students / football coach got his big salary increase just in time to make up for the loss of his pension - got diverted by Benghazi.
However, I pose this rhetorical question: For all intensity of concern about Benghazi from one part of the political spectrum, why didn't we ever see significant Congressional hearings into how the United States stumbled into war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why the advertised objectives crumbled? Think about it. Far more lives lost -- all sides -- and astronomical costs.
We're not going to get that hearing. Too many people of both political parties were complicit in these military interventions, and too many Americans would have sought to remove any politician who voiced objections to this march to war. It was post-9/11 after all.
(Some Dems, in particular, thought they had learned a lesson from not supporting the first Iraq war after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait!)
Back to the main topic. To respond to kavips, just posted above, I have no problem with Physical Education and even some after-school sports.
I object to when football and basketball, particularly, become the tail wagging the dog -- which should be academic courses and extra-curriculars.
I object to the undue emphasis, disproportionate salaries for coaches, too many scholarships based on sports, etc.
I object to even some supposedly elite private schools here in Delaware FORCING kids to participate in after-school, competitive sports, which then decimates most other ACADEMIC extra-curricular activities.
I object to the high school or football or basketball team becoming such a big deal in a community, that athletes can do no wrong... creating intense social pressure for a coach, principal, athletic director, college president, or even a chief of police to look the other way when an athlete commits an offense, especially physical sexual violence.
I continue to believe religiously-oriented schools, in particular, show a theological blind spot by being so afraid to even raise any of the above.
And if parents live vicariously through the sports achievements of their kids, or many Americans live vicariously through the achievements of college or pro-sports teams, what a pity, what a sad commentary on life!
Tue, May 13, 2014 1:30pm
"I object to even some supposedly elite private schools here in Delaware FORCING kids to participate in after-school.." which schools do this?
And where is sports beneficial? Allan, I point to items like this -http://www.delawareonline.com/story/sports/high-school/2014/05/10/autistic-teen-enjoying-ride-hodgson-golf-athlete/8949997/
Now, that being said, do I agree with the direction of sports in our country? No. Beyond schools, it has become a money-generating industry that increases the chances of injury and disappointment. I played sports all my life and it paid for my college, but seeing it as a means to an end is wrong. And for every 'travel' team, there are parents of little Jimmy and Jane with visions of drafts and magazine covers. However, watching the general populace of kids who don't play sports (or are active in organized activities), they are woefully overweight and lethargic.
Tue, May 13, 2014 1:41pm
kavips: First, I didn't bring up Benghazi in this thread (that was Mike). Second, does it really matter if only .0000001% would like to know what our president was doing/where he was during the time our Ambassador (and three others) were killed by Islamist terrorists? Bush was blamed by the Left for 9/11/01 and he provided his PDB to show what he knew/when he knew/where he was, is it really too much to expect the same from the "most open and honest" administration ever?
Your car crash comparison proves my point...if the crash were a simple accident then no one should be held responsible, if on the other hand, the crash was due to a "road rage" encounter and someone intentionally tried to harm the driver in the crashed car...THEN someone should be held responsible. It does make a difference.
And, with that, I'm done on Benghazi for this thread.
Back on topic...I do agree with you on sports. Our kids need exercise and sports are a fun way to integrate exercise, skills and learning. The link between sports and college/athletic scholarships IMHO is part of the problem. The scales need to tip in favor of academics vs sports in college...how many college/professional athletes create anything besides "entertainment" for couch-potatoes?
Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 13, 2014 2:21pm
EarlGrey: You're correct, you did bring that up. We are in agreement on that, and on what that blog was pointing out.
The troubling thing about this latest committee is they simply are looking to torpedo Hillary's chances of running for Prez, not finding all the truth. So as a result, I see little value in what they are trying to do.
Allan brings up a good point too about why we didn't see any committees to investigate Iraq.
As far as the sports thing goes, you're fighting a losing battle. When I first moved into my neighborhood about 20 years ago, our school district was having a referendum where they threatened to eliminate music, art, and the gifted program, if it didn't pass. My neighbor said to me he wasn't going to vote for the referendum. It didn't passed by 2/3's of the vote. 6 months later, the school district had another vote on the referendum; this time, the district threatened to eliminate high school football. My neighbor said of course he's voting for it, he wants to see his boy play ball. Yep, it passed this time by 2/3's of the vote.
So as Allan suggested, many parents and grandparents are living their lives through their kids/grandkids and they just are not seeing the Big Picture. Until that mindset is changed, this discussion is like "spraying watering in the wind".
Tue, May 13, 2014 5:10pm
Let's talk sports. If anyone of you have ever been to a charity ball, you might know they auction off items, usually donated for free and keep the money for the cause. People are more willing to give up money if they get something for it. You may not need another piece of jewelry. But winning the auction, you get it and the money goes to a good cause.... would you have been a generous without the incentive? Probably not; which is why it is done. You would have written a check for $2,000 and been done with it; now, you donated $2,200 instead... and show off your piece to your friends and tell them all where you got it and only for $200...
Let us apply that principle to sports and schools. The schools need everyone's support. The American public for the most part is not astute enough to cheer and throw lots of money at a student who say, can do the proof behind Einstein's General Theory of Relativity the fastest... But local pride will fill up a stadium to see the best female player in the nation, who happens to call us home. (She's in the Bob Carpenter tonight, playing Washington btw.) "Need money? Yeah no problem, Let's get the championship this year... "
It is about belonging. It is about pride. And it is about generating support and money... Remember the schools live or die on the referendums. Referendums are supported by the people. So just like Roman Emperors had to keep their plebians and slaves happy (so as not to revolt), throwing lavish spectacles to distract their attention, so do schools...
It is just how humans are wired... A school that does not participate in competitive sports, loses resources over to one that does. Evolution has demanded our schools become sports-focused, whether public or private....
Railing against the status-quo, I think, is like the deer railing at having to always run from wolves.. "Why does it have to be this way?", they ponder. The answer is wolves need to eat.
However, changing the gene make-up of wolves so they become vegetarians... does solve the problem after a full generation. You addressed the root cause, made adjustments, and viola, the eco-system keeps itself in line by itself...
The only way Americans will lose their sports fetish, is to make intellectual learning superior to physical.. That means very high salaries. That means billionaires (hopefully non-prejudiced ones) owning teams of competing intellectuals, and that means paparazzi following intellectuals everywhere... And of course, we here would have to do our part and debate their personal lives and etc, on these pages...
How to do that?
Nuclear bombs and rockets into space, were big enough, spectacular enough, to generate a scientific interest in a whole generation.. The timing is such that our entire computer mushrooming now taking place from smart phones to massive spying are a biproduct of the Russians first beating us into space...
If you want intellectualism to again reign supreme, you must think big... Very big.
As an example, preposterous as it sounds, we should build a giant death star orbiting Earth... Then as we look up nightly and see fellow members of our species up there making $500,000 K a year working, soldering, and welding and riveting, watching with wonder as it grow across decades, ever larger, we just might finally make a dent into the hold sports now have on American, nay, make it global, culture... Try throwing a soccer ball to a group of young boys in Mali... They know exactly what to do with it...
Tue, May 13, 2014 7:01pm
You make some good arguments.
But, if some of us see the emperor has no clothes, shouldn't we point that out?
If we see something that is distorting education and society at some many levels...
As for referenda, don't get me started. It is such distorted stupidity that Americans routinely vote on whether to increase their property taxes for public education, but little else. Again, the U.S. is unique among the countries of the world in this regard, and that's not a good thing!
You and I would agree on the distortions which have come with charter schools.
But, kavips, given your general track record as a "progressive" - on this blog and on your own blog - I find it a little surprising, and ironic, that you wouldn't be more inclined to question the exalted role of sports in American life.
I don't know your age. But, "growing up" in the late 1960's and early '70's, to some extent, both the jock culture and fraternities/sororities came under attack.
It is truly stunning how so many baby boomers "sold out", whether replacing their commitment to environmentalism with a thirst for gas-guzzling SUVs, or supporting a culture that overcompensates athletes, entertainers, and corporate CEOs, and in many cases, overlooks or excuses their excesses.
I remember thinking at the time that my generation's commitment to some of these things was cosmetic, mostly a fad. Still, I find it stunning that so many people of my generation seem to suffer some kind of amnesia about those earlier ideals.
But, in my judgment, this sports mania is not quite universal. Some schools in America have not allowed this sports obsession to undermine academic extra-curriculars, as with most schools in Delaware.
Wed, May 14, 2014 8:23am
"A school that does not participate in competitive sports, loses resources over to one that does. Evolution has demanded our schools become sports-focused, whether public or private....
Railing against the status-quo, I think, is like the deer railing at having to always run from wolves.. "Why does it have to be this way?", they ponder. The answer is wolves need to eat."~kavips
kavips summed up well the main reason schools spend so much time/money/resources on sports, and he's right...we need to somehow switch-up the "food-chain". Make it better (more desirable) to be a deer rather than a wolf.
I heard an interesting piece on NPR this morning discussing youth and the future of modern manufacturing...if artists/teachers/designers/creative-types could create ways of using their talents to draw in funding to schools, maybe they would overshadow the "importance" of having the best athletic team. In the real world (as most of us know,) sports adds very few jobs and create very few new innovative creations/inventions to better our world. Would you rather brag that your school "produced" the next Bill Gates or the next Michael Vick?
Wed, May 14, 2014 8:35am
Even more detrimental to the education of our future generations is Common Core... CC creates sheeple rather than critical-thinking individuals.
It would also be easier to rid our schools of CC than it would be to change how Americans view sports teams at their local schools.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 14, 2014 8:49am
Allan said: "It is truly stunning how so many baby boomers "sold out", whether replacing their commitment to environmentalism with a thirst for gas-guzzling SUVs, or supporting a culture that overcompensates athletes, entertainers, and corporate CEOs, and in many cases, overlooks or excuses their excesses."
It is ironic, that many of the people who hated Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan when in their 20's and 30's, today are TEA party folks, Rush/Jensen listeners, and of course, loyal Fox "News" viewers.
I'm one of the Boomer oddballs. I thought Eisenhower had been correct with his Domino theory and that being the reason we were in Viet Nam. I was more upset with the fact that we didn't really fight to win that war as we did in WWII. I ended up turning against our involvement in Viet Nam for that reason. If it's important enough to do, it's important enough to do well, we weren't. My attitude was either fight it, no boundary lines where we couldn't go [can't cross into Cambodia, but the Viet Cong can so it's a safe harbor for them] or get out altogether. The only folks benefitting from Viet Nam were companies like Dow Chemical who made Napalm and Boeing who made B-52's, etc. Jane Fonda was a traitor going to Hanoi. I voted for Tricky Dick Nixon, as the DEM choice was George McGovern in the 1972 election. That was a hold-your-nose election for me as I didn't like Nixon, but didn't want the hippies to run the nation.
The Hippies were about 12% of the population, yet got most of the media coverage. So just to be clear, most folks in the 60's and early 70's were not taking drugs or smoking pot. You'd be surprised how many young folks today think everyone was walking around stoned in the 60's. I was one of those from that younger demo back then who didn't do drugs or pot.
So I was more conservative then and as I've aged, became more liberal [more of a moderate - conservative on some things and liberal on others, so that conservatives today call me a Bleeding-Heart Liberal and liberals today call me a right-wing Facist], the opposite of what Allan describes. I drive a Ford Fusion, not an SUV.
I'm more concerned about the Environment now than I was back in the day. I remember the first Earth Day in April 1970 and frankly didn't believe it would amount to much, just another protest. Thankfully, I was wrong on that one. I do believe in Global Warming [I prefer to call it Global Weirdness as the weather all over the world is acting weird, be it colder or hotter, where the colder places get colder the warmer warmer, the wet wetter, the dry dryer, etc - I read a book that gave me that perspective so its not original with me]. I was totally against the student demonstrations against the war, wanting to ban ROTC from college campuses, and the hippie movement in general. So I was not any sort of a "flower child".
Today, I tend to side with the DEMS on Social Safety Net, helping folks stuff, being compassionate, wanting to help the little guy. I agree with the G.O.P. on many of the moral issues in principle, BUT not believing we should legislate those morals, but leave that to the churches and preachers as the "heart" needs to be changed first before the person will understand those things are not right or what God desires. The folks doing that stuff don't believe it is wrong, so until that changes, it's a senseless battle, etc. You get my point; I'll not launch in to a preaching thing here.
So I'm sort of the oddball from many of my boomer cohorts. They rejoice in Woodstock; I don't, wasn't there, didn't want to be there, didn't see the point other than a bunch of hippies were there having sex in a field while stoned, while very loud music played, in a very muddy place, etc. I still don't like "psychodelic" music of the late 60's and early 70's as it was to me then and still today, "drug music".
Wed, May 14, 2014 10:17am
Mike: I know you tend to side with the "DEMS" on the Social Security safety net, but you may want to read Timmy Geithner's book on how they (the DEMS) have lied to you. Geithner says in his new book that he was told by this administration to lie to the public about Social Security's effects on the economy because it is a political "dog whistle" to the Left (and to you).
...and this TEA Party guy drives a Subaru...neither of us neatly fit into a stereotype ;)
Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 14, 2014 10:34am
EarlGrey: Whether or not Social Security contributes to the deficit is immaterial. Members of Congress should have kept their grimy meathooks off the Social Security money we all paid in.
I don't care one way or another. That's THEIR problem to find a way to honor the government's part of the deal. Members of thr American public did their part by paying the Social Security tax every month throughout their working lives. Members of Congress can jolly well find something else to cut, such as THEIR limos, staffs, salaries, pensions, and perks, etc., etc.
Sorry, this is non-negotiable for me. Those sons of perdition have gotten away with this crap for far too long. Why doesn't the TEA party go after them for this, instead of protecting the rich and the folks in Congress, as they say, sure, let's get rid of Social Security; it was a evil DEM plan from that socialist FDR.
As I've said many times, I'll vote for the DEMS unless Republicans make it very loud and clear that they will not change in any way the Social Security plan for my group [then, I'll at least consider voting for them]. Yep, I'm being selfish; you all had no problem taking my money for 47 years so I don't want to hear about it now. Pay up.
Wed, May 14, 2014 11:40am
Mike: The TEA Party IS NOT helping the uber-rich (that once again is the Progressive Republicans/Democrats), nor are they calling to stop all payments for Social Security recipients (the "dog whistle" fear...as soon as you hear anyone make the claim...you bark). All I'm saying is that before you place your loyalty/trust in the DEMS you really should look into what ignoring the problems facing SS will do to you and the many others who have paid into the system and deserve getting what they "invested"...do you really think that Congress would ever cut their own salaries/budgets/perks to make sure SS payments go out? No way, they will insist on raising taxes on everyone else to fix the problem they made.
Social Security is much like the pensions for public sector and auto industry workers in now-bankrupt cities around the country...all these people paid their dues and trusted that they would receive their retirement payments, but their benefits are being cut and their pensions dramatically reduced. Fair? No way!...but that is what happens to the Lower/Middle class workers in this society.
I actually do think that Social Security has turned into what it's original opponents predicted it would become, but we can't just end it...people have paid in and deserve to get their money back.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 14, 2014 1:41pm
EarlGrey: I agree, but what I don't hear TEA folks saying is they won't change Social Security for those of us who are 55+ [I'm 63, but it seems to me those 55 don't have enough time either, so that's why I say 55+].
I have no problem if Congress changes the plan for those younger, but I only hear changing it for all; that's what I'm against.
Actually I think it's time to start a new party called: SEABEE. Screwed Enough Already By Elected Elites. That way, people of both parties who want something balanced, not either extreme, could have a place to be represented.
Wed, May 14, 2014 2:43pm
LOL...Mike, the SEABEE Party already exists...it's called the TEA Party .They are the anti-establishment party and follow the guide book for how our country is supposed to function (i.e. the Constitution).
If you believe otherwise, just look at how much establishment-types (McCain, McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Grover Norquist and Karl Rove) hate the Tea Party candidates. Some of the good TEA Party candidates are winning the current primaries and are predicted to win in 2014 elections.
I've heard a few TEA Party candidates suggest your plan above (no changes for those 55+) but they are not in charge...yet ;)
There is a big difference between the local Delaware TEA Party people and the national TEA Party candidates...I have not heard any on the national stage even mention the idea of changing Social Security for those who are 55+ in age.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 14, 2014 3:24pm
EarlGrey: Could you find me some of those national TEA candidates I could then go and check out their websites. I'd enjoy reading more about them.
I really believe this one issue [Social Security] can be the "salvation" for the TEA movement in terms of getting older voters to support their cause. Most older folks believe the TEA/G.O.P. would hurt Social Security, so this is an important issue for the TEA folks to be very clear on, so even the DEM political machine can't taint it the other way. I still remember an old black-and-white political ad on TV that showed a Social Security card, and the announcer simply saying, if you vote for Goldwater, this is what will happen; then two hands tore the Social Security card in two. People vote their wallets.
Wed, May 14, 2014 10:34pm
Mike: Here's a link: http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=blog&id=112
Rand Paul & Mike Lee are both TEA Party-type representatives...and they have some pretty good ideas.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, May 15, 2014 8:58am
EarlGrey: Interesting video. Interesting proposal. Sad that video was made 04-13-11. By their own words if the plan isn't put in place now [meaning back then] it won't work and would have to be more draconian. As none of us have heard anything about this plan, it apparently didn't go far in Congress. By their own words, neither GOP or DEMS were interested in their plan, the so called third rail of politics.
Probably what will need to happen is for the top 2% to pay more in FICA tax, simply raise the ceiling from the current 110K to 200K. That would keep the solvency for the rest of this century IF that money is used ONLY for Social Security. Then start a program for those 44under to raise retirement age by 6 months for every 5 years of age. So those born in 1970 to 1974 retirement age would go up 6 months, from 1975-80 a second 6 months, etc.
Means testing for those who made $110K + per year.
My guess is this sort of bill could pass Congress.
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