Betsy Webb’s selective opposition to spending precious school dollars

As reported in the Bangor Daily News, Bangor School Superintendent Betsy Webb testified in Washington, DC, on Thursday about the allegedly negative effects of the Affordable Care Act’s “30 hour full-time rule.” At the invitation of “Our Senator” Susan Collins, Webb spoke to the U.S. Senate’s Education, Health, Labor, and Pensions Committee, whose members include Collins. Webb was to make clear that the Obamacare provision that employers be required to provide health care to all employees who work 30 hours per week or more was harmful to the Bangor Schools’ financial situation. The goal of Collins, Webb, and others is change the definition of “full-time” employees under the Act to 40 hours per week or more.

It would be interesting to learn who paid for Supt. Webb’s trip. Will the Bangor Schools reveal this? Don’t count on it.

No one disputes that Maine schools’ budgets are invariably tight and that all possible savings strategies should be seriously considered. Yet some of us surely recall Supt Webb’s public indifference toward the considerable costs a couple of years ago in the hiring of former Orono Middle School Principal Robert Lucy as an Assistant Supt. of the Bangor Schools.

No need to rehash the controversy that surrounded the hiring in terms of alleged changes in some Orono Middle School students’ test scores while Lucy was Principal. No need to rehash the limited time that Lucy actually spent on his new job before he took paid leave and never returned. No need to rehash the thousands of precious Bangor taxpayer dollars–mine included–for legal fees to try to settle various allegations. As I’ve blogged before, the Bangor School Committee is about as open as North Korea.

Let us, however, not forget that a Republican from a prominent Bangor area family who needed a new job was given one by a fellow Republican regardless of the costs.   Just a coincidence? Tell that to the unspecified number of Bangor School District employees who will not be covered by the Affordable Care Act if “Our Senator” and her fellow wealthy Republicans in Congress prevail.

Of course having to pay for health care for 30- rather than 40-hour per week employees is a hardship for countless public and private enterprises alike. So, too, is providing employees with a higher minimum wage–which, of  course, Senator Collins opposed days after her re-election.

As for the potential effects on those Bangor School District employees who will be affected if this change is made, who cares? After all,  they’re probably Democrats. Better to take care of one’s own powerful Republicans. They are the real Americans.