Golden Parachutes for School Administrators Should be Reined In.
Today, the House Republicans rejected my effort to restrict huge bonuses and benefits, commonly called “golden parachutes,” that some school districts pay to administrators when their contracts end.
I offered a motion to withdraw Senate Bill 766 from the House Education Committee in order to let House members approve a limitation on the amount of salary and benefits that a school district, an education service district or a public charter school may pay an administrator at the end of his or her contract. The bill would have restricted such a payment to 25 percent of the salary and benefits paid to the person in the prior school year. The bill would also have prohibited providing retirement benefits to administrators that are not available to other employees.
The Republican majority killed the motion on a party-line vote, even though the Senate had passed the bill earlier in the legislative session.
The bill would help buy more books and programs, but fewer huge retirement bonuses for administrators. It would place some reasonable restrictions on golden parachutes that would not only save precious tax dollars, but also enable schools to devote a bigger share of their resources to the covering the costs that mean the most to Oregon—the education of our kids.
I believe now is the time to send a message to schools throughout Oregon, underscoring a clear priority for spending tax dollars in the classrooms, not on golden parachutes. We have no good reason to put this off for another two years.
August 2, 2005 by Chuck Riley
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Let’s Spare our Kids from Meth
The news media have recently given us some terrifying glimpses of the tragedy of methamphetamine in our communities.
In stark photographs we have seen the empty faces of addicts-turned-criminals. We’ve seen the skin sores, the rotting teeth and the hopeless eyes. We’ve heard the stories of once-promising young people falling into the grip of a drug that robs its victim of any sense of right and wrong. And we’ve heard about the costs to society—the ruined lives, the suffering of crime victims, the public expense.
Nobody doubts that the Legislature must do something. I’m glad to report that we’re considering a wide range of bills aimed at toughening the law against the manufacture, distribution and sale of methamphetamine. I’ve pledged to support any measure that reduces the suffering that this scourge has inflicted upon our families and communities. I support the Governor’s Meth Task Force, and I’ll do everything I can to provide the resources our criminal justice system needs to beat this threat.
I have a special concern, however, for the children of addicts and the children of the criminals who make and sell meth. Can you imagine anything more tragic than the death of a toddler who died less than two months after an agency returned him to his biological parents, when his parents had a history of methamphetamine abuse?
What’s more heart-wrenching than the reality of an infant crawling around on the carpet of a house where adults make meth, breathing toxic fumes and absorbing the residue of poisons that can impair a human being for life? Think of a small child, neglected and abused, craving parental warmth and needing the supervision of a caring adult, but living in the dark hole of the meth culture. Think of the loss society suffers when such kids slip through the cracks and end up as addicts and criminals themselves.
What chance do these kids have? Who will look out for them, if their meth-addled parents won’t?
I have drafted two bills that I believe can help.
The first creates the crime of “endangering the welfare of a minor” in the first degree. It pertains to any adult who manufactures methamphetamine with one or more children present.
The second bill creates the crime of “criminal mistreatment” in the first degree, and applies to any situation in which a child suffers an injury because of methamphetamine, or when meth is present.
Both crimes would be punishable by a maximum of five to ten years’ imprisonment, a fine of $125,000 to $250,000, or both.
I won’t pretend that these bills offer the full cure for the suffering of Oregon’s meth-children. Nothing can substitute for effective prevention and substance-abuse treatment. For that matter, we all know that joblessness and poverty contribute to crime and addiction. Still, I sincerely hope these tougher laws and penalties will get the attention of those adults who sacrifice their lives to meth.
It’s bad enough when a grown adult inflicts the demon of methamphetamine on himself. It’s unforgivable when he inflicts that demon on a child.