There are more details linked at The Weekly Standard, showing exactly how Walker and the Wisconsin GOP's plan has helped school districts and teachers. I've included the juicy bits here.Walker’s Vindication
The controversial Wisconsin budget reform saves teachers’ jobs.
Emily Koczela had been anxiously waiting for months for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill to take effect. Koczela, the finance director for the Brown Deer school district, had been negotiating with the local union, trying to get it to accept concessions in order to make up for a $1 million budget shortfall. But the union wouldn’t budge.
“We laid off 27 [teachers] as a precautionary measure,” Koczela told me. “They were crying. Some of these people are my friends.”
On June 29 at 12:01 a.m., Koczela could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The budget repair bill?—?delayed for months by protests, runaway state senators, and a legal challenge that made its way to the state’s supreme court?—?was law. The 27 teachers on the chopping block were spared.With “collective bargaining rights” limited to wages, Koczela was able to change the teachers’ benefits package to fill the budget gap. Requiring teachers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward pensions saved $600,000. Changes to their health care plan?—?such as a $10 office visit co-pay (up from nothing)?—?saved $200,000. Upping the workload from five classes, a study hall, and two prep periods to six classes and two prep periods saved another $200,000. The budget was balanced.
“Everything we changed didn’t touch the children,” Koczela said. Under a collective bargaining agreement, she continued, “We could never have negotiated that?—?never ever...”
...In Brown Deer and school districts across the state, Walker’s budget repair bill, known as Act 10, is working just as he promised. To make up for a $2.8 billion deficit without raising taxes, state aid to school districts (the largest budget line) was reduced by $830 million. Act 10, Walker said, would give districts “the tools” needed to make up for the lost money as fairly as possible.
But union leaders argued that the fight over the budget repair bill had nothing to do with balancing budgets. It was all about stripping public employees of their “collective bargaining rights...”
...But as the abstract debate over collective bargaining collides with reality, it is becoming clear just how big a lie the Big Labor line was. Now that the law is in effect, where are the horror stories of massive layoffs and schools shutting down? They don’t exist?—?except in a couple of districts where collective bargaining agreements, inked before the budget repair bill was introduced, remain in effect.
In Milwaukee, nine schools are shutting and 354 teachers have been fired due to a drop in state funding and the end of federal stimulus funding. But if teachers there agreed to the 5.8 percent pension contribution, the school district says it would rehire 200 of those teachers...
...Given the choice between fewer benefits and layoffs, the Milwaukee teachers’ union chose the latter...
The only other district seeing such massive layoffs is Kenosha, where 212 teachers will be fired this year. “Kenosha is in the same boat as [Milwaukee], with a collective bargaining agreement signed before Walker took office that lasts until June 30, 2013,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on July 16. “But most other Wisconsin districts have avoided layoffs and massive cuts to programs...”
...One striking feature of Walker’s budget repair bill is the flexibility it has given school districts to balance their budgets...