11/19/2006

The anti-public education/union/teacher thugs aren't just in the St. Croix Valley



Vista, California:

O'Reilly, president of the association, said the union always makes a point to run a clean campaign. She called the union bashing a political ploy from anti-public education candidates. Read more!

Lincoln, Nebraska:

"All this anti-public education talk and the endorsing of home-schooling, makes me wonder if the people worrying about a "brain drain" are paying attention to the dialog. Keep talking like this and you'll see the 'best and brightest' tripping over each other to get the heck out of here. And then lets see what you have, I'd venture a guess it would be something like Alabama or Missisippi." Read more!

Jackson, Mississippi:

Gov. Haley Barbour, tarred by many over the last three years as being anti-public education, countered Tuesday that K-12 spending under his watch has increased to historic proportions. Read more!

Little Rock, Arkansas:

The president of Arkansas' largest teachers union branded Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Jim Holt as anti-public education Thursday at a news conference in support of the Democratic nominee, Bill Halter. Read more!

Laconia, New Hampshire:

He dismissed the charge of being anti-public education as one that is very easy to make.

"I don't know of anyone who is against education. I'm for a quality education and I think the state's role is to target and to provide for the communities that have a need over and above the typical or average town, and that's where Laconia has benefited from targeted aid, but the Supreme Court ruling is against targeted aid." Read more!

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a read on this referendum? I see a lot of YES signs around Hudson...have the NO's all sent in their absentee ballots!?

CANRAC said...

I'm going to vote no, but right now if I had to bet I think yes will win by a narrow margin. I think what's real interesting is that the city has not annexed the propery yet. City sewer and water vs. septic and well is quite a price differential. Until this is determined I don't see how a final price can be determined.

beyond helping said...

It should not be a close vote?
The determining factor will be the soccer/hockey parents and transplants living in the new subdivisions. If they get word that their toddlers from south of 94 will be being bussed to Houlton because we are not addressing the capacity issues, they will turn out in droves.
Canrac, why would you vote no? Do you feel the new board is bad? Do you think we are not full? Do you not understand that just adding classrooms to the current schools would mean bigger cafeterias, hallways and all the support to house the added students would actually cost more than building one new school on property that we already own? Are you ignoring the population growth? Would you support any referendum?
This is the biggest no-brainer in recent Hudson history. 500 kids are being bussed across I94 every day. If the vote is even close, I would be amazed. I expect a large margin of victory for this one and a tighter race for support of dealing with the highschool in the future.
If the only reasons you can give for not supporting this is that you think the board is bad, taxes are too high and that we should have more private schools, then you are beyond help.

Anonymous said...

Beyond Helping,

I agree with you in the fact that an elementary school south of 94 is a no brainer, it should win handily. What amazes me is the no votes due to the elected board of education.

Canrac,

I don't see that City sewer and water vs. Septic being an issue. Yes it is a price differential but the district has said it will use the money from the "slush" fund to pay for the remainder beyond 12.5 million, correct?

Curious said...

Does anyone know why the school district has $20 million is a slush fund? Is this an accurate fiigure or is it a lesser amount?

firing back said...

You all should be glad the fund reserve or Rainy day fund is there. Other districts with less forsight than ours find themselves in a big money crunch. This is just prudent financial management, not a "Slush" fund.
I'll bet your family has a "slush" fund, called a savings account.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, I didn't mean to sound negative by calling it a slush fund.

Curious said...

That's nice that this fund makes you all warm and fuzzy, but how much is in the fund?

CANRAC said...

Why am I voting no? Because I think a solid long range plan is needed addressing ALL needs. My feeling is that if this one passes, we get hit with a high school referendum within two years. I want to see a plan addressing elementary and HS needs, and potential for additions to existing facilities.

I don't think the school board is bad, I give anybody willing to serve credit. I don't agree with all their decisions, but I personally have the feeling this proposal is not totally clear nor thought out as part of a plan for the entire district. I feel other issues are incomplete, I just have a feeling that its a very expensive band-aid or prelude to another referendum.

As far as growth and population I am more then aware of Hudson and school district demographics and will not deny growth did occur. Growth is stagnant right now and I'm not sure when it will return. If you remember the 80's and double digit home loan interest rates it lasted around 5 years or a little more. How long will this slump last?

My kids are out of school but I don't want to be labeled as anti-education. I've always made my own judgements and decisions without being swayed by one group or the other, and in this case I'm just not convinced voting yes is the right thing to do.

And if the city doesn't annex right now, we put in a very expensive well and septic system. The city will be watching plant capacity, and of course maybe some political pressure from both sides to approve or deny. And what is annexation comes later, do we then pay hook fees for this school?


And I agree with the busing factor with Hudson's younger family couples, it could be a factor in the vote. And regarding signs, I don't put stock into how many signs either side of the issue has as an indicator of how an election will come out. I think the yes's are working early, the no's will be heard from down the road and I expect the big red truck is getting some modifications done on it as I write.

CANRAC said...

And a side note to "beyond helping".

You seemed to have categorized me with some other "vote no factions". Trust me, I have been very quiet and civil in the long time I have lived in Hudson but also involved in a few issues. When you look at our taxes and compare say in the Appleton, Madison, or Milwaukee suburbs are taxes are OK, no complaints there. As far as the school board, I do not consider anybody who runs for office as a "bad" person. As far as private schools, my kids all attended public school and I have no feeling for public vs. private. I think home schooling has good and bad points. I'll say it again, I think the proposed plan for referendum does not paint a picture of a solid long range plan for the entire district.

Anonymous said...

Canrac, I respect your view, just by voting NO in know way brands you as Anti Public Education.

I will however disagree as well as agree with you on two separate points.

First, I disagree with the long range planning. Building an Elementary school is the right thing to do right now. I have kids that will be in classrooms of 22 and 27 next year. 22 is fine but try telling that to a Kindergarten teacher, my point is I can live with that. 27 for 3rd grade is way too many. You still have extreme individual needs at this critical age and meeting 27 of them is difficult, we need smaller class sizes at this level. Building an Elementary School south of 94 will aleviate the stress that is going on at EP Rock and Prairie and level the attendance across the elementary schools. This is makes good sense for our community as we have no school over there to begin with.

Now for the high school, I will agree with you, we need to look at more plans that aleviate the overcrowding there because it's coming, I am not sure building a new high school is the answer, I am open to it but I also realize this is a far greater expense and all options must be looked at.

firing back said...

curious,

"That's nice that this fund makes you all warm and fuzzy, but how much is in the fund?"

It's not so much warm and fuzzy. I just get tired of hearing SLUSH.
The Board has even admitted it's grown a bit too much, that's why some will be applied to the elementary school if it passes.
I think $20 million is the right figure.
I also agree that we need a comprehensive plan. But we had a Task Force that took a long hard look at thirty some options. At least start with their top few recommendations. Don't start from ground zero again. That's a waste.
I also think the naysayers have done a great disservice to this town. Being cost conscious is one thing. Being anti-Public Education is another, and as much as they deny that all you have to do is to have read OTBL for the last couple years.
They want to dismantle "government" schools.

The overcrowding issue has been delayed far too long and will cost us all more now than it would have 3 years ago when interest rates and building costs were lower.
Penny wise and pound foolish. That's the Naysayers!!!

beyond helping said...

Lets all remember that the 8-9 referendum failed not only because of the vote-no crowd, but because many voters who would normally rubberstamp a school vote did not like the 8-9 concept. They wanted the new high school with bells and whistles and would have voted yes for it. Add into it that the district did a survey that clearly showed that the public wanted to address current needs in small parts. They did not want to be hammered with a mammoth $70 million referendum all at once. So the school board is trying to walk a thin line, get the needed grade school and gain confidence in the board. Yes, the high school will need to be addressed, and the long range plan is in the works. In my mind, the only question is how to get it done. An 8-9 building and keep the current high school but make it 10-12 is by far the most cost effective way to deal with growth. But we do own the perfect spot for a new 9/12 high school out by the soccer fields that everyone seems to want.
I do not see it as a reason to deny the current need. A no vote on this referendum will not get a long range plan any sooner, it will just give energy to the naysayers that will never vote for any spending period. This will leave the new board confused and will start the process all over. We need the momentum.
Also, Growth is not stagnant, Growth was supposed to be stagnant last year and now we have over 300 more students than last year. So where did they come from? Don't be fooled by the for sale signs and forclosures.
Lets get this thing done!

commoninsight said...

Careful with talk of the fund balance as though it is a bad thing. It fluctuates more than my wifes check book. To say that it is fixed at any number is wrong. It has also been building for years, and the people that complain about it most have not paid much in to it and only want it gone so that the board will be starved off, programs cut, quality education lowered. Then guess who will complain about the schools performance. Take a good guess. the same people who never have anything good to say.
Times have changed. Remember that a local business owner and community leader donated the EP Rock property for that school to be built. That was community minded spirit.

CANRAC said...

I think "growth" has ceased in Hudson development wise, "enrollment growth" is still here. While we are not building any new homes right now the people who built or moved here during our "development growth" years now have children of school age. I will agree, lack of housing development or "growth" does not translate into a leveling of enrollment.

beyond helping said...

I think we can all agree that the building boom for residential housing in Hudson has slowed and may even be at a standstill at this time. But there are other indicators to keep an eye on. All the commercial development has rushed to catch up with the population growth. Now we have 10 cofee shops, 7 subsandwich shops and 12 new banks. The waste water treatment plant and street expansion is also lagging behind the recent commercial development and the residential growth of the last five years. This is all gearing to support continued growth. Not as fast as the last 8 years, but steady growth. I don't want to play the "bridge card" but it is amazing how many developers are poised to build between Houlton and North Hudson. Houltons grade school won't have space for long once the bridge is done. I find it humorous that Mayor Jack always speaks of lack of waste water treatment capacity as a tool to slow development, yet can't wait to have his picture taken at the next ribbon cutting ceremony. The key is to project the need and then build to support slightly more than the need, so you don't wish you had built bigger 4 years down the road.
Everyone griped about the "way too big" high school that they built in River Falls. Two years ago, the critics claimed that the taxpayers were saddled with an albatross around their necks that would ruin the city and never be full. I don't think that people feel that history has played out that prophecy. Does River Fall have some exta space now? Sure, it is called slight over capacity and down the road they won't need another referendum. I will hold with my main point and that is that voting NO for a needed grade school just to punish the board for doing what the citizens requested or complained about does not make sense for the community or the students.

CANRAC said...

I've done a little more thinking, while city taxpayers are not the sole supporters of the school district, it plays a big part in it as does North Hudson.

Right now city taxpayers are faced with the school districts needs, not only an elementary school but a high school down the road.

In the past year city residents have been told bonding needs are suddenly over 5 mil. (I believe its 8 but I'm not sure so I'll go with 5). We had a big rain and partial flooding of downtown, we're told by a city staff member that the storm sewers are old and overtaxed due to all the development, there is talk of a storm sewer utility. The city has indicated interest in spending $250,000 in lighting the dike road and building a wall which will raise the levels of the park which frequently flood. Then there is now the end of the dike outhouse reaching estimates of $250,000-$300,000 when it started around $100,000 and was alot simpler. We are hearing the waste treatment plant is nearing capacity and there is a need for expansion of city facilities. And then......there is discussion of a new library. I'm sitting here thinking OK, is this an aftershock of growth and development, or did the city in keeping our mil rate the same for years and years let repairs and needs build up?

So, as a city taxpayer my head is spinning over all the needs of the city, a reassessment which scares the hell out of me (if you research you do find it may not necessarily increase your taxes) and the need for schools. My spouse and I have steady income, one kid left in college but raises have lessened over the years. I'm not against community improvements but on the whole I'm wondering if now that we have all the residents, if the needs will continue to grow and grow, or where will it end? I envy township residents (Troy and Hudson), both units have been pretty fiscal, they are maintained, and when they need groceries, stores, a library, parks, or entertainment they go to the City of Hudson. And as far as Mayor Jacks claims of being fiscal and bringing development to our city, I think it could bite him in the rear end. Let the Chamber whom the city subsidizes in many ways do that crap, the mayor and council need to be watching what impact all the development and growth brings with it.

So, I'm voting no right now, I may vote yes but I just see lack of a plan and as a city resident all this other stuff staring me in the face.

And the real laugh is the big debate the past year coming over stopsigns on Vine Street; the indoor golf place needing a new or different liquor license; stone name signs for the parks. What's wrong with this picture? Apparantly some of the more important issues have been overlooked.

Anonymous said...

Canrac,

I'm sure glad the OTBL's are such idiots, because if they were more like you, they might have a lot more support from this community and we might not be able to pass any referendum, of course, if they were more like you we would probably have more sensible discussions and solutions.

In no way am I agreeing with you, however, you bring some interesting points to the table.

firing back said...

Canrac,

While you do bring up some interesting points, I think you're not putting some of them in perspective.
You cite the dike project at $250,000-$300,000, Ok that's the cost of a below average new house in Hudson. Do you mean to tell me as a community, we can't afford one building that's equal in cost to a new home?
If you want to find some wasteful city spending, how about buying the old hospital site for 1$ million. (correct me if I'm wrong on that figure)?
As for the park signs. I think it's part of a much needed City face lift. These are not super expensive projects when thought of in context of how much they cost all of us. Besides, I'm glad to see something new in Hudson that's not a bank or fast food joint.
When I first moved to Hudson, the only place to shop was Fleet Farm and the first 2 years I saw my property taxes go up 40%. That was scary. Since then, it has actually dropped from it's high point and stayed pretty much steady for years.
What stemmed to hugh rise was the change in state funding to the schools. Changing that formula was an idea Thompson stole from the now disgraced Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chuvla.
What we really need is more State aide to the schools and a reversal of the shift from the property tax burden from big business to residential property owners.
The Wal-Mart distribution center got a huge tax break to build in Wisconsin. Many businesses were given 10 year holidays to bring their businesses to WI, then when the grace period ends they threaten to flee to look for a sweeter deal in someplace like Louisiana, Texas or worse, overseas.
Maybe with a healthy economy and the democrats in better shape in Madison we'll see an improvement in state aide.
The cost of the elementary school is also relatively small. I think it's a much needed community improvement.
I think a Yes vote is necessary if for nothing else to stem the tide of the anti-community naysayers.
We should have taken advantage of the same conditions that created the
housing boom. Low interest rates and cheaper than now building costs. It's only going to get more expensive the longer we wait.
So in a sense you're right when you say we are all going to pay for the Breault kind of fiscal responsibilty. A.K.A procrastination.

beyond helping said...

Good points Canrac. You seem to be a reasonable person that has a history in the community and a willingness to speak your mind. But please don't take all the upcomimg projects and build them into a "perfect storm" against the taxpayers of Hudson. I just can't take all the gloom and doom. I have a vision for a better Hudson and starving off what makes Hudson a great community is not part of that vision. 15 years ago woodbury was experiencing huge growth, had class sizes that were so big parents were pulling their kids and going private, no parks etc. They did what was right and were proactive, built schools and added on to the ones that could be cost effectively added on to, improved parks, built a library, community center etc. Now I take my kids to the indoor Lookout Ridge play area. I pay a fee to use it. That fee helps it stay open and subsidizes the cost. Why can't Hudson do something similar?
Now, I don't want to be just like woodbury but at least they were proactive and fixed the problem.
Lets remember that St. Croix county has one of the higher avg income levels in the state. Why are we always looking at needed projects as a negative? I was at a board meeting when a old guy that lived on lake Mallilue (spelling?) said he was taxed out of his house and had to move, complaining about all the city spending. What I later found out is that the house he paid $50,000 for years ago he also sold for $1,000,000. He now lives in a luxury condo and bought a place in Florida as well. I don't feel that bad for the guy.
Lets deal with the growth canrac, do it in a smart way....but DO IT!

Gavel said...

You can't say the housing boom in Hudson and surrounding areas has SLOWED down. Building in western Wisconsin was at a record pace and now its at a slower pace.

Some people on a certain blog in the St. Croix Valley confuse a drop in the number of building permits issued as an indication that houses are actaully being uprooted and moved out of the area. Not.

Living outside of New Richmond, I saw a tremendous increase of homes being built over the past 5-8 years. Driving three miles in any direction from my house, I would count at least 5 houses under construction. This summer, the number dropped to 2-3 houses and now it has climbed back up to around 5.

Attending a recent meeting where a member of the St. Croix County discussed population trends in the county, he pointed out that there are 3-4 different population projects for the county of the next decade and, if these projects hold with history, all those projects will be low.

Maybe the school districts around need to get more creative with the distrcit configurations? Maybe the Houlton school needs to belong to Somerset? Maybe Roberts belongs in Hudson? Maybe Hammond belongs in Baldwin?

However, these are also political fifedoms where change won't happen without a fight. If you consolidate school districts, superintendents lose their jobs. There are interesting challenges in education management ahead and I don't see much push for creative solutions. In fact, I see push back for such ideas like school vouchers and open enrollment and yearround school options. Education doesn't equal creativity.

CANRAC said...

You bring up an interesting point about Woodbury. What I would ask you to do it compare their impact fees vs. Hudson's, you will see why they have the things they do. They assess impact fees for trails, and then parks. Ours are much lower. They basically impact fee many items and people have paid it. There is a perception that impact fees push development away, I disagree.

For as much criticism as they get on their development(I do think their retail areas are a disaster traffic wise), Wisconsin cities are light years behind the Twin City burbs in amnenties and community facilities, one reason being the difference impact fee structures.

I feel that we need to improve, I feel we need to progress. I don't think it can all be done at once, how do we prioritize our needs?

Kowboy Kurt said...

Gavel:

Wake up and smell the bacon! Do you actually believe what you wrote? Your comments are about as deep and well-formed as a fresh cowpie!

Anonymous said...

See why OTBL has no credibility...CW!?

Kowboy Kurt said...

By "CW," do you mean conventional wisdom?

Anonymous said...

No, Cowpie Wipe....

still waiting said...

beyond helping says: "Yes, the high school will need to be addressed, and the long range plan is in the works."

That statement is incorrect. The Hudson school board and administration have stated many times that they are not working in any way, shape or form on a long-range plan for the high school at this time. In fact, they flat-out refuse to even discuss it.

I, for one, believe that is poor master-planning on their part. This community deserves a board that takes this high school problem seriously and starts looking at it.

cub said...

If it weren't for the OTBL crowd they would be looking at it. These folks are single handedly destroying a community. The board has to say they aren't looking at it so they can but a paltry 12.5 million dollar referendum on the ballot. Once the school supporters gain some momentum you will see the planning come forward but these people stop at nothing until they get their tax dollars going toward private education.

Anonymous said...

Cub:

You're seem to be bitter. If the school district has $20 million is "Rainy-slush day" fund and an elementary school costs $12.5 million, why not just building SOB and live with a $7.5 million slush fund?

CANRAC said...

I think you give the OTBL crowd too much credit. Hudson has survived "Concerned Citizens For Lower Taxes" in the 80's who blew alot of smoke and did nothing, and the infamous CCRD who had hookers on every street corner if the dog track went in. OTBL has lost support and votes for various reasons, they could actually provide better work to their cause(?) if they were smarter, this obviously isn't the case. Their habit of immature conduct at public meetings; personnel attacks; using opinion as fact when it is not fact; unfounded allegations or claims which are never proven; using testimony of experts and not providing it; and not offering an open debate on information turns people away. I could go on but I think most of you know what I refer to.

And really, the so called "OTBL" bunch doesn't really bother me, offend me, or even sway my opinion. I can make my own decisions, and if I think information is twisted or tainted, I don't use it. And lastly, blogging is basically unregulated and people have the right to give an opinion whether you agree or disagree, I'm OK with that too. Actually I find some of the rantings hilarious, but I'm awfully sick of my cousin Carnac.

Down On Main Street said...

Should we as citizens be concerned with getting lower taxes, since we are getting lower pay? You guys have a post or two about that on this blog. Maybe you guys don't work well divergent pieces of information, but if the paychecks are flat, the cost of health insurance is up and the taxes are going up, shouldn't we as taxpayers have a right to bitch. Maybe we all have to do more with less. Maybe it's time to eliminate extracirricular activities at the school expense. Got any clue on what all that costs us taxpayers with the stangnant wages?

Or are these post done by different departments in your blog burueacracy that don't talk to each other?

CANRAC said...

Kind of my point, seems like there are alot of needs and not enough funding. We can't do everything and as a taxpayer/voter I need to decide what to support and what not to support.

The dike restroom facility has become an amazing example of government, engineering costs, and I don't know what else. It has suddenly gone to $500,000 which even with a Rotary $50,000 donation and a $100,000 another $350,000 of tax money needs to be coughed up.

I'd like to suggest they build a nice building with partitioned spaces, install porta potties in the spaces, and have them pumped out daily. Porta potties worked fine on the end of the dike in the past, they were pulled due to vandalism in being tipped over. They could be anchored with the mentioned partitions. Desirable to some?? Maybe not, but then again most users aren't choosy out there.

priorities said...

The argument could be made that only the wealthy boat owners would use the restrooms anyway, why should we pay for it? But I don't want junk.
For the people who complain about stagnant wages, that could be blaimed upon the wal-Mart / six sigma mentality that has taken over. When my wages became stagnant, I took it as a sign to re-evaluate my employment situation. I changed jobs, opened up a new opportunity for income growth and there you have it. I want good schools AND nice parks AND a clean vibrant and positive community to live in. I will not complain about every penny spent. I have more important things to do. When my taxes become the all consuming focal point of my life, it will be time for some therapy. Some of the biggest complainers in this town are also some of the biggest reasons why improvements never happen or are stripped to resemble garbage. My advice: Be happy, work hard, paint your trim, mow your lawn and pay the taxes that compared to other suburbs like ours is not out of line.
If I come to the point where I can't raise and support my family and live in Hudson, well.... There is always Baldwin, spring valley etc. And if I move there, I will be just as happy because life is what you make it.

firing back said...

Main Street said:

"Should we as citizens be concerned with getting lower taxes, since we are getting lower pay? You guys have a post or two about that on this blog. Maybe you guys don't work well divergent pieces of information, but if the paychecks are flat, the cost of health insurance is up and the taxes are going up, shouldn't we as taxpayers have a right to bitch.

Or are these post done by different departments in your blog burueacracy that don't talk to each other?"



Main street,

I think we are all feeling the same pinch, but are blaming different villains for the problem. I think most on this blog see the taxcuts aimed primarily at the top 5% and the out of control spending at the federal level that's nothing but political payback as our villains.
If those who are profiting from the infrastucture and other advantages our country gives us, why shouldn't they pay their fair share. There's no doubt that the current administration's policies shift the burden from the wealthy toward the middle class.
You guys just look out your back window, see the school board taking some of your money and start swinging. At the same time you're supporting the very people that are sticking it too you in Washington.

Anonymous said...

Concerning Priorities comment on wealthy boaters using the dike pavillion. I notice most of those yellow YES signs are post in some above average looking houses. Some of those houses have nice speedboats parked out front. Porta potties do work fine on the dike. They are simple and cheap to replace when the vandals him.

What is the "six/sigma" mentality that Priorities talks about?

Mainstreet said...

I saw an interesting letter in the current HSO paper by Lori Bernard, the chairman of the St. Croix County Republican Party, questioning all the extra curricular activies involved with public/government education. Activities like sports and music. She also questioned the need for swimming pools and libraries and, as a true conservative, she was pointing out the success of the one-room school house where her grandmother taught.

She makes a good point. Why should I pay for kids to play football or flutes after school? Doesn't the Y have a pool that could be used for high school sports? There's a town library. Why duplicate services? These things all add building, maintenance, insurance and staffing costs. I'm huriting at home.

Mellow Yellow said...

Hey Mainstreet...

Did you go to a one room school house?
Just a reminder, in case you weren't told yet. It's the 21st Century!

I'll bet your school had a football team. This writer failed to mention the $30 fee every student pays for each sport they participate in.

Wouldn't kids just love school more if all they did was go to class and study. Extra Curricular activities help build more rounded citizens. It's part of education.
What baffles me is the WWII generation wanted to make life better for the next generation. Now that they have, that generation wants to be the first generation to see their offspring worse off than themselves. So far they're succeeding. I guess that's what it means to do better.

Mainstreet said...

The high school I went to did have a football. etc. team. I didn't play, because I worked after school. 35 years ago there were also participation fees. $30 a sport? What's that, four hours of work a Wal-mart? What's $30 cover? A mouthgaurd?

You seem to miss the point. I didn't say we couldn't have these extracirricular activities. I said that we privatize them and let parents pay or kids earn the money to pay to play.

You say it's part of education. Well I would admit that it's worked its way into the agenda. Maybe it's time to work it out of the agenda?

priorities said...

Anonymous,
Regarding yellow signs on "Above average" houses. Your class envy is old and tired. I have heard of your jealous comments about everyone who doesn't agree with you. If your house on Cedar street is not nice enough, get a job and buy a nicer one. It must really baffle you that people can work, earn a living, buy a comfortable home, be a good community booster and pay taxes and STILL BE HAPPY.

Six Sigma is a mathematical formula bean counters use which basically forces suppliers to lowere their costs by 5% a year, every year to infiniti. It encourages suppliers to add efficiencies (which is good) and show lower costs to the buyer. The bad part is that at some point the supplier can't reduce costs anymore, so no matter how good the supplier is, they fall out of favor with said buyer. It has ruined many American companies and has been used as a tool to move manufacturing to China.

Low prices always said...

Geeze, Six Sigma sounds just like Wal-Mart, and Menard's.

Lean Man said...

I've never heard of six sigma used in the context explained above. It is generally associated with quality control as in parts per million. If you improve product and process quality, you can reduce costs and have a competitive advantage.

Defined:
A method or set of techniques, Six Sigma has also become a movement focused on business process improvement. It is a quality measurement and improvement program originally developed by Motorola that focuses on the control of a process to the point of ± six sigma (standard deviations) from a centerline, or put another way, 3.4 defects per million items. A Six Sigma systematic quality program provides businesses with the tools to improve the capability of their business processes. ...
www.theaccountspayablenetwork.com/html/modules.php

A rigorous and disciplined methodology that utilizes data and statistical analysis to measure and improve a company s operational performance, practices and systems. Six Sigma identifies and prevents defects in manufacturing and service-related processes. In many organizations, it simply means a measure of quality that strives for near perfection.*
www.dmreview.com/resources/glossary.cfm

A 'measure of goodness' involving the application of statistical methods to business processes to improve operating efficiency, reduce variation, avoid defects and reduce waste
www.industryforum.co.uk/glossary.htm

a failure rate of 3.4 parts per million or 99.9997%...
thequalityportal.com/glossary/s.htm

A process improvement methodology created by Mikel Harry and Richard Schroeder at Motorola in the early 1980's. The approach employs a rigorous project methodology, which utilizes statistical analysis to identify root causes. As a process measure, it means 3.4 defects per million opportunities.
www.ketch.ca/resources_glossary.html

priorities said...

OK lean man, Thanks for the textbook definition. Worded the right way, Marlboro's lawyers made smoking sound pretty harmless too.
To say that six sigma stops at being a product quality and efficiency tool to equal lower costs just does not go far enough. By costs, we are talking the manufacturers costs related to its resulting margins of profit, but what goes into that? When a company following six sigma reaches the point where thier own continued improvements in efficiencies slow, they then encourage vendors to follow which the vendors of course do until they can't without cutting their margins but do to keep the business. An example would be Fords frame supplier a few years ago. Ford did not want to cut their margins after they stopped realizing internal cost savings so they kept forcing the frame supplier to cut costs so ford could say they were still hitting the goals. The frame company finally balked and said that they could no longer afford to sell to Ford and not make a profit. Six sigma was the backbone of that negotiation. Lean man left out the resulting cost connection.
From my personal experience with a large Maplewood based corporate headquarters as an example Six sigma was used in a good way at first and I am not saying that six sigma in principal is bad. I am all for continuous improvement and investment in new ways to increase efficiencies. The problem is that companies get drunk on the early results and assume the cost reductions should keep that level of gain to infinity, that coupled with the reverse auction (which is a whole story on its own) has had terrible results on American companies. Many vendors are offered contracts that demand up to 5% cost reductions per year. Do the math. This is way off the topic of this thread, Maybe I was stretching a little to bring it up.
I hope lean man can accept some of what I have written.

Lean Man said...

Priorities:

What are you suggesting, that companies push for contracts that call for 5 percent increases in costs?

In case you haven't noticed, all companies are experiments. Trends and ideas take root and the winds of change and necessity swing the pendulum in one direct until a tipping point is hit and then things start swing to other way.

If you lose you job because of a company policy, you can get mad and kill yourself or get mad and go find another job. What recourse does the company have if you walk in there Monday morning and say "I quit today." But a company can't tell you you are out of a job in three months. Hypocrisy!!!

priorities said...

Lean man,
Read my earlier comments about about my own situation with stagnant wages. Don't try to put me in a box, it will bite you in the ass.