Facts can be inconvenient things. Especially when your own in-house records contradict the spin you are peddling to the public.
Moore County schools superintendent Aaron Spence and the members of the county school board have been all over the place — local radio, speaking before local groups, getting interviewed in our
thrice weekly, um, twice-weekly Nobel Prize winning local paper — moaning about “draconian cuts” to education from the state, those mean and stingy county commissioners, and how those two factors are endangering the futures of our children.
Well, let’s cut through all of the hyperbole and look at the facts of the case — starting with the Moore County Public Schools’ own financial data. This spreadsheet shows that state funding for the Moore County school system in 2012-2013 is right about where it was in 2008-2009. So, where are these draconian cuts Spence & co. are hollering about?
Look at THIS SPREADSHEET. If you look at the bottom of the linked spreadsheet, you will see a row shaded in yellow. THAT shows the variation between what the school system was given, and what they actually used. According to this school system document, Moore County Public Schools have been overfunded to the tune of roughly $12 million for the last four years. The bottom line? The edu-crats and the school board have regularly asked the county to give them millions more than they have actually needed.
Spence & co. have railed about how the county has apparently been showing a lack of interest in funding the school system’s technology initiatives. Look at THIS spreadsheet. Scroll down to the line item categorized (PRC column) 015. Technology funding for 2012-2013 was actually a little higher than it was in 2008-2009.
One of my well-placed county government moles has expressed some frustration with Spence’s PR campaign:
“It’s one thing to go out there and demand that the taxpayers buy you a bunch of iPads. As far as anyone knows, there is no curriculum in place to supplement all of these new toys. At the very least, he and the rest of the folks at the central office owe it to the taxpayers to couple that demand for iPads and other new technology with an actual plan — a curriculum — to justify the expense. ”
There’s one more thing the school board and the school system edu-crats owe the taxpayers of Moore County: some straight talk. It’s become pretty clear that we can’t county on our elected school board, or our local paper, to keep an eye on public finances — ensuring that politicos’ words match the facts.