Moral Monday meets the Moore County School Board

mcslogoIt’s a  sad statement about the current state of public education when the person responsible for administering our local school system has such a poor grasp on reality.

Moore County Schools superintendent Aaron Spence  led a successful effort this week  to pass a resolution condemning the state budget approved by the North Carolina General Assembly:


“I can’t begin to express how disappointed I am in the 2013 legislative session (which) has been decried from sources as varied as Education Week, the editorial board of the New York Times (and others) as one of the worst sessions ever for public education in any state,” said Moore County Schools Superintendent Aaron Spence in his monthly address to the board.

Hmmm.  The New York Times.  A leftist little-read money-bleeding rag based hundreds of miles from the borders of Moore County and North Carolina.  Education Week — a web site for career bureaucrats in public education. Okay. A show of hands — anyone out there giving a rip?  (Anyone?  Bueller?) MORE: 

“This session includes much that causes concern for K-12 public education,” he said. “For example, we’ve seen an expansion of charter school options … that will weaken the state board of education’s authority. We’ve seen the inclusion of vouchers for private schools to begin with $10 million in funding in 2014-15, and we’ve simultaneously seen a significant reduction in state funding for Moore County Schools, including the reduction of funding for textbooks, instructional materials and teacher assistants.

“Even as we’re placing a greater burden on our teachers, we’ve seen the elimination of supplements for advanced degrees for teachers and the continued refusal to find a way to give our teachers a raise.”

Spence said the state now “ranks near the bottom in the nation” in teacher pay, “making it more and more difficult to attract qualified teachers” to classrooms.

“In my estimation, these ‘reforms’ do not reflect a true effort to make our schools better,” he said. “Nonetheless, we will continue to provide the highest level of service to our children knowing that the people of Moore County fully support their schools and expect our very best every day.”

First of all — the state budget spends $400 MILLION more than last year.

Reduction of funding for textbooks, instructional materials, and teacher assistants? .  State legislators and county commissioners appropriate lump sums to the school systems.  Bureaucrats at the state Department of Public Instruction and the Moore County Schools offices make the decisions about which specific line items get funded.  If you’re angry about there not being enough money for textbooks, go see Aaron.  It’s his fault. 

More difficult to attract qualified teachers?  Really? Wake County Schools recently had 250 applicants for ONE opening.

Teacher pay?  The legislature sets a base for teacher pay.  Local systems appropriate pay supplements above and beyond that base.  Not happy with teacher pay in Moore County?  Go see Aaron Spence, Ed Dennison & co. over at the Moore County Schools office.  It’s their fault. 

This is not the first time we’ve caught Spence playing fast and loose with the truth.  He’s gone before the county board of commissioners belly-aching about how he and his staff are running a shoe-string operation.  Teachers were going to get laid off, we were told.  Educational programs were going to be cut, we were told.  We busted Spence by pointing out — using his own internal records — that he has $12 million sitting in the bank.  (What I could do with $12 ,million sitting in the bank …) 

I talked with one of my top county government moles who tells me that the antics of Spence and his sock puppet — School board chairman Ed Dennison — are really starting to wear thin:

“These guys run to the paper, to the Rotary Clubs, to the chamber, claiming they don’t have enough money.  That they’re going to have to fire some teachers.  For the past four years, they’ve ended the year with a two to three million dollar surplus.  Spence has got a couple million stashed away in his budget for ‘future innovations.’  Nobody knows what those are, but he’s got money set aside for it.

Use THAT money to pay for what you need.  Why try to squeeze more money out of the county’s taxpayers during a tough economy?”

My county government source tells me Spence and Dennison are lobbying for a school bond issue — which basically asks the voters to increase their own taxes:

“If these guys manage to get what they want — it could increase taxes on every Moore County resident by twenty percent.  We don’t need more taxes.  We need smarter management of the people’s money.”

Somewhere — between bites of cheeseburger — Bill Barber is smiling in approval over this scam.