In Moore County, as I am sure it is in your county, THIS story is getting way too old:
With Moore County Schools’ dire budgetary straits and ever-stricter state mandates threatening arts programs and athletics, parents and teachers are circling the wagons.[…]
Notice how the fat salaries and benefits at the county administrative office never get threatened during “dire budgetary straits”?
Every year, we hear about “dire budgetary straits” in our public school system. Local edu-crats go to our local driveby media, which dutifully take dictation while said educrats pine about how the heartless county commissioners are killing the hope and dreams of our young people seeking a decent education. And every year, we find out how full of crap a lot of that pining and whining is.
In April 2015, we found out that Moore County schools were not getting their fair share of state lottery proceeds. Hard questions could be asked of our legislators — who all currently serve in the majority of their respective chambers. (During the 2016 state House primary, we learned that our House members sat idly by while our share of state sales tax money, meant for schools, went elsewhere.) But no — the SOP appears to be to simply scare the parents and shake the taxpayers down for more money.
I am of the belief that you could empty out every checking, retirement / savings account of every county resident and the educrats would STILL be moaning about not having enough money.
Consider this nugget from 2011 when the educrats went before the county commissioners whining about “dire budgetary straits”:
[…] According to county records, the number of students enrolled in Moore County Public Schools has only seen a net gain of 200 since 2006-2007. Yet, county spending on the school system has increased from $26 million in 2006-2007 to $32 million for 2011-2012. […]
A net gain of 200 students over FOUR years. A SIX MILLION DOLLAR increase in spending over the same period. And they want more and more and more.
Here the educrats are again in 2013, claiming “dire budgetary straits” while their own internal documents showed they had been OVERFUNDED by $12 million over four years.
Here is the 2014 version of the SAME sob story.
During these same “dire budgetary straits,” the school system is going on the hook for a brand new honors high school.
Here’s how things work for funding our schools. Your county commissioners are obligated for facilities and other significant capital improvements. The state is responsible for personnel costs. School leaders ask for a big pot of money every year, and can spend it however they want. If they play fast and loose, and come up a little short, they can simply go to the driveby media and holler about the politicians on the county board and in the General Assembly. *Not having accountability is NICE, eh?*
In your county offices, there are assistant superintendents for EVERYTHING under the sun. They all make six figures and have sweet benefit packages. And few, if any of them, make a damn bit of difference in the education of your children. You could furlough half of them and no one would notice the difference.
In Moore County, instead of playing the annual shake-down-the-taxpayers game, why not fight to get our sales tax and lottery money from Raleigh? If our current legislative team — all members of the majority — can’t seem to get it done, let’s find some new leaders who CAN.
I like the idea espoused earlier by Senate president Phil Berger about changing the school budgeting process to include more specifics that local leader have to stick by. Budget like you do in your family or how you would in a private business. Make local leaders actually be accountable for the spending decisions they make.
At the local level, we need to find less-sycophantic school board members who do more independent thinking and a lot less rubber-stamping of what the central office edu-crats put before them. These people are spending our money. You’re elected to watch it all for us.
Continuing to throw money at something is NEVER a good idea. We all want the best for our kids. But shouldn’t we be focusing as much, if not more, on the quality of the public schools operations and end product as we do on the size of the system’s appropriation?