Is education about learning or jobs—or politics? Actually, it’s become more about the politics of money; taxpayer’s, that is. A recent Wilmington StarNews print article emphasizes the point. Headline: “Schools face budget uncertainties.” Subhead: “Education Jobs bill ends, leads to funding cut.” (link)
Please spare us the tragic news. Schools never face budget uncertainties. In fact, they invariably get more cash to expand the education empires. As to the federal Jobs Bill loot accepted by school boards in three local counties (that amounted to an “extra $187 per student”) last budget year, I have two questions:
Where was that money spent? Did it directly benefit the student learning process? And, why did the Southeastern N. C. school boards take the funds knowing they would be only temporary? That action seems to me irresponsible.
The StarNews reporter apparently didn’t ask those questions. But the public deserves to know how its money is spent; and why. Of course, government officials want to hide that information.
The phony federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (for “shovel-ready” jobs) did nothing to gain a financial return or other benefit. However it did “endow with authority or power” (definitions of the word “invest”). And it did nothing to recover or return anything to normal (definitions of the word “recover”). It did put all of us deeper in debt.
It also gave local bureaucrats and politicians a pretext to claim budget “cuts” and demands for more spending because of a “big funding loss statewide,” as the news report puts it.
According to the StarNews story, New Hanover County funneled $219.3 million through its massive school maze this past budget year. We county residents got the bill for 28 percent or 61.8 million. Budgeteers want us to pony up $1.5 million more this coming year. About half of that amount will be spent to increase employee health and retirement benefits.
The school district also requested $750,000 to continue a project called “wireless schools initiative.” In addition these people want to add three new administrative positions.
Does anyone believe that this increased spending will result in better educated students? Call me as a skeptic on that.
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