Tuesday, June 24, 2008

State Lege to Schools- Maybe, Kinda, Sorta

I was delighted when I first heard the Lege was intending on giving an increase to most communities in the form of more school aid. I was a heckuva lot less delighted when I understood all the and's, if's, and but's.

Your schools will get the extra funds IF slot machines pay off as expected when as of yet they have not been doing so. The Council could award the school some of the extra funds out of their budget & then asked to be reimbursed, but I'm not sure that can be legally done.

What's this mean then for schools? You can't actually include these monies as revenues because you may never get them. You can't actually use them to balance your budget NOW. So what do you do with maybe monies? Not a darn thing until you actually have them in hand. A sad way to fund schools when you've actually mandated just about everything about them. Schools matter, then. But only if you hit the lucky numbers. So please, play those slots! Your kids future may depend upon it.

It's better than nothing, I suppose. But maybe not. Balancing the State Budget on the backs of kids, seniors, & and poor families- that's the best that we can do? Thanks to the federal gov't, too, who helped put us in this mess.

This weekend I heard an economist suggest that we need to start throwing monies out to solve our energy problem & perhaps enact a new Manhattan project. Energy- yes; education-no. Just mandates & punishments. Heaven forbid actually spending on education. And since education costs by their very nature primarily consist of labor costs... well, you know the rest.

I've had several residents with kids in school & various school personnel speaking to me lately regarding the current town school budget shortfall which I've written about previously. I'm no longer hearing complaints on teacher salaries, nor even benefits. The biggest complaint is that while there are no more reading teachers, various programs have been cut, and many staff laid-off, the administration stays the same. Actually, not even that- it's being added to. I've written about this before- ALL administrators belong for a period of time every week IN the classroom. It serves as a reminder of why they are there.

Parents/teachers need to actively find candidates on ALL levels, make their concerns known, and SUPPORT those candidates. Support them not just with votes, but money & time. NOW IS THE TIME. If you don't fight for them, who will? Good schools are good for everyone.
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