You would think that for all their college degrees and the fact that they’re teaching our children, school administrators would be an intelligent bunch.
I’m kind of wondering, though, due to the stories I’ve been reading about all the school budget workshops and meetings, if that really is the case.
The state’s education system got rocked when Gov. Andrew Cuomo told every single school district in the state that they’re getting less money due to statewide belt tightening. Every school district locally has been told that they’ll be getting less state aid next year than they did this year.
Of course, the school boards have done their obligatory whining, which I would expect. Then they dug in deep and cut programs and salaries, like they need to. Or, at least that’s what they said they’ll have to do. But not before almost every school district said they’d be digging into their reserves in order to preserve as much as possible.
This is the part that confounds me ... the digging into the district reserves, also known as the “rainy day fund.” It seems like their thought process is if they can just get through this year, everything will be OK and they can go back to taxing and spending and hire all the teachers back and restore all the programs, etc.
Except, my understanding is that this isn’t a matter of it being a rainy day. This is the way things are now. The state is not going to pony up as much money as it has been because of the dire financial straits it is in. And next year, the cuts may be deeper, even.
I know I said previously that I thought it cheap that Cuomo’s two best ideas for saving money were a property tax cap and a limit on superintendent’s salaries. That still remains true. But many of the correspondences I’ve gotten in the past week pointed out — and correctly so — that school districts are out of touch with reality.
One prime example last week came to me from a friend of mine, who happens to serve on a school board. This friend advised me that two of her school board colleagues had suggested that they jack taxes up as high as they can get away with this year, before the property tax cap becomes a mandate.
Because obviously the answer to all our prayers is higher taxes.
I pointed out that these were school board members, right? The smart ones. The ones running the show. The ones deciding how our children should be educated.
If the high taxes don’t get you, the rampant stupidity will.