Sunday, February 17, 2013

More Local Budget Commentary

Last night, I posted some initial thoughts about the manufactured school budget mess.  Today, I'm relieved to find out that I'm not the only one that thinks that the County Commission is pulling a fast one.

Take a look at this post from Steve Ross.  Sometime political candidate, longtime political student and blogger - he's doing some good work.  He prefers big picture political stuff, but we should be glad he took a look at our local school budget process.

Mr. Ross makes some important points that I'm still thinking about.  Mr. Ross tells us that this budget is premature - regardless - because the state hasn't yet told us what they'll be paying, or what Shelby County must pay - and those real numbers will be available in the next couple of months.  Good point, and firm revenue plans and requirements are, of course, critical to the process.  The exercise is academic at this point in the calendar year based on the state's process.  Even if preliminary line item budgets are available, they can only be preliminary until we start to see the finalized revenue process that takes place at the state level.

Mr. Ross also tells us that the proposed budget for next year is actually $200 million LESS than it was last year.  I'm paying attention now, and am interested in the underlying numbers that got Mr. Ross to that conclusion.  If only we had some actual numbers to look at from the School Board.  I think it could be right just based on the projected loss of revenue from the state due to the ASD, and what the district is expecting for increases in charter enrollment.  It seems high to me, but that statement is a shot in the arm to a public discussion that's entirely focused on the supposed irresponsibility of a School Board asking for irresponsible increases in funding.

We need these commentaries to fully discuss these important issues (and prioritize expenditures and cuts) - send them along as you see them.

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