Thursday, March 30, 2006 6:53 PM
8 Comments »
How can a proposal for the city to help pay for the school system be labeled as broad-minded? Only if broad-minded now includes stupid ideas.
City and county money comes from the same place- property taxes. If the city paid for the school system it would come out of the exact same pockets, than if the county commission paid for it. It would be of absolutely no benefit to the citizens of Raleigh if the city paid for school construction. In that case, the citizens of Raleigh would be subsidizing the rest of the county. That’s not fair. Shouldn’t Raleigh’s city council look out for its taxpayers…not Apex or Zebulon’s?
And if the rest of Wake County paid a proportional share to what Raleigh paid- the effect would be the exact same as a tax increase in line with the bond proposals.
If you listened to Mayor Meeker at all during the campaign, you would know that he is fully aware of the school construction crisis our county is facing. This is a time where the county and city should work together to help each other. Perhaps the city can help make land available for schools or help with infrastructure costs. But simply shifting school construction bills from one body to another does no good for anybody.
This “proposal” is simply a political ploy to make it appear as if the mayor and his allies don’t care about education. It is a shame that Councilors Taliaferro and Kekas went along with it and you should know better too.
If anyone cares about education they should get involved with the bond proposals and do their darndest to get them passed. If Philip Isley and Tommy Craven care about so much education, then they should come out in favor of at least one of the bonds right now.
Comment by Justin — January 19, 2006 @ 12:15 pm
Yes Gary there are a lot of lefties in Raleigh.
Too bad there are no liberal or progressive radio shows in Raleigh.
Comment by Spitfire — January 19, 2006 @ 2:34 pm
If Democrats would drop their reactionary and short-sighted opposition to lifting the cap on charter schools there would soon be no school construction crisis.
Comment by Jim Stegall — January 19, 2006 @ 4:45 pm
I’ll be voting “NO” on the all but certain WCPSS multi billion dollar bond request(s), thanks just the same, and I’ll venture to guess this WCPSS tax bill/bond issue/taxpayer screwing by whatever name or means will go down in flames. I’ll give you what I consider to be strong reasons why there will be such a backlash.
First, there is just too much wasted funding already. The transportation scandal was just the tip of the iceberg. People are tired of paying more, only to see it squandered. Add to that that every new tax dollar collected first goes to fund new programs, add more bloat to the administration, and put more toys into the toychest of WCPSS’s playthings. Students continue to receive only what falls off the plate of this politcally obese school system.
Secondly, the WCPSS is, and has been for an extended period of time, arrogant. Any and all suggestions, other than from themselves and their “experts”, are being relegated to the “disregard” pile. People I know and talk to are pretty well past the PO’d point, and have basically now taken to the position that they will simply quit trying, and make them pay at the polls. This is the voice of lost confidence, in the system and those who run it. This is the same sound that went unheard a few years back when they requested a billion dollars, and were likewise defeated. Their confidence in themseves saw them celebrating victory weeks before the first poll ever opened, and even as the numbers came in, only to get that “deer in the headlights” look when they discovered the vote had gone against them. They went about shaking their collective heads for months in puzzlement after that one. Well, guess what, here it comes again.
I also feel the proponents of growth, density, and developers have hit this brick wall, with annexation being a very hot topic that is about to spill over into the denial of funding to various projects and programs. WCPSS is one of the more monolithic examples of what’s going wrong, and there is a very strong feeling that Goliath needs to listen. I think voters are about to speak softly, and beat WCPSS with a very sharp stick!
Wake County spent $6,722 in 2003-04 PPE, and less than 21 percent of all private schools charged more than $5,000 per year in tuition, well….you do the math. Now, about that billion dollar bond issue we’re in such dire need of…? How is it that only 21 percent of private schools charge more than $5000 PPE, yet they end up with such a superior product? We’re about to double that, and can’t seem to even put a dent in the constantly being revised “95% of kids at grade level” goal. We’re headed in a direction where we’re going to go from 15% utilization of our school facilities to even less than that, while still accepting that 5% or better of the kids graduating can’t even read! Thank God for unionized education, I don’t know if we could survive as a society without it!
And as for all the other suggestions I and others have made to better the situation, it’s the WCPSS stiff arm, they smell money, and the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign has been hung.
As for the proponents “facts” of more than 90% of other schools being better financed than WCPSS? Of 117 schools systems in 2003-04, Orange county ranked 20th in per pupil expenditures (7771), Durham County ranked 23rd (7589), Wake was 63rd (6722), Chatham was 35th (7274), and Chapel Hill-Carrboro was 8th (9106). Seems that even using the figures claimed by WCPSS advocates, poor funding is sensationalism…. part of what’s wrong with the arguments for more schools and more funding already. As far as being OK with me if we’re funding at exactly the median for the state….uh, yes! And given doing more with what’s given, instead of wasting it, I’d say you need to rethink your Key Performance Indicators, how many businesses can you think of that reward their associates for how much they spend! Yet WCPSS advocates a new “nuclear arms race” for money in education and the M.A.D. philosophy that, if “they” have it, “we” have to have what “they” have plus one more, or “we’re falling behind”. The question that’s not even being asked is “How many megatons of money does it take to educate a kid?”
What specific potential ideas could save money while increasing the effectiveness of WCPSS, but that are currently “off the radar screen”?
1) Year round schools - we don’t need the summers off to tend the farm, as best I can tell.
2) Utilize and maximize e-learning opportunities. There are also the options, very much in use in the business world, of such interactive programs as WebEx and Sametime, saving huge amounts of cash in both transportation and infrastructure costs, for example).
3) An annual review of all non-teaching WCPSS positions for renewal or elimination, based on the needs of the kids.
4) Stop busing, and start using local neighborhood schools for local neighborhoods
5) Initiate a WCPSS Citizens Budget Review, along the lines of Mike Joyners Cary Citizen budget review, with a charter to emphasize innovation and efficiency of operation.
6) In the technology arena, no more computer purchases. PERIOD. Leased equipment only, with a vendor selection process, (see item 5 above), using the group discounts from the selected vendor based on value, cost, and support provided under one County wide plan (just like every business I know of).
7) WCPSS should be required to publish KPI’s, to show the community how EFFECTIVE it has been each month/quarter, not in FUNDRAISING, but in FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT. In this case, spending LESS to achieve goals is better, as opposed to the present policy of rewarding HIGHER spending.
8) Set a limit on how many permits for new home construction will be issued, based on available infrastucture at the time of the request. As the number of homes being built (demand) goes up, and existing housing becomes less available (supply), the value of each unit goes up, raising the property taxes on properties that have accrued value for their owners (equity), while producing more taxable income for schools (revenue). If other communities want to overwhelm themselves with cheap 3500 s/f homes on .15 acre lots that do little to generate revenue, and expand endlessly into the treeline, so be it! Perhaps we could sweeten this pot a little with some tax incentivews to those communities that put such practices in place! Woe to those that do not!
9) Let’s check for legal residency. Many of those who are getting the free lunch need to get their educations back in Mexico, or else get a passport!
10) Stop the charade of any “Blue Ribbon” committees….we already know what they want, and it’s found in our wallets…
11) Adopt a “Citizens Watch” group for the solicitation and evaluation of suggestions, cost savings, and fraud oversight. If the record industry can have such groups to stop software piracy, why can’t we have such a group to stop school funds piracy?
12) Extend the school day – getting out at 2:30 +/- in the afternoon is a true waste
13) The elimination of ESL programs for illegal aliens are certainly on the minds of voters, but not on the table of WCPSS topics for discussion. Building more schools for increased enrollments, while doing nothing to ensure illegals are sent back to Mexico is certainly an issue that will grow in importance.
Comment by Daryl Baker — January 20, 2006 @ 11:10 am
PPE is much higher in a growing public school district like Wake County because so much money has to go into infrastructure (i.e. building) costs. But most private schools already have their buildings paid for and capped enrollment, so there will be no need for new buildings.
Comment by Justin — January 20, 2006 @ 12:17 pm
Gary, there are two problems with your thesis:
1) cities have no legal authority to expend money to construct schools, (whether from property taxes, hotel/motel taxes, or meals taxes) so the city council could not do what you have asked.
2) why would it make ANY sense for city taxpayers (who already pay their proportionate share of county property tax funds to retire debt service on school bonds) to have their city property taxes used to also build schools (most of which are being built outside the Raleigh city limits)? This would seem to me both a bad idea AND bad politics for city officials.
Comment by Gerry — January 21, 2006 @ 12:11 pm
I’m amazed by all of the school “experts” out there. I’ve flown on a plane before, but wouldn’t dream of telling the pilot how to fly the plane. Nor would I encourage the airline to cut a few mechanic positions just so that I wouldn’t have to pay as much. It seems as though the arrogance lies with those who think they know everything about schools simply because they attended one.
Oh, speaking of “facts”, collective bargaining is not legal in North Carolina, so education is not (and never has been) unionized. Lucky for your wallet, too.
Comment by James — February 2, 2006 @ 8:27 pm
Collective bargaining IS legal in North Carolina, but LEAs (Local Eduaction Agencies) are not allowed to engage in it. Of course, that doesn’t stop the NCAE (North Carolina Association of Educators) from using political clout financed by member dues to warp education policy to its benefit–and against the interests of our children.
Comment by Jim Stegall — February 3, 2006 @ 10:35 pm