First Posted: 4/15/2009
If officials in Raleigh continue on their present path, nearly every student in North Carolina will get every parents dream a private education.
That is because Raleigh keeps taking so much money from the local school systems they can scarcely be called publicly-funded institutions.
OK, thats a gross exaggeration, but it does illustrate that spending in Raleigh has been absolutely out of control in recent years, and now with tight economic times those in power are taking money from everyone and everything, including the school systems.
Imagine if your employer came to you and demanded you give back part of your last two or three paychecks. Were not talking about cutting your pay going forward, but essentially taking back money youve already been paid.
That is roughly akin to what is happening in our school systems. State officials have required, again, that local school systems give money back. Its gotten so tight that state officials have said little more than teacher salaries can be paid. Any other expenses cant be paid from state funding, and any money the school systems already have budgeted for other expenditures must be returned.
This is simply crazy. School systems cannot possibly be expected to run smoothly and efficiently when every couple of weeks more money is taken from them, more programs are hindered because of unexpected and sudden funding cuts.
We understand when a budget is falling short sacrifices have to be made. And the education system, like any other publicly-funded entity, should bear a proportionate part of the burden.
But, we would suggest state officials first look at how to eliminate unnecessary funding. An example would be Gov. Beverly Purdues inexplicable decision to follow her predecessor in appointing a chief executive officer to oversee the Department of Education, when the voters have already chosen a superintendent. Not only does this undercut the voters, but this duplicates salaries, leaves an elected official with essentially nothing to do while putting responsibility for running the department under someone appointed by the governor.
To be sure, if this duplication didnt exist the salary and related savings would be minimal compared to the total budget, but we suspect enough of this sort of wrong-headed reasoning could be eliminated to make up for a good portion of feared budget shortfall.
And that money could be left in the local school systems.