Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Schools Blowing Money

Do you remember that episode of Lou Grant (late 70's newspaper drama) wherein Lou and the gang wrote and published a story soliciting donations for a poor family at Christmastime, and the poor family blew the money on things they couldn't afford? For example, the teenage boy "bought" a car, even though the money barely covered the down payment. The family understood they'd have to give the car back, they just wanted the son to enjoy a Christmas. They blew the rest of the money, too, and shortly after Christmas they were right back where they'd started.

That's what I'm reminded of as I read this story about how some school districts are spending so-called stimulus money:

And according to a preliminary report on stimulus funding for schools by the Department of Education and the Domestic Policy Council, the stimulus plan has created jobs.

State governments have created and saved at least 250,000 education jobs -- and restored nearly all their projected education budget shortfalls for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 -- according to preliminary findings released Monday by the White House.

But some states that used the funds to fill existing budget gaps could face a crisis when the money runs out after 2010. And the Department of Education has chastised certain states for their stimulus funding programs and warned them that they risk their chances at getting other DOE grants down the road.
I'm not quite sure how spending on K-12 education counts as "stimulus" as generally defined, and that just makes this situation even scarier. These are the people (politicians) who want even more control over our lives, and more of our money.

1 comment:

allen (in Michigan) said...

It's not a bad analogy.

School districts don't, in any reasonable sense, earn the money they get. Either they're better or lousier at wheedling or the folks they wheedle from are richer or poorer. Since there is no connection between what the school district gets and what the school district does why should the school district act as if there is?

Once the district gets the money local political considerations dictate how the money'll be spent. That's what, I believe, caused the overwhelming bi-partisan support for NCLB. There was widespread disregard of the purposes to which the federal money was to be put and if it's one thing that'll reach across party lines it's embarrassment.

Make powerful political figures look like a bunch of shmucks and they'll remind you who makes the rules.