Tuesday, June 14, 2011

School Budget and the New Math

It seems the more I try to figure out what the truth is with the school budget the less sense it makes.

The Superintendent presented an 86.3 million dollar budget and the Herald News reported that "Mayor Will Flanagan announced Wednesday night that he will seek to cut the system’s budget by $3.3 million."

So...

86.3
- 3.3
____
83

So we're looking at an 83 million dollar budget! Oh.. hold on. The Mayor wants to cut from the current figure of 84.3 million.

Ok... change the 86.3 to 84.3 and then cross out the ... 81 million..

But hold on 86.3 million is a level service budget.. so we need to spend more just to maintain the same level of services. Level funding would be another year at 84.3 million but that won't pay for the same level of services.. so 81 million is a pretty big drop...

But wait.. the Mayor says the effect of all of this is less than a one million total cut in educational spending! "He says despite the operating budget drop, total education spending in the city would drop by only $912,861 from its current total just under $129.1 million." Well this SOUNDS impressive but it seems the total educational spending includes lots of things that don't factor into the classroom. So we could theoretically paint every class room and increase total spending but obviously do little to improve educational quality.

But in the same article we find out that we're getting 4.5 million increase in Ch. 70 money! Well this should plug the hole!

81
+ 4.5
____
85.5

Maybe THAT is how the Mayor is figuring out the total drop is less than a million.. no that wouldn't make sense...

But hold on the Mayor says most of the 4.5 million is eaten up by a 1.7 million increase in charter school tuition costs and a 1.6 million cut in unrestricted state aid.

1.7
+1.6
____
3.3 (odd how that number comes up..)

4.5
-3.3
___
1.2

So there is still 1.2 out of the 4.5... so does that mean we're really at 82.2 million?

Oh wait...

According to this the amount of money we receive from the state increased by 1.2 million!

So.. 1.7 - 1.2 = $500,000 and $4,500,000 - $500,000 = $4,000,000 but then take away 1.6 million from.. hold on WHY are we taking away money flagged for education to make up for a loss of "unrestricted state aid"? Ugh.. well $81,000,000 + $2,400,000 = $83,400,000.

Of course if you argue that the mayor should use all of that money for education and not plug holes and now $81M + $4M = $85M.

How in the world is the Mayor arriving at 81 million and where is all this other money going?

Now the Mayor says that he is going to fund just 98% of the city's requirement for education and that IS allowed but he will have to pay the difference the following year! If we can't fund 100% this year and we are either spending 4.3 million, 3.3 million, or 900k less this year how are we going to pay 100% next year AND the shortfall for this year?

I can't wait to see the numbers that get thrown out then!

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