Monday, May 14, 2007

Education Funding in Dire Straights

This is the scariest thing I've read.

Manville confirmed he has explored running double sessions at the high school, with high school students attending in the morning and middle school students in the afternoons. He has looked at moving the eighth grade to the high school, the fifth grade and possibly the fourth grade to the middle school.

“If we moved the fourth and fifth grades to the middle school, have we looked at closing one, two or even three elementary schools,” he asked rhetorically. “Yes we have . . . but let me reiterate, there have been no decisions made. All I’m saying is everything is on the table.”

It almost reads like fiction, but it's entirely true. Saugus already lost a prop 2 1/2 override, so something's gotta give... and it's looking like the Saugus School system is going to completely shatter as a result. The good news is if the Super thinks he won't be able to fit the 35 students per classroom he says he needs, any moderately wealthy family in Saugus is going to pull their kids out, along with a good chunk of everyone else. The sad thing is, as they rob their town of their child's talent, who could blame them?

Like I said, scarry stuff. What's worse still is that I can think of a half dozen towns in the same position, including Gloucester, Dartmouth and Swampscott.

I hate to say this, but I think it's time to start thinking about raising taxes by a small amount - and fixing the terrible funding formula that's completely, horribly broken. How much longer till every school system breaks? There's no more fat to trim from these budgets. How are towns to get out of this deep grave? There's just no way.

PS I'm creating a new tag for this kind of story. It's called the apocalypse: we're seeing the beginning of the destruction of the public education system in Massachusetts, a half dozen towns at a time.


Anonymous said...

Clive MacFarlane wrote an interesting article about school funding. Highlight- a special education collaborative school leased a building for over 500,000 dollars. The same building the owner (who also happens to be the founder of the school) paid 122,000 to own and maintain in Chicopee. The owner of the school agreed to repay over 900,000. In Lowell the Riverside school, another special needs school that is paid for by the taxpayers bought Red Sox season tickets. The state auditor caught them, when asked the owners also said the Dept. of Education who also reviews their books every year "never had a problem with them". Maybe we need to make these people accoutable for the money we give them now, not raise taxes.

Ryan Adams said...


So, there was one example of impropriety, so therefore all school committees are doing bad things with their money? That makes no sense.

Are you reading these stories I'm linking? Do you want public education to be destroyed? Do you get the consequences that will happen if that's the case? America doesn't exist without its public education system, pure and simple. We become a third world country within 20-30 years, with a super rich, educated class... and 250 million poverty stricken, uneducated people.

Anonymous said...

I only mentioned one example each, from two different school districts. With reimbursement from one of the uncovered frauds, the participating school districts were able to reduce their costs annually by 2690.00 per day / per student for the next three years.
Maybe we just need more auditors.

Ryan Adams said...

No, we don't need more auditors, just keep the books open. If they're open and transparent, people will catch the fraud and waste.

In the meanwhile, I can promise you that there isn't any significant waste going on in Dartmouth and Saugus, but both are facing massive cuts in core programs - and Saugus is talking about shutting down its middle school and putting them all in the high school... that will have a significant impact on how much people learn and maintain while in school - and how hard they'll try out of school.

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