Now What?

   Now that the LCSS and the LCBOE have settled on their 2011-12 school year budget proposal, the real work begins: determining whether and how we can pay for it all.

   Roughly ten weeks ago the voters, taxpayers, and inhabitants of Lee County were overwhelmed with the specter of ‘draconian’ results and repercussions if local funding of the LCSS operations isn’t increased by $7.9M over last year’s levels.  There were media ‘informational’ events; there was an orchestrated lobbying effort of elected officials; there were even ‘grassroots activism’ efforts by students at the behest of their teachers and administrators.  The schools were ‘energized’ to get out support for increasing funding for the schools.

   Public emotions ran high.  Discussions about ‘cutting out’ or severely curtailing extracurricular and co-curricular activities inundated this community.  Tutors, teachers, teaching assistants were all to be affected.  Parents and students were all told to prepare for the worst, unless elected officials did the ‘right’ things and came through with proposed budget increases. In retrospect now though, there were no discussions, no ‘pep rallies’, no activism about the impact of cuts on school programs.  There was no proposed curtailment of overly large ‘gifted student’ or advanced placement programs.  There were no suggested reductions in the increases of technology, computer, or computer-based initiatives support.  There was no proposal to curtail Lee Early College, or for that matter, any program initiative of the current administration; this, despite the end of the ‘free’ grant monies that started many of them and for which now the LCSS must support.    Regardless of costs, these initiatives were assumed to be safely funded. 

   Come to think of it, there was no public discussion questioning any aspect of how the LCSS operates.  No one publically discussed energy use or other efficiency measures in our facilities.  There were no debates about the number and type of classes in the curriculum or the effectiveness of the instruction for the ones currently held.  There were no comparisons to other districts that may have better test results or graduation rates.  There just seems to be an assumption, that quantitatively and qualitatively, what we’re doing in the LCSS is right, and that it needs no analysis or evaluation for cost effectiveness or compliance with best practices.

   Now that the budget proposal has been submitted, albeit at a lesser amount than when the public hyperbole ran highest, the lobbying continues.  It continues as the county government figures out how to pay for the rest of the county governmental functions and the LCSS increased demands, amidst less revenue than last year.  Recall that, in November 2010, the voting public made their wishes known that no new tax increases would be tolerated.   That leaves us with just a couple of courses of action that can be taken to address this situation.  One is simple: not to increase school funding levels beyond that of last year, and let the draconian cuts happen.  Another is to give the schools what they want and sharply cut other county services, where each dollar of extra money demanded by the LCSS equates to a dollar reduction from other county services. 

   Where to start?  Public safety, social services, or maybe the county simply closes the parks and ends all recreation programs?  (That would probably cover the cost of supplements for Dr. Moss and his Central Office staff.)  The Lee County School System is eerily silent about what the county can do without.   So, how about some suggestions from the LCBOE?  Or are they still recovering from jet lag?  After all it is a long flight back from San Francisco….

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About Charles Carroll

I am a wealthy planter, originally from Maryland, and an early advocate of independence from Great Britain. I served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and later as United States Senator for Maryland. I was the only Catholic and last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
This entry was posted in Budget, Education, Election 2010, Lee County Politics, Taxes & Fees. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Now What?

  1. Patrick Henry says:

    Maybe the way to counterattack is to hold a rally at Social Services saying if the school system is fully funded at Moss’ demanded levels, there will be no money for vaccines, clinics, and other services. Then hold one the very next week at the courthouse and tell the sheriff and his deputies along with the court staff that criminals will just have to be let loose and not prosecuted because Moss and the BOE are demanding to be fully funded.

    Then the following week, hold one at various fire departments claiming that houses will just have to burn down because Moss and friends are demanding to be fully funded.

    Don’t forget to have all the secretaries during their working hours print out flyers and send out emails from their work pcs drumming up support.

    Sound extreme? Isn’t that exactly the tactic that Jeff, Bill, Shawn, teachers, other BOE members just did?

    Patrick Henry

    • Goose says:

      Sorry PH I don’t want to be always picking on you, but the volunteer fire districts each have their own district tax don’t they? I don’t claim to know if that tax covers all operations or is supplemented by the County…. honk?

      • Patrick Henry says:

        Goose,

        I am getting use to it.

        As for the fire districts, I think you missed the point of my reply. I was simply mocking the way Moss and the BOE held their “boo-hoo” meetings to scare the public! Maybe using the fire departments wasn’t the best example.

        I guess the school system will collapse if common sense prevailed and central office staff and supplements were gutted to save teacher jobs.

        PH

  2. Randall Lee Yow says:

    “Mister Carroll”,

    I thought Charlie Parks was going to call for independent audits on all county agencies? That was the cornerstone of his campaign. He was going to go through those budgets with the same skills he used when he was making air traffic control budgets. Do we not remember him saying that? What happened? Was that just “tea party” pillow talk to turn on the voters?

    Now I am going to go ahead and say that I personally never heard James Womack say this, but did he not say he wanted to shut down the parks and recreation system to save money? Several prominent Democrats and Republicans told me he brought this up several times.

    Also, Charles Carroll opposed the War of 1812. Wasn’t he limp wristed with dealing with our national defense against Great Britain? Sort of a weird choice? Why not Simon Girty for Pete’s sake?

    -Randall Lee Yow

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