People win and lose in the political world. In the case of the LCSS budget discussions for the 2011-12 School Year, taxpayers lost. No, there won’t be another forced property tax hike, but the people of this state and county still must foot the bill to increase funding for the LCSS. The LCSS still hasn’t justified its spending plan, by the way. Our local version of a democratic republican form of government was used get the deal done without a full accounting to the people.
The clear winner in the process was the county’s Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Moss got an unusual (maximum) extension to his lucrative contract and a 4-year guarantee of salary and perks. The LCBOE has now made sure Dr. Moss’ term of office exceeds that of any of the elected officials to whom he seems nominally responsible. Plus, he has a new salary and compensation deal that has not been made public. (What is so democratically republican about our appointed leaders and managers being immune to pending changes in the democratically elected representatives of the voters of this county over the next two election cycles?)
There were a number of losers in this LCSS budget debate. Taxpayers lost: tax rates and burdens remain unnecessarily high. Student athletes and bandsmen lost: they and their parents found out that Dr. Moss was more than willing to trade them away for his own gadgets and gizmos. Teachers lost: they too were found to be expendable.
The democratic republican form of government lost, too, as used in the liberal or progressive context. A handful of dutifully elected representatives of the people approved funding increases for the LCSS; funding which, by the way, may well have been justified without any more substantiation or justification than Dr. Moss was willing to give. Five members of the LCBOE and four members of the LCBOC must be asked, and asked, and asked again, over the remainder of their respective terms of office, ‘What do you stand for? And to whom are you beholden?’
No, our form of government didn’t win or lose. Moss won while taxpayers, students, and teachers lost. Maybe over the next two election cycles, this county will be able to comprehend who the real winners were, and why and for what purpose. Maybe they will come to understand it wasn’t about our kids or their education.