Readers will recall that when the Republican-controlled Legislature was working on the budget for this year there went up a huge hue and cry from the education community, the union reps and Governor Perdue that the public schools were being devastated by the cuts the Legislature was making. As recently as last month, Governor Perdue sent out a press release decrying these "cuts in education."
Well we now have the numbers. And there were no cuts in state teaching positions. In fact there was an increase state-funded education employees...4720 in fact, of which 2,155 were new teaching positions. There were cuts in Federal-funded employees as many school systems exhausted their Federal stimulus money. Those amounted to 7,330 jobs lost. And at the local level there were 2,077 jobs cut.
As the Civitas Institute observed: "If Perdue is to be critical of budgetary cutbacks to public education personnel, the DPI data suggests she should direct her comments toward local education agencies and Washington D.C." I would put it a bit differently: Governor Perdue, if she wishes to do the honorable thing, will apologize to the Legislature.
to review the Civitas report.
You will note if you follow the link and study the data that Beaufort County Schools is included. We have asked BCS for some clarification on those numbers and will report what we learn in a subsequent article. But there the picture is essentially the same...Additional state positions, less Federal and local.
Finally, an observation in general. What we see here is the typical charade that is played by some when it comes to assessing jobs in education. What is really going on is that there was a burp in Federal spending caused by Obama's Stimulus program. This year that money began to run out in many school systems. It will hit even harder next year as what is left of the Stimulus money dries up. So then we have the doom-sayers claiming we're "cutting" education. The only rational way you can accept that is to presume that there is no such thing as a temporary increase in spending. Those who follow that mantra must believe that if you increase spending one year, you must always spend that money again each year.
That kind of thinking has been around since way before the Stimulus. In education, particularly in higher education, that is a reality with grants. You get a grant and when the grant money runs out there is a constituency that screams that you must pick up the positions from non-grant funds.
Wonder if the people who think that way operate their own budget that way? But hey, if you buy a car one year why should you not buy another one the next year, and the next. You get the point.
Delma Blinson writes the "Teacher's Desk" column for our friend in the local publishing business: The Beaufort Observer. His concentration is in the area of his expertise - the education of our youth. He is a former teacher, principal, superintendent and university professor.