Brewer Convinces East Valley Bible Church

The Arizona Republic ran an article Friday covering Governor Brewer’s Thursday night visit to East Valley Bible Church in Gilbert. Tom Shrader is the senior pastor at that church. Unfortunately, East Valley did not have the opposing view represented at the church. Based on the way the article was written, one would think that Governor Brewer had the entire congregation eating out of her hand by the end of the “budget sermon.” It appears that AZCentral website turned off their comments on the article but I’ll reprint it here and let you all comment.

Brewer wins over crowd during talk at Gilbert church

by Katherine Greene – Jul. 10, 2009 06:53 AM

The Arizona Republic.

Gov. Jan Brewer is willing to put her political career on the line for a tax increase, and the congregation at East Valley Bible Church in Gilbert just may support her.

“It sure doesn’t help my career,” she said, speaking to a near-full house Thursday night at the church on Elliot Road. “It’s not an easy thing, but it has to be done.”

Brewer spent much of her 90-minute conversation with pastor Tom Schrader talking about the budget, explaining how much needed to be cut, and why.
Several people at the church said they went into the meeting completely against the tax, but that after hearing Brewer’s arguments, decided it was necessary after all.

“The average person doesn’t know how tough it is” to balance the budget, said Mark Shaw, 57. He said he wouldn’t normally support any tax increase, but when Brewer explained the budget problem, he changed his mind.

“It was very enlightening,” he said.

Because some funds are protected by voter mandates, the pool from which cuts can be made is small, meaning the government must slash $3 billion out of about $5 billion , rather than the $11-billion general fund, Brewer told the crowd.

The tax might be career suicide, she said, but she believes it’s the only way to balance the budget.

“I don’t know, maybe I’m hopeful,” she said. “But I think that it’s the right thing to do.”

Brewer’s trip to Gilbert may help her gather a few more votes in November, when she hopes to have a temporary sales tax increase up for a referendum.

After the meeting, people said she had won them over.

“When I came in here, I told my friends, she was not going to get my vote,” said Steve Pass, 60. “I truly believe she wants to do what’s right for Arizona. She’s willing to take on the legislature, and they’re her own party.”

“She convinced me that this isn’t something she’s doing to try and extend her career,” said Colleen Pardo. “A lot of that information was very fascinating.”

East Valley Bible Church hosts weekly meetings each week of the summer that are open to the public, casual, and generally secular, save for a prayer at the end. Brewer also talked about growing up in Nevada and Hollywood, about losing her father and, later, her son.

“I was never angry at God,” she said. “I was angry at people.”

On education, Brewer said she wants to push for a voucher system where parents can choose which school their children attend and the state provides a set amount of money for each child.

That’s not likely to happen soon, she said. She urged parents to attend school board meetings and hold their board members accountable.

“It’s a community thing. You have to demand things in order to make change,” she said, to a round of applause.

She also said she wants more money for teachers. She pointed to test scores and statistics that show that homeschooled and private school children perform better than those in Arizona public schools.

“We need to pay our teachers,” she said. “A lot of (money) gets eaten up by administration.”

Darbi Maki , 28, a middle school teacher, agreed.

“This is just the way it is and what we have to do,” she said.

Pardo was with a group of about 15 children who were all homeschooled. She said Brewer “couldn’t be more right” about the education system.

In the prayer at the end of the meeting, Schrader asked God to help Brewer with the burden of the budget, and for her to find the best way to solve it, “even though we might not all agree with her.”


Comments

  1. Hard to take a person seriously when he’s on the stage with the Governor, and wearing shorts and flip flops.

    What exactly does “more money for teachers” mean? More money to hire more teachers at the current rate, or higher pay for our current teachers? Two different things. If current teachers are doing a crummy job, will increasing their pay help?

  2. Meh,

    Good question. I want to revisit the argument on how much we spend per student according to our more left-of-center commenters. What figure do we want to throw out there again? An earlier post stated $6,536 according to JLBC with an average teacher salary of $44,967. Is that what we can agree on as a starting point?

  3. It is easy for the governor to work a crowd with no dissenting information. She adamantly refused to personally participate in the forums sponsored by the County Party, and has vetoed the appearance of any opposing view at her public meetings.

    If she can’t debate the issue with any one of a number of people who hold an opposing viewpoint, it seems that her position becomes indefensible upon full inspection.

    Sorry Jan, but your appearance with Pastor Shrader gives you no more credibility than BHO’s appearance with Pastor Warren.

    Governor, your time would be better spent working on the problem of spending reductions and reforms at 1700 instead of advocating for higher taxes and bigger government.

  4. MaricopaGOP says

    Actually, according to the Superintendent’s Annual Financial Report on the Dept of Ed website, the average salary is over $49,000. When you add in their benefits it comes to a total compensation package of over $65,000 per year.

    This is for 36 weeks allowing for 16 weeks off each year, not counting their minimum of four weeks combined sick and annual leave allowance.

    This means that their $65,000 average compensation package allows for up to 20 weeks off. Not a bad deal.

  5. kralmajales says

    Maricopa,

    You need to be looking at starting salaries and you need to be comparing those starting salaries to the salaries of other people in other states in the same field. Heck, compare that starting salary to other fields. Then ask yourself why college graduates who must take additional training to be certified (and often teach for free as an apprentice) might need more to stay in the field, remain attracted to it, and do the best job that they can.

    The average includes people who have been teaching for many many many years. Salaries do drift up over time.

    Last, the real issue to me is why our best and brightest don’t want to become teachers. It is a hard job (and by the way some work in the summer…attend meetings, prep, coach, etc)…a very hard job. Our youth can major in business or engineering or most other fields and get much higher pay coming out and do not have to face decrepit physical plants, disciplining children, parents, and the like.

    I often ask people who decry the liberal teaching establishment…I ask them…why didn’t you become a teacher then, Mr. or Ms. Conservative? If what they are saying is true, there was something that attracted talented conservatives to other fields. My guess is that it was more money…or simply that the job is hard enough that they would not do it.

  6. kralmajales says

    Some data and state comparison’s that might interest folks.

    http://www.aft.org/salary/2007/download/AFT2007SalarySurvey.pdf

    First, Arizona’s average teacher salary in 2006-2007 (latest data I could find) was ranked 31st in the nation. In the bottom half. What is telling is that our rankings used be a lot worse. During Napolitano, teacher salaries increased (I know you all hate that) and it was a concious effort to make us competitive. In other words, we were a lot lower in state ranking before Napolitano took the helm.

    Same thing with repect to starting teacher salaries where we are ranked 20th. A great figure in comparison, but it merits looking at trends. During the Napolitano years, salaries went up which moved us up. We were much lower.

    The cuts that the GOP wants would slip us backward just as we were moving up.

  7. kralmajales says

    Just to prove what I just said about Napolitano’s benefits to teachers versus that of previous GOP control. Take a look at this table from 2003.

    http://www.aft.org/salary/2003/download/2003Table2.pdf

    Arizona WAS 50th in starting teacher salaries. 50th. Now we are 20th…because of Janet and the few GOP liberals that crossed fences to support us.

  8. Pricinct Committeeman says

    Here’s a fact: Teacher’s, on average, make more money than 78 percent of the other wage earners in Maricopa County. Being in the top 22 percent of money makers in a large metro-area like our county is not bad money.

    MaricopaGOP is more right than wrong.

    Liberals keep screaming for more money for teachers like it is some kind of solution to poor teaching. Washington, D.C.’s district proves that is not true.

    Fair money for work. That is what our teachers already have. Taking more money from programs, equipment, technology, arts, music, physical education, and services for our students is not a solution to education – although it would increase the teachers’ bank accounts.

    One year, teachers in our district voted to increase class size to get more of a raise. How much sense did that make?

    Enough is enough. Being among the top paid workers in Arizona is not bad money.

  9. MaricopaGOP says

    Kral,

    You are wrong. I do not have to look only at starting salaries. You are more than welcome to use your biased AEA talking points, they just do not portray what 90%+ of the teachers get paid.

    Starting salaries vary across districts and are a starting RANGE, not a single factor even in the same district. In addition, starting salaries come into play for less than 7% of teachers at any one time and it is more accurate to look at the AVERAGE salary across the state that includes those first year teachers you talk about. If you look at only those with many, many years experience, the pay would go up dramatically.

    It is important to note that the AVERAGE compensation package for teachers in the Phoenix Union High School District, the state’s largest HS District, is more than $85,000 for those thirty two weeks of reporting for work. Please also note that a partial day (early dismissals) count as a full day of work. I do not know of another field that has a similar package of perks.

    To answer your question, the best and brightest are leaving district schools to work for less pay in private schools due to the crazy work and tenure rules and the inability to use discipline in the district schools. Clean up the monopolistic, bloated bureaucratic district schools and you will solve most of the problem.

    As to your last comment, it sounds like McCain’s irrational rant about illegals doing work that Americans won’t do. The fact is that a lot of conservatives believe in just compensation based on performance and are not inclined to enjoy the ratchet-it-down-to-the-worst union philosophy in the district schools.

  10. MaricopaGOP says

    kral

    re: Comment 7

    Now we have it in print – “to support US”. Why don’t you and the rest of the teachers spend some real time and energy demanding that the administration raise its percentage to the classroom since they are now spending less of the confiscated taxes to the children than prior to Prop 301 AND Prop 201 passed by the voters. The administration office is the drain where the money is being flushed.

  11. “Here’s a fact: Teacher’s, on average, make more money than 78 percent of the other wage earners in Maricopa County”

    Great – what is it for people with college degrees. I would also like to see some data supporting this.

  12. 1. Good Pay
    2. Benefits
    3. Stability

    Pick any two. Teachers have chosen 2 and 3.

  13. MaricopaGOP
    The statewide average teacher salary is $44,967. There is no statement in the Superintendent’s Annual Financial Report that claims average salary is above $49,000.

    It is fascinating how we have posts on SA criticizing districts for not putting enough money in the classrooms and then others claiming some districts are putting too much.

    Lastly, AZ districts spends less on administration (9.2%) than the national average (11%). What has happened is districts have had to shift money to pay for other support services since AZ doesn’t fund them adequately.

  14. OK, I still have not got an answer from our commenters as to the average amount spent per student per year. Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

  15. DSW,
    Do you have some new figures to discuss?

  16. I just want to do the math and I thought I’d give you the courtesy to use your numbers.

  17. Part of the problem is that state averages are not as meaningful. The other part is cost of living. It’s cheaper to live and teach in Marana or Tuba City than North Scottsdale. But you shouldn’t expect to actually live in North Scottsdale if you teach there. Same applies to cops, sanitation workers, and librarians.

    What I think is sort of odd is that teachers make a lot of sacrifices. But they are so vocal about it. You don’t hear librarians, cops, sanitation, and dog catchers complain nearly as much. So teachers just come across as greedy.

  18. James Davidson says

    Kral,

    Big Sis does not deserve the credit for the increase in teacher pay in the last eight years. It resulted directly from Prop 301, Prop 201, and No Child Left Behind. Prop 301, the handiwork of Gov. Hull, added six tenths of a cent to the sales tax and dedicated it to education. Prop 201, also Gov. Hull’s work product, dedicated a portion of Indian Gaming proceeds to the classroom improvement fund. NCLB ratcheted up federal grant money. All three are the results of Republican administrations. Prop 301 also required a two percent annual increase in K-12 funding.

    Big Sis’s signature proposal was all day K. She later allowed that to be converted to a block grant, meaning districts could eliminate it and put the funding to other projects. To their credit, most did not.

  19. MaricopaGOP says

    Todd,

    I know that the report does not do the math for you and since you probably work for or are a product of the Arizona district schools, it was confusing to you.

    I have actually been giving the teachers a break on my numbers. Let me help you through the report.

    There is a place on the report that lists the average number of teachers in the school year. That number is 1790.

    Then, at the bottom right of the report, it lists the number of teacher FTE’s at the end of the school year. That number is 2436.

    Then there is a place that lists the total teacher salaries for the year. That number is $117,504,889.

    If you divide the $$ by the number of teacher FTE’s at the end of the year, you get $48,237. If you divide the $$ by the average for the year, the answer is $65,645.

    I was being very conservative and very kind by taking the year end number and only adding less than a thousand.

    Hopefully this eliminates the disagreement.

    Again, according to the Auditor General report released this spring, the salary is supplemented by a 28% to 35% benefits package, depending on the district.

    I am not stating that they are overpaid, just stop the misrepresentation that teachers are being treated shabbily with nearly food stamp qualifying pay, as the AEA argues.

    As Precinct Committeeman said, they are in the top 22% of wage earners in Maricopa County, where the average pay for wage earners is the highest in the state.

    Now that the adults have been well compensated, lets turn our attention to educating the children.

  20. MaricopaGOP,
    I understood where you were getting the numbers, unfortunately, you seem to have a real difficulty with basic logic. It is not possible to calculate average teacher salaries from knowing the total pay for the entire year and either the number of FTE positions on the last day of school or the average positions for the year. I could certainly run through an example but this seems so self-evident I don’t want to waste my time.

    In addition, what compounds the misleading statement in claiming this comes from the Superintendent’s Annual Financial Report when it does not, is the fact the the department does in fact have an official statewide average teacher salary that it publishes – $44,967.

    Not only are you wrong on how you are trying to calculate this, you are just flat out wrong.

    Now to the claim that the average teacher pay puts them in the 22% highest in the county. Not sure where this data is coming from but in looking at the Metropolitan Statistical Area that includes Maricopa county, the 75th percentile of annual wages starts at $47,970, so it is simply not correct that the average teacher salary makes them higher than all but 22% of wage earners. I would happily look at data to the contrary. The numbers I cite are from the 2008 Phoenix MSA Wages Report from the AZ Dept. of Commerce. I also stand by the statement that this would be actually a meaningful comparison if we looked at wages for jobs that required a college degree.

    Just to end, I do not work for any Arizona school district but it is odd that this charge routinely comes up as does the put-down about attending public school. You and others in this forum have quite a strange superiority complex which seems totally unfounded from what I have seen.

  21. Kralmajales (post 5),

    I am a pro-life conservative and love teaching. In fact I have spent many years involved with non-formal adult education, much of it abroad and in the non-profit sector for far less pay than a starting teacher receives in a Maricopa county district school. I also volunteered to serve as a long-term senior math class substitute teacher (~2 months) for a private school in Latin America a few years ago. I am a degreed engineer and have even worked as an engineer for less than a starting teacher makes. So money is not the issue. “Conservative” does not equal “greedy” (cf. Arthur Brooks “Who Really Care”). Please reconsider your prejudices.

    I have indeed considered going into teaching (math, science, of course) but consider the certification process to be largely irrelevant and too costly in time and money (there needs to be a process but not the one we have). Add to that the public school politics and lack of institutional support for holding students and their parents accountable and the job becomes even less attractive. So for me, it’s the broken system that pushes me away, not the pay.

  22. kralmajales says

    Good for you Ken…and I mean that. You are an outlier though…Most conservatives skip education at the public, private or charter because of pay and not because of what it would take to get a teaching certificate or the bureaucracy. I would certainly never say “all”…and don’t. Tends to be the mantra on here too. Worthless teachers unions and the like…from people who have never even served in a school and know little to jack about it.

    What bugs me the most is that these arguments are used to give our already suffering schools…LESS…not more.

    Our kids definitely deserve better than some of the lowest funding in the United States.

  23. Kralmajales,

    Thanks for the reply — and yes, I am a bit of an outlier. One of the arguments regarding perennially increasing public school funding (in real, per student terms) is that if the system is broken, don’t just give it more money, fix the system! That means putting the students’ interests first, the teachers’ second, and the institutions’ last. That means that some institutions (sadly) may go out of business if they don’t adapt (just like the American Motors Corporation and, almost, GM and Chrysler). However, due to various interest groups (including parents who don’t parent), this is almost impossible to accomplish politically. Alas!

  24. Kral,

    If you were king for a year, how much money would you allocate per child? How much would you pay teachers? How much would be enough?

    Would you spread the compensation across the board equally among private, public and charter school teachers?

  25. Oberserve says

    Brewer – an unmitigated disaster for the Arizona Republican Party

  26. “Most conservatives skip education at the public, private or charter because of pay and not because of what it would take to get a teaching certificate or the bureaucracy.”

    Got any data to back that claim up.

    Perhaps I should assert that teachers are mostly liberals because they like good pay, short work hours, lots of vacation and the assurance that they can never be fired.

  27. MaricopaGOP says

    Todd,

    If your average number of teacher FTE’s for the year is not a good number to determine the average salary for a full-time teacher, tell me what better number you would use. Remember, these are numbers self reported by the individual school districts.

    I explained my methodology, can you explain by any means other than the seemingly ego answer of “I could certainly run through an example but this seems so self-evident I don’t want to waste my time.” crap.

    Since that is your answer, show me in any other field where the average number of users over a period of time divided into the gross sales does not get you the average amount of purchase. It may not be the median but it is the average. Maybe that is your confusion.

    Back when I went to a quality school, that simple process was taught – and learned – by the third grade. If you don’t know that, never try to say you are smarter than a fifth grader.

    Kral,

    We have INCREASED funding by 41% over the last four years with only a 10.6% increase in students, yet the outcomes continue to decrease because the administrators and superintendents have been the major benefactors of that increase.

    The % of money to the classroom has decreased after hitting every resident with a .75 cent sales tax increase that was required to go directly to the classroom AND the Indian Gaming $$ that was required to go directly to the classroom. Classified managers increased 28% and superintendents salaries increased more than 45%. That is not taking care of the children.

    The bleeding hearts for education funding need to target their school boards and superintendents if they want to solve the problems.

  28. MaricopaGOP,
    To find the average (mean) of something one sums all elements and then divides this sum by the number of elements. If you want to know the average yearly salary you would need to add all yearly salaries and divide by the number of salaries. Over the course of a year there is turnover, salaries change, unpaid leave, etc. Taking the total payroll for all teachers for the year and then dividing by the average number of teachers does not get you the average annual salary.

  29. MaricopaGOP says

    The districts reported the number of teachers (sum of that element)and the sum of their salaries (sum of that element) in their individual SAFR reports. I got to the average (mean) salary by dividing element 1 into element 2. This seems to follow your statement of how to get to the right answer. Of course, I had done that previously.

    Taking this into consideration for you to continue to argue that the answer is something else is counter-intuitive.

  30. MaricopaGOP
    I didn’t want to get into this but there is also a problem with the numbers you are using which leads me to believe you are looking at something different. I am looking at the Superindents Report for 2008 – http://www.azed.gov/AnnualReport/AnnualReport2008/Vol2.pdf

    On page I-264 there is a summary of all school districts. This summary states that total teacher salaries are $2,658,120,402 (in line Year End Teachers Salaries) and also states that Year End FTE for teachers is 53,883.49. I assume the numbers you are using is only for a specific district. Maybe you could reference where you are getting info because the $117,504,889 you give for total teachers salary is clearly only for a small portion of teachers, perhaps for one district.

    As I said, in the report I am looking at, total teacher salaries for the state are $2,658,120,402. Certified FTE for teachers is 53,883.49 and Year End Teacher FTE is 57,774.69 .

    Certified teacher FTE is from OCtober 1 2007. Year-End Teacher FTE is from last day of report for FY 2007-2008. No “average number of teachers” calculation.

    Since you have been so patronizing and accusing me of not being able to do simple math or read a report, I would ask that you state exactly where your numbers are coming from so I can see what the definition of terms being used are.

    Now as to this:
    “The districts reported the number of teachers (sum of that element)and the sum of their salaries (sum of that element) in their individual SAFR reports. I got to the average (mean) salary by dividing element 1 into element 2. ”

    No, you are not understanding. The salaries are pay for all people who worked any time during the fiscal year. The number of teachers at some point in time does not give you enough information to compute the average teacher salary.

    Here is a simple example. Suppose one knew the total number of membership fees a club collected over the year. For some reason, different people had different dues and you wanted to compute the average membership fee paid. Knowing the number of members in a given month would not allow you to compute the average fee because this number may change from month to month as people leave or new people join or people lapse membership for a month. Now if you knew the monthly total for the same month you might be able to say something about average fees, but knowing the total fees for the year you is not going to be a good number to use because of the yearly variability. I don’t know how much more I can do in trying to explain this. If anyone else can lend a hand please do.

  31. Just to clarify “The salaries are pay for all people who worked any time during the fiscal year” should read “The salaries are pay for all teachers who worked any time during the fiscal year”

  32. MaricopaGOP says

    Sorry, I was using the wrong sheet. Thanks to your help, I go back to applying the formula and the number is $49,331 per Full Time Equivalent teacher position – my original number.

    The number of FTEs is important because it takes into account part time teachers, movement of different teachers in and out of the district during the year, any increase or decrease of staff during the year, etc.

    So if you take four teachers who are working 1/4 of the year and two teachers working 1/2 of the year (or day) the sum would be 2 FTE’s. No matter the split of hours to different personnel, all hours paid to certified teachers are combined then divided using the total school hours per year to get the FTEs.

    Therefore, dividing the FTEs into the gross pay for the year ($2,658,120,402. total teacher pay divided by 53,883 FTEs) is how anyone would get to the figure of $49,331.

  33. Wow! Now those were retro 70s shorts! If that had been a Mormon Church its tax exemption would have lasted about 1 hour.

  34. I cannot comment on the nature of statewide educational expenditures but have found that those of Tucson Unified School District #1 are top heavy with district administrative staff costs.

    Reducing the costs of the hogs at 1010 would allow us to spend MORE money on real education programs without increasing taxes.

    While I hope that things aren’t as bad elsewhere in the state as in Tucson, it seems to me that aggregate analysis of expenditures is misleading, to put it mildly.

  35. MaricopaGOP says

    Carl,

    The aggregate comes from the self-reported information supplied from each school district in the state. The only reason we get this information is that they are required by law to provide it and the department has placed it on line.

    Any person can go in and look at the last reported figures – FY2008 – and compare the individual district with any other district, county, or statewide figures. You can also go back to previous fiscal year reports and do a comparative analysis.

    I recommend that you do not go back any further than FY2004 due only to the fact that the form was substantially changed that year and, except for where different items appear on the page, the information on the form has remained the same since 2004.

    To your specific district of concern, over the last four years for TUSD, the total state funding to the district increased by 20.8 percent, the student population decreased by 4.4%, the per student funding increased by 26.2%. The number of administrators increased by 33.13% while the number of teachers increased by only 3.1%. The number of administrators were increased ten times more than teachers PLUS the salaries of administrators grew disproportionately making the problem even worse.

  36. MaricopaGOP says

    PS: Carl,

    Things are actually worse in most other districts across the state. The overall increase in state spending for district schools increased by over 40% during those four years with only a 10.6% increase of students during the same time period.

  37. Maricopa,

    I have worked in an admiistrative position for an Arizona college many years ago and am familiar with many of the budgetary tricks which make aggregate analysis imprecise.

    In addition, the teachers around the district understandably detest the administrators at 1010 for good reason.

    What we need to do is look at where the money is spent rather than fixating on the per student or teacher aggregate spending.

    A couple of areas at TUSD which are seriously underfunded (to make money available for district administrators) are library funds and computer funds.

  38. MaricopaGOP says

    CH,

    You confuse me. You are complaining that you believe the administration at TUSD is inappropriately spending too much on central administration.

    I supply the actual figures that were reported by TUSD that says they increased administrators by over 33% over the last four years while student population has decreased by 4.4% and you argue that the figures are imprecise because they are aggregate? I don’t know how you can get any more precise than using the self-reported data on their annual report.

    I’m beginning to think that you spent too much time in the environs of higher education and have become inured with circular illogic. I was merely trying to provide you with specific data that proved what you said you believed anecdotally.

    Have a good day and God Bless

  39. Billy Bob says

    Pastor Slacker is really a big boost to the Guv’s. cred. Can I have a right on!

  40. kralmajales says

    I wish that some of you would supply the exact same logic to administration in business as you do the public sector. Before so many say “well that is about profit”, etc, etc. Public administrators can (and do) get fired when they do their jobs poorly.

    I don’t know what the optimal mix is for administration, but the truth is that you need people to run schools like you do any business. You need people to budget, do finance, do personnel, manage curriculum, and to fullfill the now hundreds and hundreds of regulatory demands placed on them (just like businesses do).

    Some might argue that schools are not as effective as they can be because of a need for a qualified and excellent set of school administrators.

    I am not arguing that it needs to be 90% administrator to teacher…that silly…but the figures I typically here is that there is a relatively small amount of administration in most schools. Even if you cut some of them, you would still not get at the kind of budget money that is generated per student or per whatever formula we are judged on nationally.

    Judging nationally, our schools are among the poorest funded. We are not among the best in outcome either. There IS a correlation there…and cutting more aint going to make it any better.

  41. kral,

    Nice AEA hyperbole, but you ignore the facts.

    The legislature increased funding by 41+% over the last four years then reduced that increase by 2% in the worst economy this state has seen with revenues down by more than 40%.

    During the last six years, we increased funding by over 67%, added a designated increase in sales taxes, added the Indian Gaming money, added the largest increase in State Land Sales in history, saw the schools income from property taxes skyrocket. With those unquestioned facts in mind, the schools spent that money in a way that INCREASED the student/teacher ratio, added the number of administrators by nearly 30%, increased Superintendents salaries by 49%, reduced spending for gifted students.

    Under that crazy situation, we had to dumb down the AIMS test every year because we achieved worse results in outcomes. That is because all of the increased funding went to the adults – mostly outside of the classroom – while programs and services to our students were starved in the middle of an abundance of cash – the schools have over 2 BILLION dollars in unspent carryover funds on their balance sheets.

    If the legislature would even consider raising taxes with 2 BILLION unused money in a Rainy Day Fund, you would be outraged. Somehow, the educrats have many convinced that the system is honorable and trustworthy. Bernie Madoff will contact you soon to sell you some investment portfolios – from his new diggs in North Carolina.

  42. kralmajales says

    Janelle,

    This is bogus…cite this (and it is probably Goldwater Institute “research”).

    I am not a member of the AEA…nor do I know anyone that “feeds” me anything of the sort.

    Last, any increases in education in recent years were not 41%!!! and were after cuts…and were off of an already low (among the lowest in the country) spending base. The cuts in 2001 took their toll on an already strapped system…the Gov and your legislature gave some of that back and tried to move us from the low 40s in state rankings up. It worked…and now we are moving backwards again…and at much more than a 2% rate.

    Universities took a huge cut in state funds last year, midyear cuts, and are about to take another $20 million (another 5-6% cut in state funds).

    We are going backwards…and off of what was already a backwards system.

    And you all wont even pay a cent more per dollar in taxes to help get us competitive. Pathetic. This will be so easy to sell in the next election.

  43. Between 2004 and 2008, when taking into account enrollment increases and inflation, total state education spending, including school construction, went up 21%. When one excludes capital costs, the increase has been 15%. Even with these increases we are still at the bottom of education funding in the country.

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