Where Competition Ought to Happen

I hadn’t intended to attend tonight’s school committee meeting in Tiverton, but I saw on the agenda that they’d be discussing the item on the floor today: full-day kindergarten, rather than the current half day. Superintendent Bill Rearick put the additional cost at $223,953 per year, although he noted that, with next year’s financial difficulty — by which he means the budget hole approaching $1 million resulting from a failure to hold over any of the magic Obama money — make it financially infeasible.
It’s a shame. Rather than year after year paying more for the same or fewer services, the public schools should start to add services — to increase the value of the system to the town, rather than to the employees.
7:47 p.m.
It’s the theme of tonight’s meeting. Now they’re talking about the district’s inability to adequately monitor and coordinate curriculum development across all grades because they can’t afford the extra hours for teachers. Committee Member Carol Herrmann presented the choice as between canceling classes or monitoring the classes we keep.
Superintendent Rearick put the price tag at about $100,000, saying, “We know how to build a Cadillac. We know what we need. We just can’t afford it. We have a survivalist budget.”
And yet the committee approved retroactive raises in the middle of an open-ended recession earlier in the year.

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