Misperception of Need or That Old Budget Game?
So Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is placing the protection of the funding formula above all else in education, and I can’t help but wonder why she believes it to be so critical. I suppose it’s a compounding component of the state’s budget for education, and allowing it to come up shy at the beginning bodes ill for its chances of persisting to fruition. Still, there’s either a complete lack of insight to what works or hackneyed budget bullying techniques on display in this:
Other savings would be achieved through shifting some department positions to federal funds, eliminating non-public school textbook aid by $240,000, and $250,000 from the Physics First Program and $98,000 for science kits.
Eliminating textbook aid to private schools would be little more than an additional tax on parents, many of whom are struggling to pay a tuition on top of that which they already pay through property and other taxes because they are not satisfied with the school system under Gist’s charge. Potential also exists for such a move to backfire, to the extent that increases in private school tuition could drive up the number of students in public school, straining budgets.
The subsequent part of the above block quote is the more astonishing. Physics First has been credited with bringing the Portsmouth school district to the top of the list when it comes to science proficiency on the state NECAP tests. (Albeit with the barely tolerable proficiency rate of 52%.) Would the education commissioner really be looking at scaling back a rare program that appears actually to be working in order to maintain the purity of an unproven method of shuffling money around?
I suspect this is just more of the typical government routine of threatening absurd cuts in order to preserve funding for programs that voters might not support financially in isolation. Politics as usual with our children, once again.