Twice-Paid Sports and Free Tax Collectors

Yes, of course there’s a big difference between taxation and fundraising, but this quotation, from an article about Rhode Island residents’ having to raise money to keep public school sports going illustrates where poor management and skewed priorities are leading school districts:

All the fundraising can be exhausting. “It’s like a second job for everyone that’s involved,” said [President Paul] Shatraw of the Northmen Athletic Club, a conglomerate of the individual booster clubs in North Smithfield.
In the opinion of Joanne Forti, a Northmen mother of triplets who helped organize the golf ball drop and the repacking of all those golf balls into egg cartons in numerical order, “It’s very hard raising this much money.”

We’re not talking a few hundred dollars per team for new uniforms. The North Smithfield group is looking for $110,000 to keep the program going, and it’s not as if the district has cut its budget to shift more of the burden to voluntary activities. Like school systems across Rhode Island and the United States, it’s just promised away so much additional money to adult employees year after year and allowed such a rigid, unionized culture to seep into the profession that services that once were considered part of the educational and community-building mission of public schools no longer fit in the budget.
Once again, important things that make people willing to pay their taxes are front and center among cuts, because those who plan budgets expect that they’ll be paid for somehow.

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12 years ago

” it’s just promised away so much additional money to adult employees year after year”
That’s right. And lost sight of the main mission: a good quality, well rounded education for our children.

12 years ago

It would be really nice to have graphs showing where the money’s been going (with test scores and average class sizes) for the last two decades in Rhode Island’s urban public schools, a ‘successful’ state’s urban schools, RI suburban schools, a few RI private schools, and a graph alongside them showing ‘average’ wages and expenses over the same period.
There needs to be some comprehensive way to disarm folks who think that teachers are relatively underpaid and that classes are full-to-the-brim.
I understand that getting and compiling the data isn’t easy, even though it ought to be. Maybe we need a state law that requires municipalities and the state to publish ‘relevant fiscal and performance data’ in a standard, computer-digestible format back to 1995.

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