Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Governor's Budget: This Is the Best She Can Do?

F me, but I'm starting to get the buyer's remorse pretty hardcore right now.

Previously I wrote eloquently and succinctly about a section of the budget that I feel should have been cut. The troubling thing is, there are two more pieces just like that one that ab-so-lutely have to go. To review, from page 172 if you'd like to read along at home:
$700,000 of the general fund--state appropriation for fiscal year 2010 and $900,000 of the general fund--state appropriation for fiscal year 2011 are provided solely for the development of a leadership academy for school principals and administrators. The superintendent of public instruction shall contract with an independent organization to design, field test, and implement a state-of-the-art education leadership academy that will be accessible throughout the state.
Page 175:
National board certified teachers who become public school principals shall continue to receive this bonus for as long as they are principals and maintain the national board certification;
Page 177:
$530,000 of the general fund--state appropriation for fiscal year 2010 and $530,000 of the general fund--state appropriation for fiscal year 2011 are provided solely for the leadership internship program for superintendents, principals, and program administrators.
Let's take the first and third element, where the cost is quantified: that's $1.43 million dollars that she left on the table. As to the second element, moving into the principalship implies a large pay raise to begin with, and if National Board teachers are some of our best, do we really want to incentivize them to move out of the classroom?

The piece that's eating at me, though, is the principle of it all. The Governor can boo-hoo all she wants about this being an unjust budget, but at the same time there are easy, easy cuts still sitting on the table, the sort of cuts that most people would agree are A-OK to make in tough times like these. Are we seriously saying with this budget that it's more important to create a brand new school leadership center than it is to provide ECEAP pre-school for needy kids?

It's the values question, and the Governor has failed it miserably.

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