Friday, April 15, 2011

Joe Zarelli's Bad Week

Budget expert? Not this week.

I'm watching the Senate Ways and Means Committee testimony from Wednesday, and the gyrations that Sen. Zarelli is going through to defend crappy, crappy proposals like average daily attendance (ADA) and a 3% cut to salaries is absolutely fascinating.

Why is ADA a loser? Look just east to Idaho, where a study reported that ADA "may occasionally create unexpected and inequitable results in funding for smaller districts and charters." If you're Benge with 6 kids, and one has an unexcused absence, you're screwed in a way that the Seattle School District never will be. On top of that, imagine the next swine flu epidemic and what a legion amount of unexcused absences could do.

The 3% pay cut was blasted by everyone from the Governor to the Superintendent on down. It looks like some of the blame for this falls on the shoulders of Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, who needs better researchers. It's chicken to say that the local districts can figure out how to make that cut work--if you want to cut salaries 3%, do it in the salary schedule.

But you know you can't, because that's a cut to basic education. I'll give them praise for a bipartisan budget, as well as to the House GOP for turning out a budget as well and helping the conversation along, but at the end of the day Murray and Zarelli screwed up to the tune of $350 million dollars, and that doesn't reflect well on either of them.

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