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Publisher’s Position: Gypped Again

By Steve Hunley

Just when you think there’s nothing more the government can do to bounce against the ceiling of stupidity something always comes along to reassure you.

A lot of folks have been outraged by the Board of Education having spent around $1.2 million for a study to show them where there is waste in their operation.  That contract was given to the Parthenon Group and those folks made a presentation to the Board last week that just boggles the mind.  About $360,000 of our tax dollars went to this study and the Gates Foundation apparently picked up the rest of the tab.

The Parthenon folks gave a mind-numbing presentation, yet at the conclusion of that snooze-fest there really seemed to be no savings at all; in fact, the study recommends an increase of some $45 million of your tax dollars.  Go ahead and pick your glasses or yourself up off the floor, you read that right.  Ultimately, these consultants recommended the school system receive an increase of $45 million of your tax dollars.

We’re supposed to trust the very same people with 45 million (that’s 45 cents on the property tax rate) MORE dollars who just conducted a study about waste and instead found a way to squeeze more money out of us?

These folks have bragged about this study leading to a “smart budget,” but to my mind it looks more like smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand.

Superintendent Jim McIntyre was plum giddy to get $800,000 from the Gates Foundation but apparently thought nothing of spending $360,000 of our money for a study that is unlikely ever to be implemented by the Board.  McIntyre’s rubber stamps, the Board, went right along, as they always do, and now have nothing to show for it, except perhaps for some well deserved embarrassment.

Maybe McIntyre actually wanted a study recommending he get another $45 million to spend, but the study is so devoid of any legitimate use that all he did was show he either doesn’t know what he’s doing or just doesn’t give a hoot how he spends our tax dollars.

To add insult to injury, the savings the Parthenon folks identified included such clever ideas as getting rid of the custodians and school librarians, as well as increasing the number of students per classroom and hiring teachers who are better equipped to handle these larger populated classrooms. Yet at the same time, state law is being changed so that teachers with advanced degrees will earn no more for having those advanced degrees.  Huh?

The same recommendation also urged the Board to cut back on school nurses and eliminate paying for poor children to go on field trips while at the same time urging at least seven more bureaucrats be hired downtown.

The bottom line is the recommendations could not possibly be taken seriously, except perhaps for someone from another planet and I’m beginning to wonder if there aren’t several of those on the Board as it is.

Clearly, the waste most easily identified is the study itself.  Just so you know, I didn’t have to hire a consultant to figure that one out.

$360,000 of our tax dollars gone for what?  Stupid ideas on saving money along with a recommendation to give more money to the same people already doing a great job wasting our money.

Somebody just got robbed and we, the taxpayers, got gypped again.

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