by Lake County News-Chronicle
March 28, 2013 at 10:14 am in Lake County News-Chronicle
Reporting on legislative issues affecting Lake County. Continue Reading
Tags: Lake County, legislation, state 2 Comments »
1. Here we go again. $50,000 per year in technology expenses for the school district does not equal the need for a $390,000 levy. More money is not going to solve this district’s problems, no matter where it goes.
2. I want to see elected officials, not appointed. Why not ask for appointed commissioners? Some of the elected ones Lake county has had could arguably be considered not qualified. Let the voters decide, and let’s not get into a situation where all our officials are “yes men” for the rest!
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Brian: The issue with our school district being only amongst a handful in the state without a referendum, needs to be properly assessed by looking at the total funding levels per student. Our District 381 receives funds related to mining industry fees, which offset some of the “lower” per student revenue other schools may seek referendums to raise extra funds for desired increases in their budgets. If you look at District 381’s total funding levels, you will see the district is far from being among the lower levels amongst districts in the state… even without any referendums in place in our district.
The bottom line is these proposed additional “technology” funds are simply not appropriate for District 381 whose real problems center on a need for significantly better financial management and program spending priorities.
I am a technology professional, and after working with technology for more than 45 years in business, as well as with issues associated with school district student performance, there is no way spending all the money in the world on “technology” will end up having any significant overall impact on the majority of our typical student performance scores. The legislation proposed is merely an end-around to increase the availability of existing district funds for other uses without local voter levy approval.
If districts were required to justify the technology spending, factually support the spending will result in improved student performance, be held accountable for tangible student improvement each year, prove improved student performance could not be accomplished in any other way, and were audited to be sure the monies were properly spent and did, in fact, result in improved student test scores…and if unable to substantiate these requirements, the levy funding would be automatically required to be withdrawn, well, then I would say the bill might be somewhat supportable.
If the state really believed that technology can make that much difference, over other administrative and teaching changes, then the legislators should add that money to the state-provided funding for all students. They should not dump the burden on district taxpayers without a referendum, and leave those residents at the mercy of school boards that do not address more fundamental educational and financial management issues first.
Our school district is currently in a financial and student performance position where it has no choice but to face up to those issues, with a new superintendent who seems willing to do just that, and along comes a “bailout” legislative proposal whose direct result could allow the district to avoid direct and immediate focus on needed reform.
We do not need more money, we need more courageous, demanding and accountable leadership.
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