Monday, April 11, 2005
$44 MILLION MORE FOR NEBRASKA CLASSROOMS, TAX-FREE
I’ve been urging public schools to cut non-instructional costs for more than a decade now. Big whoop: all they do is increase and increase and increase their non-classroom spending. Finally, thankfully, a guy with some clout and big bucks has taken up that cause, bigtime. He has a plan that would drive more money into the classroom, and out of the clutches of the unions and educrats.
Enjoy today’s Show ‘n’ Tell for Parents from my website, www.DailySusan.com and note that in Nebraska, moving to 65% would raise $44 million – presto! Pain-free – which would be plenty to rescue our Class 1 schools, pay for Spalding phonics training for our K-2 teachers, and give every teacher in the state a fun little raise.
Surely there’s an enterprising citizen out there who could contact these folks and get this going in the Cornhusker State:
‘Finding’ Extra Millions of Dollars for the Classroom
Q. Our taxes seem to be raised more and more for education. Yet it appears that a lot of the money is being siphoned off to pay for things other than teacher salaries and curriculum. In the days of the one-room schoolhouse, I bet 95% of the spending went for the teacher, books, chalk and other items actually used in the classroom, and 5% went for administration, coal for the pot-bellied stove and everything else. What’s the ratio today?
Nationally, 61.5% of the money flowing into the public schools actually winds up covering classroom expenses, according to a national organization, First Class Education. It is attempting to increase that percentage with a national push toward state laws that would mandate more in-classroom spending and less available for non-teaching activities.
Utah-based entrepreneur Patrick Byrne is pushing “The 65% Solution,” which would require that 65% of every school district’s operating budget has to be spent on classroom instruction. Even though 65% is just a few ticks higher than it is now, Byrne’s solution would add up to $13 billion that would suddenly be available for the nation’s classrooms, without new taxes.
It figures out to 300,000 new teachers making $40,000 a year, significant raises for existing teachers, or tons of new books and computers and other learning aids.
The 61.5% figure is from June 2004 reports of the National Center on Education Statistics. It’s down from 61.7% the year before. Byrne’s group reports that only four states – Utah, Tennessee, New York and Maine – now spend 65% or more of their education dollars in the classroom. Last year, there were seven such states, the group says. In 15 states, the instructional budget is less than 60%.
Where is the money now allocated in non-classroom areas, where cuts would have to be made to come up with the 65%? Administration, plant operations and maintenance, food services, transportation, instructional support including librarians, teacher training and curriculum, and student support such as nurses, counselors, social service workers and others.
Homework: Check out your state’s level of in-classroom spending, www.firstclasseducation.org
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