Monday, February 5, 2007

Students and costs: Mysterious numbers in Derry

The following editorial appeared in the Union Leader.

Any person from any school district can replicate the work of the Alliance of Derry Taxpayers' by visiting the New Hampshire Department of Education's website.

We would love to see an analysis done by Union Leader of all school districts across the state.

From the Union Leader
Students and costs: Mysterious numbers in Derry

Friday, Feb. 2, 2007

If the Alliance of Derry Taxpayers'
numbers are correct, the school district has a lot of explaining to do.

The alliance has done some math and concluded that "enrollment in grades one through eight has dropped by 18 percent since 1999, while the teacher population is up by 14 percent," according to state Rep. Howie Lund, a co-founder of the group.

The alliance has presented to the school board numbers showing that the public school budget is rising while enrollment is falling. The question is: why are costs not falling along with enrollment?

It's a great question.

In Manchester, the school district complained for years that it needed more and more money or classrooms would be overcrowded and eduational quality would suffer. But in fact middle-school enrollment had been falling. In last year's budget fight, the district suddenly found that it had more teachers than it needed, and it was able to save money by eliminating seven positions. It is not unreasonable to suspect that something similar is going on in Derry.

If the board cannot satisfactorily explain why taxpayers should pay more to educate fewer students, then it's time to break out the budget ax.

Quote of the Day

"Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned."
Milton Friedman

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