Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What is Next For Croydon Schools - Jim Peschke

The Next Steps

The Croydon special budget meeting concluded at about 9:30pm with board approval of the necessary spending cuts. As in any negotiated process, none of the board members considered the end result to be perfect.

Although I believe that Croydon school is overstaffed, my budget proposal did not contain any staffing cuts. Budget areas where spending cuts were more palatable were abruptly deemed "off-limits" due to various combinations of bureaucratic regulation and "That's just the way it is" eduspeak.

We remain far from getting our money's worth from public schools; Croydon's per-pupil spending today is almost three times as much as it was only 10 years ago. Are students actually receiving three times the education, or are more funds simply being wasted due to government edicts and overzealous administrators?

The time has come to push back on unfunded mandates. Such resistance stands on firm legal ground, as the New Hampshire constitution specifically prohibits unfunded mandates. Some would try to intimidate us from standing up for ourselves, claiming the only resistance is total resistance and that total resistance would meet with disastrous consequences.

This is a false dilemma; many mandates have considerable latitude in their implementation. Scaling back mandates to bring costs out of the stratosphere doesn't rise to the level of Fort Sumpter defiance. We must also guard against becoming tools of our own demise by pressing for "more funding". All too often Big Ed's solution to unfunded mandates is funding them. That simply lets us keep $1 in our right pocket while Concord takes $2 from our left pocket. Mandates themselves are the problem.

The money we waste in mandated programs show that there's plenty of room to save taxpayer dollars. With a combination of legislative action and selective trimming, we can continue to make progress towards affordable public education.

Special interests spent decades buying laws to force us to spend more than we should. We can't undo this damage overnight, but the sooner we start, the sooner we can make "public education" truly "public" again.

Jim Peschke
Croydon School Board Member

Jim had sent the above letter to the Eagle Times. I have checked both online and several paper editions and have not been able to confirm if the Eagle Times published the letter.

There is a school board meeting tonight at the Croydon Village School.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

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