Prepared Text for Board Meeting Ė
Marc A. Schare†
Tonight, I have a †legislative update and one or two other comments.
First, we need to talk about the constitutional amendment. No, not *that* constitutional amendment, the constitutional amendment that was introduced last week by Senator Schuring as Senate Joint Resolution 4.
Senator Schuring seeks to stabilize K-12 education funding in the state with a formula consisting of income taxes, sales taxes, the cat tax and the lottery. The formula, as applied to 2008 funding, is expected to yield the same amount as the current allocation. The difference, therefore, is that this new amendment would put the funding on autopilot, theoretically growing as the various tax revenues grow. The formula amount is intended as a floor, meaning the general assembly could allocate a higher amount if desired.
Senator Schuringís plan has some positive benefits. It removes
education funding as a political football. It could provide growth if the
stateís economy is doing better and it will restrict the state allocation if
the states economy is faltering. My initial reaction, however,
To become law,
Miscellaneous comment number one concerns the Consolidated Annual Financial Report, the CAFR, that was distributed in our board packets this week. Iím sure that we all spent the weekend cuddled up with this tome of the districts financial condition and, ignoring the obvious mistakes on Page 37 of the document, it was a really fine piece of work. A shorter read, but no less interesting, was the auditorís management letter. While not technically a public document, I think that more data is better than less data for the public, so I would advocate releasing it. The finance committee will be reviewing the noncompliance findings and recommendations with the treasurer and report at our next meeting but on balance, if the items listed in the management report are the worst things that someone can say about us, we must be doing something right. One particularly interesting point in the management letter is some indirect criticism of the board for not watching the peopleís money closely enough, a situation I will personally correct in 2008.
number two concerns the news reports about the governmentís subprime mortgage
bailout. I always like to get the root cause of a problem and in this case,
itís not that hard. Did the banks and mortgage companies take advantage of
unsuspecting homebuyers? Maybe, but if so, they were only unsuspecting because
the American educational system has failed them. I donít understand how we
could require years of algebra and geometry and not have mandatory annual
financial literacy starting no later than the 7th grade. If I could
change one aspect of the curriculum, this would be it and I would love to see
On a note of personal privilege, as we close out 2007, Iíd like to thank and congratulate the superintendent and staff for what I thought was a pretty consequential year, and while there were many accomplishments to look back on, my personal highlight for the district would be the opening of the Phoenix School. 30 years from now, Jeff Maddox and his team will be hailed as pioneers in education reform in this district and, perhaps, statewide and I feel truly† blessed †that I was there at its birth.
Finally, Iíd like offer my
two Christmas wishes for the