“Of course everyone gets a fair deal!”
The month of May came, went, and left behind a $333,791.00 tab in consultant and contractor fees for the taxpayers of South Carolina, courtesy of the Department of Education.
Thankfully this is a decrease from April, when Rex’s department spent almost $400, ooo on non-state employee “education and training services.”
Despite a steady stream of complaints from administrators about how budget cuts are forcing the Department of Education to do its work on a “bare bones” budget, the bureaucracy has managed to find enough money to continue paying out political consultants and contractors. Teachers have been cut, but spending has been maintained for former employees of political campaigns.
- YEAR-TO-DATE: $1.7 million to consultants and contractors
Posted in POLICY
Tagged 21ST CENTURY GRANTS, ALPHA & OMEGA EDUC SVC LLC, ANNETTE SAUSSER, BARBARA WESTON, BENNIE M BROWN JR, BERNARD TED ASCHENBRAND, BEYONKA WIDER, BLADON EDUCATION SERVICES, BPM CONSULTING, BROOKS GROUP, Budget Cuts, CASENEX, CASEY ELLISOR, CHARLES DEAN CRABTREE, CHRISTINE B SANDERS, CINDY LUE MARTIN, CLARKSON PROFESSIONAL, COASTAL VIDEO AND SOUND, COMMAND SPANISH INC, CONNIE M LONG, consultants, contractors, DEBORAH AMMERMAN, DEBORAH L GOOCH, DEBORAH MILLER, DENNIS THOMPSON JR, DIANE COKER, ELIZABETH G MCKINNEY, EVELYN S SMITH, EVERETT WAYNE CHAPMAN, FLORENCE KNIGHT, FRANCES ANNE J MACE, FRANCES B BRADBURN, FRANCIS R SARRATT, FRENCHRIST JACKSON, GARCIA S BYRD, GINA OLIVERIO, GRACE H SALTERS, JAMES E WRIGHT, JAMES G BOARDMAN, JAMES I MELVIN, JANE A EMBLER, JANE W FARRELL, JEFFREY TODD BOOZER, JERRY R KIRKLEY, Jim Rex, JOYCE F HINKSON, JUDITH L CANOVA-CHEATWOOD, JUDY POOLE ORMAN, JULIE VON FRANK, KATHY J KENT, KAY H GOSSETT, KCW CONSULTING LLC, KIMBERLY JORDAN, KIMBERLY R CARMICHAEL, LEE DANNY SHAW, LEE SANDERS HARMON, LIBBY M VAIL-MAYNARD, LINDA ARNAE RANDOLPH, LINDA ELIZABETH HAINS, LINDA FRAZIER, LINDSAY CONSULTING LLC, LISA CARRIGAN, LOVA JEAN BULLMAN, MAE NOTOMA, MARGARET B WALDEN, MARTHA B WILLIAMS, MARTHA CLYATT MESSICK, MARTHA DAVIS, MARTHA WATSON, MAX T JAMISON, MAXINE R SUMPTER, MELANIE MCMILLAN, MEZETTA L HUGGINS, MLS CONSULTING LLC, MOHR EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATE, NANCY E BURCHINS, NANCY J SULLIVAN, NANCY WILSON, NEWTON JAMES & ASSOC LLC, NINA FEEMSTER, ODELL STUCKEY, ORA LEE WILSON, PACKETT COMMUNICATIONS CRP, PAMELA KAY BEGGS, PATRICIA HOLIDAY, PILANT AND ASSOCIATES, PROJECT MGMT GROUP INC, public education, PWS EDUCATIONAL CONSULTING, R WOLFE & ASSOCIATES, RANDY CHRISTMAS, RHONDA CORLEY, RHONDA GARRETT, RICHARD S THOMPSON, ROBERT KIRTON, ROBIN RICHARDSON, RONALD D MILES, ROSANNE D MONTJOY, ROY H FORBES, SANDIE J ELLIS, SARAH J WILSON, SC COMMUNITY ENTERPRISE, SHELLEY HAMILL, SHERRILL HALL JACO, SONJIA HAMPTON, SONYA BALL, South Carolina public schools, Spending, STRATEGIC INNOVATIONS, SUE J HINES, Superintendent Jim Rex, SUSAN E LONGSHORE, SWANSON EDITORIAL INC, SYSTEM WIDE SOLUTIONS INC, THOMAS B WARREN, TITUS DUREN LLC, TRINA STRICKLAND RANDLE, VIRGINIA P CAPPS, VT ENTERPRISES LLC, WANDA J ROBINSON, WENDY RENEE AUTHER, WYNN MARTIN SMITH, YVONNE JONES, Zeke Stokes
Marion Mullins Christian School is able to educate children in K-12 for a tuition of $2,000 a year. Ms. Esther Sawyer, a longtime employee of the school, calls Marion Mullins “the poor man’s private school,” and has no shortage of stories about low-income parents who struggle to pay even this low tuition.
This news may come as a surprise to some opponents of school choice, who like to make the uninformed assumption that private schools are all elitist institutions pandering to affluent South Carolinians. Additionally, those who have condemned the effectiveness of a tax credit or scholarship to actually help families may be forced to reconsider. Even a $2,500 tax credit would be an incredible help to a family struggling to pay the school’s $2,000 tuition. In contrast to Marion Mullins Christian, local public schools in Marion District 7 have an amazing $14,761 to spend per student!
All around the state schools like Marion Mullins are serving -often low income- families that want something other than what local public schools have to offer. Lawmkers need to bear in mind these real educational needs, and the schools that are willing to meet them for next to nothing.
The Anderson Independent-Mail posted an article detailing a speech by Jim Rex to the Oconee Alliance. In his speech, Rex bemoaned the possibility of more state budget cuts, and urged public schools to adopt a “culture of innovation” to help deal with decreasing resources.
“We’re all going to have to be more innovative; a lot of the solutions of the past just won’t work anymore,” Rex said. “We need a culture of innovation.”
In addition to calling for fiscal responsibility, Rex called the current zip code based system for school attendance an “antiquated notion,” a statement with which most families would eagerly agree. Continue reading
Posted in POLICY
Tagged Educational Effectiveness, Inez Tenenbaum, Jim Rex, open enrollment, PACT, School Choice, South Carolina, South Carolina Department of Education, South Carolina public schools, Spending, testing, wasteful spending
The idea of an “economic downturn” has yet to penetrate into the consciousness of some South Carolina bureaucrats.
Even though families are cutting costs and tightening their belts, school district administrators are demanding even more money.
Superintendent Joseph Pye is hardly running Dorchester School District 2 on a shoestring budget. The South Carolina Department of Education reports that-in 2007 alone- the district had expenditures of well over $214 million dollars. This amount of spending works out to over $10,000 per student.
Despite this considerable funding, Superintendent Pye had no qualms about demanding that taxpayers in Dorchester County hand over $2.8 million more than the funding required by state law! Continue reading
Tagged budget, Dorchester 2, economic downturn, Joseph Pye, Spending, superintendent, taxpayers, transparency, transparency and accountability, waste, wasteful spending
$30 million in bureaucratic spending growth has to come from somewhere!
Parents and teachers in Anderson County are wondering how an economic down turn will affect their public schools.
According to Betty Bagley, Superintendent of Anderson County School District 5, classrooms are going to bear the brunt of the funding cuts.
Bagley estimates that the cuts will result in $900,000 less for the district, which will “require” a teacher hiring freeze and ultimately lead to larger class sizes for students.
The blame for the district losing money- according to Bagley- falls squarely on the legislature for limiting the local districts’ ability to continually raise single family home property taxes.
Never mind that Anderson District 5′s schools already enjoy a combined $11,021 in total local, state and federal per student funding. Anderson 5 officials want the ability to continue raising taxes. Continue reading
The Spartanburg Herald Journal rightly takes the SC General Assembly to task in a blistering editorial titled “Failure to set priorities.” Completely disregarding projected shortfalls in the state budget, legislators have staunchly refused to touch the millions of tax dollars they have stored away for personal pork barrel projects.
From the article
“A committee voted last week to give $10 million to a collection of lawmakers’ pet projects despite the fact that the state budget is in trouble and lawmakers know they may have to come back to Columbia later this year to deal with shortfalls.
The committee spent $10 million of the $18 million in the Competitive Grants Program, which actually involves no competition. The program simply allocates money to the favored local projects of lawmakers.”
So Where Does it All Go?
(hint: SC Ranks 11th in administrative spending)
The US Census Bureau has released its latest Education Finance Report, comparing the K-12 spending of US states in the 2005-06 school year.
While the Census report uses numbers lower than those released by the SC Budget and Control Board (here), the report is useful for comparing South Carolina directly to other states using a singular methodology.
The report ranks combined local, state, and federal spending with adjustments for state personal income. South Carolina ranks 17th of the 50 states, with almost $56 in K-12 spending per $1,000 of personal income.
This ranking is based on a Census figure of $8,091 per pupil in spending for South Carolina. The actual figure released by the SC Budget and Control board for 2005-06 was $10,666. Lawmakers estimate that per-pupil spending will reach an astonishing $11,480 in 2009.
Still, politicians continue to clamor for more and more spending on public schools (rather than better spending on public education). The cry for more money is a ploy, intended to distract taxpayers from the sustained failure of public schools in South Carolina. The 47 percent high school completion rate and 49th place SAT scores will not be resolved through more money. In fact, by many measures performance at public schools is actually worsening as the spending continues to grow.
Policy makers need to be honest: more and more money for failing public schools and administrative waste will not help South Carolina’s children. Opening the schools to competition through school choice will. This means more money for public schools (since choice costs less), more accountability, and freedom for parents to choose what is best for their children.