The Associated Press has just released an article detailing Jim Rex’s new plan for greater local autonomy in school budgeting.
According to the initial story, “Rex spokesman Jim Foster said districts want freedom from following some state mandates including holding classes for 180 days.”
But there is much more to this story.
In fact, while SCRG President Randy Page has argued for smart-funding or so-called weighted student “back-packing” there has been sharp resistance from Jim Rex’s budget director John Cooley and other top officials at the Education Department.
Mr. Page of SCRG has made the case for a streamlined weighted student formula on editorial pages of the Greenville News (7/9/08), the Times and Democrat (7/22) and the State Newspaper (8/4). This sort of common sense reform would bypass the tight programmatic and categorical funding limitations that have been developed by state bureaucrats in Columbia.
Speaking of the announcement by Jim Rex, Randy Page explained:
“It is encouraging to hear that despite years of finger pointing, state officials have finally concluded that teachers and principals need the freedom and authority to make their own decisions about money and instruction. We expect Mr. Rex to formally support a streamlined single weighted formula for per-pupil spending once the legislature convenes in January.”