Sunday, July 8, 2012

Manhattan Beach Unified: "Crystal Ball Budgeting"

School Districts have a hard time balancing the books.

First, they have to set aside a large and growing reserve of taxpayer dollars to offset the pension and paycheck obligations which weigh on school districts. Even with the growing number of new teachers replacing the old teachers, the pension obligations do not go away.

Then officials have to decide how much to implement and direct for investment, a number which will vary over time, in large part because funding depends on attendance, and student enrollment is static at best in many school districts, distinctly so in school communities with lagging test scores and dangerous conditions for the student body.

Depute Superintendent Rick Bagley of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District acknowledged that the school district is spending more than taking in. However, he discusses the matter as if the school district is a business, when schooling is a public entity financed by the coerced output of distanced taxpayers.

Superintendent Mike Matthews added, "We're kind of the in the crystal ball business here," when it comes to budgeting for the next school year.

Then again, playing with other people's money in many ways lacks both the transparency and the clarity which psychics and mediums claim to possess. The whole matter is just nonsense, expecting school districts to depend on Sacramento to disburse the necessary funds per pupil every year.

Collection of public revenue for public education must remain as local as possible. Why should taxpayers see more of their money wasted just in the transfer of wealth from South to North and back again? When will the voters in the South Bay demand transparency from their leaders, demanding that an itemized account of expenditures?

"Crystal Ball Budgeting" is a maddening proposal which has no place in public education. The loose sources of revenue must be tied to stable sources and exempted from the overreach of unaccountable bureaucrats.

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