|Of course, funding is an issue, but where's the money going?|
Oregon’s Education Funding Team Recommendations: Let’s Run Some Numbers
by Tom Olson of Oregon Save Our Schools
Earlier this year, Governor Kitzhaber appointed an “Education Funding Team” to recommend investments in public education. The Team has now unveiled a set of recommendations crafted in six secret meetings, under the direction of a covey of highly-paid private consultants. Kitzhaber ordered the Funding Team meetings to be closed to public scrutiny. (Salem Statesman-Journal, June 9, 2012).
The Oregon Education Investment Board has now held six “public forums” around the state to get public reaction. Reaction has been overwhelmingly incredulous and negative.
Here are few numbers that might explain the reasons for the public outrage:
“$ 0”—that’s the amount of increase the Funding Team is recommending for state basic school support for the next biennium. NOTHING! The only investments proposed by the Funding Team are in more state bureaucracy and “order-giving.” This Team apparently wasn’t bothered about the $3 billion gap between current funding and Quality Education level funding! Nor did they blink at the “F” grade given Oregon’s public education funding effort by a new national study by Rutgers University. Nor did they worry that 7,000 teachers have been laid off in the past two years. And apparently they’re quite satisfied that Oregon now ranks #37 among the states in per pupil funding (down from 15th a decade ago)
$225,000 ----that’s the amount of the private consultants’ generous state contract to run the 6 secret Funding Team meetings to craft the recommendations. That’s a per-meeting consultant cost of $37,000! Want another number? $300----that’s the allowable per-hour consultant rate under this state contract.
“$100,000 and up”---that’s the salary level of five of eight of the new state bureaucrats hired by “Chief Education Officer” Rudy Crew Remember also that Crew’s salary is $280,000 per year plus an unbelievably generous array of benefits.
$50 million”---that’s the Funding Team’s recommended “investment” in a state-run “longitudinal data system” that is incomprehensible---even to the Investment Board! Maybe it’s incomprehensible because the system is being designed by highly paid and out-of-touch consultants.
Money should be going into our kids' classrooms not in the pockets of more bureaucracy!