January 31, 2009

Making Education Fit the Budget in Cranston

Justin Katz

The scythe has come out in the Cranston school department:

Gifted and talented programs? Gone. Middle school sports? Gone. Music lessons for children who want to play stringed instruments? Gone.

These programs and others are among the casualties in the budget proposed by Schools Supt. M. Richard Scherza for the coming fiscal year, and the picture could get worse.

Looking to make up for projected cuts in state aid, Scherza has proposed a 2009-10 budget that would raise spending less than 1 percent in the year that begins July 1.

To hold to that figure, he has eliminated a number of programs not required by law, regulation or contract, creating a list of casualties that also includes a summer reading program for elementary students, and hockey and girls cross-country at Cranston High School East.

That's in addition to cutting positions — five technical assistants, a social worker, an elementary guidance counselor, a special-education administrator — and reducing spending in a number of areas, including library books, supplies and transportation.

With that in the news, I thought I'd add Cranston to my series of charts illustrating per-student spending trends in a number of Rhode Island municipalities:

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And that's what happens when the teachers take all the money.

Posted by: thinkaboutit at January 31, 2009 12:19 PM

And that's what happens when dopey, shoulder-shrugging taxpayers sit on their collective asses and let the likes of Pat "I struggle with Basic Math" Crowley falsely assert the teacher's pay is NOT keeping up with Inflation, when in fact it outpaces the rate of inflation by mindboggling amounts.

That is what happens when dopey do-nothing Taxpayers sit on their apathetic asses and refuse to demand Pension reform for our 42-year-young Retiree "heroes".

Posted by: George Elbow at January 31, 2009 1:22 PM

To those who wrote their comments before me, AMEN! When education becomes student/children focussed, and not about adult entitlements, then we will see scores going up, and businesses flocking to RI. I suppose union hack Pat will say we should have the students unionized, paying some dues, if they want a decent education. Nothing like shaking down a grade schooler.

Posted by: kathy at January 31, 2009 5:27 PM

Three years ago in Coventry, due to budget constraints, middle school sports were due to get cut. Nearly the entire cost of MS sports was for coaching salaries. The coaches (nearly all are teachers) stepped forward and offered to coach without getting paid. The union prevented this, claiming that the teacher contract stipulated that these had to remain paid positions. The coaches then offered to be paid $1 so that they would not be “unpaid” and sports would be reinstated. The union then announced that those coaching positions were “union jobs” and they weren’t giving them up. Middle school sports got cut and were lost until the second half of the year when 2 private citizens restored sports with their own money.

My guess is that there is a similar dynamic with the loss of school sports programs in all districts. In the future if a district doesn’t want to risk losing it’s sports programs from year to year due to budget cuts, they should TAKE THE COACHING POSITIONS OUT OF THE TEACHER CONTRACT! If you took sports out of the contract you would also open up the coaching positions to a much wider pool of candidates. It would be a win/win.

This is just one more example of how the teacher union leadership doesn’t give a crap about the kids … or the community … or the taxpayers. As I have said before, unions are inherently evil.

Posted by: Frank at January 31, 2009 7:12 PM

It's a shame that this happened in Coventry, Frank. I think it's more than just coaches. A good number of services provided in our public schools should be privatized. Schools hire too many full-time, contractual employees.

Posted by: mikeinRI at January 31, 2009 7:47 PM

"Gifted and talented programs? Gone. Middle school sports? Gone. Music lessons for children who want to play stringed instruments? Gone."

Retre at 41 with full pensions COLA's, paid holidays, free health care, unifor allowance, etc? Still there (unless one "becomesdisabled" first).


Posted by: Mike at January 31, 2009 8:38 PM
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