My Thoughts on the “New” Budget

I may have been away for a good part of the summer with moving and all (and it’s good to be back, by the way), but rest assured that I’ve been still following with intense scrutiny what’s been happening downtown, particularly in the way of how our Board has been spending money (or not spending money).

In focus, I do have some concerns with the bulked-up budget that was passed earlier this week (see the News & Record story here or the High Point Enterprise story here for more coverage).

Sliced and diced from the new budget was the following:

Twenty (that’s 20) middle school reading and math teachers. 20. A savings of $907,000. I have a problem when vital classroom positions such as these are cut.

An unknown number of teaching positions in our elementary schools, saving nearly $450,000, along with leaving seven vacant social worker positions unfilled; a savings of $451,000. Ditto…again, in my opinion, anything that is classroom-related and is cut, I’m very uneasy about it.

What was saved? The continuing pilot program to reduce suspensions.

“Despite what we think, this board of education and this school system will not be able to educate children by themselves,” board mem­ber Amos Quick said earlier this week.

I still think non-classroom rampant spending remains out of control and while vacant central office positions will remain unfilled as a result of the budget, top-level salaries will not be shaved. Central Office remains too top-heavy, and not enough of that is trickling down to the classroom.

On the new “twilight school” concept, which GCS says will better transition our middle school students to high school, I’m hopeful it will work, but the jury’s out. Grier’s mass of programs that don’t work are costly in the long run, but we’ll have to see how it goes.

E.C. 🙂

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