Wednesday, November 25, 2009

School funding shortfalls...the irony of it all.

Other Side addressed school funding issues in this post.

We recall reading that the School Board was going to file a formal letter of concern with 'responsible' state officials regarding the curtailment in General Purpose Aid to Education.

Reflecting on the larger situation, an irony presented itself.

Some readers may consider what follows to be insensitive; so be it. Other Side is guilty of many things; being overly sensitive is not one of them.

Brunswick looks like it will lose about $665,000 in direct state aid to education, or about 2% of the current school budget of about $33 million. Enrollment is declining by far more than that as the base closes, but I don't have the exact number handy. But as we all know, factors that would reduce spending are irrelevant in such matters; only those things that would hamper spending increases, or preserve the status quo, are worthy of public notice and discussion.

It occurred to me that the heartburn over GPA reductions is coincident with the start of new school construction, calling for an increase in revenue from the state to cover the lion's share of construction costs. In round numbers, at the same time we're looking at a $665,000 reduction in one account, we're looking at something like a $2 million a year increase from the state to reimburse us for construction debt service. I haven't read about the School Board filing a formal letter thanking the state for their free money, but I'm sure it's in the job jar.

That's the theory anyway. As mentioned here before, at some point every state "promise" becomes negotiable, and revenue projections continue to worsen as time moves on.

If the state can't meet GPA promises, how will it meet construction promises? You tell me. Option 1 is that it could renege on the deal, claiming possible bankruptcy as an excuse. Or, it could borrow money to help us pay for the borrowing we are doing.

That's just dumb enough to make sense for government. Let's see; Brunswick borrows about $20 million, meaning we have to pay back about $30 million with interest. The state borrows about $30 million to pay our debt service, meaning they (we) have to pay back about $40 million. So if things work out right, the cost of the school could be twice the purchase price.

Hey, it's only money, and surely our local paper's editors can find a way to blame the whole thing on someone else.

Oh wait...I have one more idea. The state could pay for the school by further defaulting on Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals and other service providers. They already owe the hospitals more than $400 million; what's another hundred million or so among friends?

Especially when the hospitals (and doctors, etc) have such good credit and such swollen cash accounts to pay salaries and current expenses.

"What's in your wallet?"

1 comment:

  1. Would that the scribe could and would transmogrify into a 21st Century Town Cryer in a multimedia sense.

    Thinking here of a Podcast.

    Briiliant post!!!

    Distribution and mind share are called for most definitely.