The ISD’s throughout Texas and across the country have worked hard to grow their empires. Sources of Education funding ( State, Federal, and local funding) comes to the ISD administration. The small committee of people are tasked with the creation and management of budgets for the respective district. What has occurred through the years is the administration has grown, along with the budget required by the ISD. One could argue there are so many students representing a diverse population both economically and cultually, it is a direct impact on the needs of the community. This point of view is not standing up to scrutiny in the majority of the ISD’s in Texas nor in other states.
We have gone toward an education system where people from prestigious colleges and posessing high visibility in community organizations rule. These people determine how taxpayer dollars will be used in the district. I am not disparaging their qualifications, only to say that the qualifications do not inherently mean they have common sense nor the experience required for a job managing millions of dollars and thousands of students. People in those school districts pay exorbitant amounts of money in school taxes. There is a duty to provide good stewardship of funds and programs to the entire community.
Money does not guarantee a person will excel beyond their wildest dreams. There have been a lot of studies that show when students have it too easy, they don’t necessarily become good citizens. These people continue to expect everyone in society to contribute to their quality of life. A good case in point, is the highly educated people of privilege who brought down Enron. The people making the trade decisions and influencing poor accounting policies were from elite households and had the finest educations. One might also point out without relevant experience, people easily get into trouble on big projects. A good example of the result of lack of experience is the President of the United States.
What are the ISD’s doing to build character within the school community? Is it building character to squander money in the ISD? Are we teaching the children all things are possible with other people’s money? There is no way anyone can convince me that schools should cost in the tens of millions of dollars and be “architectural gem” to provide good educations. Are you getting bids? Are you making smart choices on bond money?
Sadly, the school administrations are not doing a good job. I would suggest the school boards need to be made up of people with varying backgrounds and expertise to counter balance each other and provide well-rounded solutions based on a total approach. There should be a person who truly understands budgets and school financing, a teacher who understands political trickery at schoolboard level, a person who is able to see both sides of an issue and bring good solutions to the table, a person who has experience in IT inclusive of emerging technologies, a person well-versed in state textbook curriculem, a person who possesses knowledge of buildings and structure, and a leader who can facilitate.
The school superintendent should look over the management of teachers and receive the guidance from the School Board. This should be his only job. Simple is better for all concerned, rather than a manifestation of grandiose ideas at the expense of everyone in the community.
Looking into the expenditures of the various school systems in our state, has been eye opening, frustrating, and points to something that has evolved over years of the community not paying attention. The evolution of a corrupt, power hungry, expensive school system in Texas did not happen over night. It will take several cycles to strip away the problems, beginning with school board replacements at local and state level.
What can we do? Please send messages on facebook, email, and twitter to remind everyone of the importance of voting. If you have data on the local candidates, share it! The quality or lack thereof in the education system will directly impact future leaders in our country. It is up to the communities to change current school system challenges.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
Today was spent in Austin speaking with legislators. It was most discouraging to realize what is about to happen with the budget and rainy day (Economic Stabilization) fund. As many of you know, I originally thought we had a reasonable solution with deep cuts and a small portion of the rainy day fund to be used. This was based on the House making every available cut prior to using the rainy day fund. I am completely reversing my original view, based on the new data gained by speaking with numerous legislators and staff.
The House has passed the budget bill. Early next week they will vote on using 3.1B of the Rainy Day Fund (Economic Stabilization Fund) to facilitate a balanced budget. The House did not make enough cuts and want to use part of the Rainy Day Fund to achieve a balanced budget as required by Texas law. The next stop is the Senate.
Today we discovered the Senate will unveil a budget proposal of their own that makes fewer cuts to the budget. Why?
This is not a comfort to taxpayers who supply the revenue to the state . If legislators are unable to make difficult choices, perhaps they should not be on the finance committee. We have a 30B dollar price tag coming in the next session for Medicaid predicated on new federal rules increasing the number of eligible participants. The current bill for Medicaid is approximately 16B. It is imperative to cut discretionary spending and preserve the Rainy Day Fund. The next Biennium there will not be a safety net to help us, other than increasing state revenue possibly with additional taxation.
The hallways were crowded today with special interest groups including a lot of unions and community action groups. The throngs of people were inside the legislative offices and spilling out by the dozens into the hallways. Numerous buses were parked outside. It appeared there are many special interest groups who are definitely making their “votes” heard in the capitol, which will likely result in future burdens to Texans. Is this why the House and Senate are reluctant to make necessary budget cuts? WHY are we funding an arts commission when there is a large shortfall? Why do we still have dozens of other discretionary programs being funded? The Economic Stabilization Fund should not be used when there is so much waste remaining in the budget.
If the Senate passes their proposal, the bill will go to conference as a final step. This means Senate and House committee members will negotiate and arrive at a final budget. This changes everything. The current budget passed by the House, was not the strongest possible budget, but is better than what will be offered by the Senate.
What can we do, to ensure the Senate understands our expectations of making all the necessary budget cuts? The list of individuals below are the members of the finance committee. Call them and say you expect deeper budget cuts than the House bill and that we do not want them to touch the Rainy Day Fund. Ask them to remember Texans are on tight budgets due to rising prices of fuel and food. Texans are making necessary budget cuts in their finances, and we expect the legislature to reflect the same level of fiscal responsibility. There isn’t a good reason to risk the future of Texans by continuing to fund programs not critical to the running of the State. Let’s ensure we have a voice in the Senate plan.
Please call the following people from the Senate Finance Committee and say you want deeper cuts in the Senate Bill and not to touch the Economic Stabilization Fund:
Chairman: Steve Ogden 512-463-0105
Vice-Chair: Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa 512-463-0120
Bob Deuell 512-463-0102
Robert Duncan 512-463-0128
Kevin Eltife 512-463-0101
Craig Estes 512-463-0130
Eddie Lucio, Jr. 512-463-0127
Jane Nelson 512-463-0112
Dan Patrick 512-463-0107
Kel Seliger 512-463-0131
Florence Shapiro 512-463-0108
John Whitmire 512-463-0115
Tommy Williams 512-463-0104
Judith Zaffirini 512-463-0121Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted another stop gap bill to fund the government for 3 more weeks. They cut a few more billion of spending, and thought this would pass the Senate as well. This is a time when the government needs several things from Congress. They need to fund the government through September. This situation has occurred because Democrats were unwilling to pass a budget last year when it should have been done.
The second thing the Government wants, is to raise the debt ceiling. A lot of chat shows have focused on liberal angst including that of the President. The President and liberals were speaking about “dire” consequences if the debt ceiling is not raised. EWWW, I am shaking in my boots that the commander in chief is trying to scare us again. Remember how they tried to convince us of the “emergency” on healthcare?? Nothing has happened. The world didn’t come to an end because it is not implemented yet. Neither the President nor Harry Reid are willing to “negotiate” per the Republican leadership. For some reason the refusal by those two parties to negotiate has disturbed the Conservatives.
Do we care? I say we should not care when people who have shown little regard for the Constitution or the people can’t play well with others. We have known from childhood that leopards do not change their spots.
Realizing the Conservatives can’t negotiate with themselves, as that would be foolish….what about a completely different approach? What if we decided the people’s demands in exchange for extending the government funding? Think of 3-4 major spending cuts and attach it to the bill. If they vote against it, the liberals must not really have a fear of the government shutting down. At that point, the Conservatives need to loudly talk about this, everywhere possible. Use a page from the liberal book! I am certain there have been more serious threats to Congress than we have been privy to in the public. However, we must stand strong, if we have any hope of preventing the further takeover by the government.
Now is the time to use what the liberals want, and get some conservative tactics accomplished. Conservatives have leverage now and appear to be unwilling to “tangle” with the President or the Liberals.
What was most amazing today during the vote, is that 54 Conservatives stood strong and voted no to a bill that satisfies the whims of the liberals and doesn’t do much for the people. Please see the list below of conservatives that stood strong and voted against extending government funding for 3 weeks with no real cuts!
Now we have a plan, my fellow patriots. First we need to call our Representatives and Senators in Washington. The people who are unwilling to make the hard choices, have become an achilles heel to the effort. Make it clear, they better band together and use leverage while they have it. ALL non-critical funding must be cut, as the country is broke. As a taxpayer, I am offended we are giving money to a multitude of United Nations efforts when we are unable to care for our own people. I am offended that we continue to give foreign aide by the billions to countries that hate us. No union, or community action group should get any money. I, the taxpayer refuse to give hundreds of thousands to study frogs. They will definitely get the idea.
The second part of the plan involves reaching out to the 54 courageous people who voted no yesterday in the House. We should ask them what we can do to help. Do they have ideas? At a minimum. we need to thank them for standing up for what is right and for the American People. The list of 54 is below.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
There have been a lot of wakeup calls during the past few years in America. In Texas, we have learned there are major problems in our education. There are people in the ISD’s who are given a $61,000 King Ranch truck to drive for their purposes. In other ISD’s manicures were paid for by the taxpayer. What is wrong? What are we doing?
We have a bloated education budget for the state that has not improved our overall education system. What has occurred is a lot of administration has been added at local level with large salaries and amazing perks. This has done nothing for the actual education of the children. It has lined the pockets of many greedy, self-centered individuals. Looking at elimination of bloat, and innovative new ideas for our schools, there is no reason to cut any teacher’s jobs. This would result in an efficient school system that directly benefits the children.
This is a short, to the point blog. The intent is to share a few sources for everyone to get involved in the transformation of their ISD and in the state education system.
Actions to take and resources to utilize:
1. Find qualified new people to run for local school boards and the state school board.
2. Attend all school board meetings.
3. Look at the school budget to see what is going on in the district.
The following resources are for education/assistance/ideas in resolving the bloating education budget in Texas:
1. The Red Apple Project has gone live with a brandnew website that focuses on ideas/information for education reform. It is sponsored by the Texas Chapter of Americans for Prosperity. It is an amazing resource. I’ve spent the last hour on the site, and realize this is a first for our state. Kudos to Americans for Prosperity. Ck it out to learn more about your school ISD: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/021511-grassroots-resource-talking-points-education-spending-texas
2. The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a thinktank in Texas that focuses on research that helps to further best practices in Texas state policies. http://www.texaspolicy.com/publications.php?cat_level=1
3. Governor Rick Perry gave his state of the state speech in January. His speech gave many new ideas for efficient, high quality education without the current high costs. http://www.rickperry.org/issues/education
Citizens of Texas who care about the future of education and the future of Texas have a multitude of resources to get involved, and help with the transformation of education for Texans. Time to roll up our sleeves, and get to it!
It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country.