Richland 2 Unshaken by Financial Loss
Richland School District 2 will be losing $1.2 million in state funding this year, and district bureaucrats aren't hesitating to point out their own courage in continuing to operate as a district without the money. Consider the following quote from the article "Richland 2 coping with state aid loss" that ran in The State.
Richland 2 will do a little less in classrooms after losing $1.2 million when the General Assembly eliminated a long-time source of money. School leaders held back on allocating the money once envisioned, so there won’t be any cuts in instruction, spokesman Ken Blackstone said...“It’s discouraging not to get it,” Blackstone said. “It certainly could have been put to good use.”
Let's inject some much-needed perspective into this scenario.
In 2011-12, Richland 2 was funded at $12, 025 per student for about 26,000 students. By our estimation, that works out to a budget of $312, 650,000. Based on that budget, the $1.2 million being "cut" by the legislature represents a miniscule 0.38% of the district's total budget. Avoiding instructional cuts after losing 0.38% of a $300+ million budget should be a given, right?
It's easier for establishment bureaucrats to pat themselves on the back for "soldiering on" in spite of merciless budget cuts than it is to confront how much is actually being wasted by the system in the first place. Bear in mind that last year Richland 2 paid $150,000 to commission a study on how to create savings for the district. The study revealed that taxpayers could save more than $57 million in the next 5 years by eliminating dozens of redundent non-instructional positions in the district. The study pointed out that, a "long standing history of essentially autonomous site-based management has led to inefficiencies, a lack of consistency among the schools, and increased costs to the district."
If district leaders were serious about protecting and funding classroom instruction, then wouldn't these recommendations have been implemented?
Maybe the district's full-time spokesman could point out some non-instructional costs that could be eliminated.