No matter the issue facing our city, the answer is always taxes are too high and what we need to solve the problem is to cut expenses line-by-line. According to this reasoning, our budgets have buried within them a secret set of expenses, that once vanquished from the income statement, magically transform our tax rates from the highest to the lowest with absolutely no negative impact.
After all, why pore through reams of documents if this is not the underlying ideology?
In the recent school board selections, it was more than clear that the public embraces this notion of expense cutting electing candidates espousing a line-by-line approach. As I mentioned previously, the referendum on the election had nothing to do with academic performance, it was strictly centered on budgets. I should also note that the election, based upon turnout, was a referendum on apathy of the public on governance of the school district.
Lest I be accused of arrogance and condescension, let me try to frame my challenge to this line of thinking (note clever pun) in a polite question:
Given the recent ranking of Amsterdam’s GASD at 80th in school ranking via the Capital District Business Review, what expense(s) should we cut to raise the ranking of the school district? As a follow up, how many dollars of expenses need to be cut from our $50+ million dollar budget to see a significant rise in rankings?
To broaden the question a bit outside of the GASD, Broadalbin-Perth slid from 35th to 49th so let’s ask how much needs to be cut from the BP budget to restore their 2011 ranking.

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7 Responses

  1. I wager you will stump the pundits.
    “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
    – Stephen Hawking

  2. Bill Sheehan says:

    Perhaps school officials (and local gov’t officials as well) just need to wake up to the reality that business as usual is NOT working and a new creative mindset is no longer just an option. Stop coddling the little darlings and deliver the occasional kick in the ass too….it didn’t hurt our generation any.

  3. Tim Becker says:

    To be fair, the opposite question also has to be asked – what expense should be *added* in order to raise the ranking of the school district?

    • flippinamsterdam says:

      $25 to $50k fora study to address academic performance, I’d bet the recommendations from study would outline required programs and expenses.

      • flippinamsterdam says:

        I should also note that the larger point of the post deals with the lack of focus and priority on things outside of a budget line and the very core of the GASD ‘s mission is to deliver academic outcomes– you won’t find or manage that by looking at which expenses to eliminate from the income statement.

  4. Fascinating thought process from inside of the whale:
    When you’re done, check out the parent site from Fordham. So danged smart.

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