It's that time of the year again, when school boards sell the public a bill of goods and hapless reporters brainlessly miss the truth.
You've already begun to read it in your local newspapers. The board worked tirelessly to "pare down" spending . . . there were "painful cuts" made . . . the school budget is now "bare bones". . . districts cut into reserves to "trim taxes" everyone's exhausted from their efforts but thank god property owners will be happy to learn how diligently school board members worked to "cut spending."
When a budget gets "Pared Down" it DECREASES. When "spending is cut," TAXES GO DOWN. It's always the same, every year in every district. It starts off with warnings about a double digit increase. Then, after great minds take a sharpened pencil to proposed spending, the tax increase comes down to six percent or so. Then exhausted but happy school board members and school superintendents smile wearily and pat themselves on the back.
Here is how the news release should read. Simply plug the names of your school district in.
John Smith, president of Acme School District announced that there will be yet another tax increase this year, the 33rd consecutive year the school board has accomplished this feat.
"We heard the complaints from our beleaguered property owners that they can no longer make ends meet," Smith said, "but in the end they were no match for the teachers who threatened to wear black t-shirts and behave really badly if we didn't cave in to their exorbitant salary demands."
Sally Jones, president of the teachers union, said she was proud that her members recognized the sagging economy and the toll it has taken on taxpayers. "That's why we only demanded a three percent pay hike to go with our three percent step raise and also why we agreed to continue to pay one percent of our health insurance premiums – because we care."
Brenda Brown, president of the PTA, was happy a compromise has been reached. "We want our spoiled kids to get every conceivable perk a school can give them, no matter how much it costs, even if most of them can barely read. As soon as my kid graduates we're moving out of town because my husband lost his job so what do we care?"
"I know $280,000 seems like a high salary for a school superintendent," said Bob Bombolini. "But its costs me 10 grand a year just to be a member at my private golf and tennis club. I don't see why I should pay for that out of my own salary – after all, it's all about the students."