Who’s Teaching Who?

I must once again give a nod to the Associated Press for pointing out in a news story dated 1/13/09 stating that “School administrators AREN’T expected to back a plan to dictate school spending from the Capitol.”

Nor should they. Under the bill (LB240) introduced by Omaha’s State Senator Pahls, it would be mandatory for school districts to spend no less than 65% of their tax dollars on “classroom instruction.” I’m not sure where Senator Pahls came up with that magic number, but I AM sure that the people who know how to best spend their money are the local school boards. I suppose that it is most certainly within the legislature’s power to make such a decision… but is it within their right? More importantly, is it prudent?

As active and educated voters, ALL Nebraskans should have every right to tell their elected officials (in this case, their local school boards) how their tax dollars should be spent. This bill gives the voter less authority. You vote for ALL of the school board members in your district – You only vote for ONE state senator.

This certainly looks like another bill that we need to keep an eye on.


1 Comment

Filed under Education Committee, Nebraska Legislature

One response to “Who’s Teaching Who?

  1. nebraskaliberty

    You’re right–we need to keep an eye on this one. Most schools (and most businesses) spend close to 80% of their budget on costs associated with personnel. How do we determine what is to be included in that 65%? Is it just teacher’s salaries? What about paraprofessionals who help in the classroom? Do the benefits paid to those people count as “direct classroom instruction”? What about the other support staff that help keep classroom instruction running smoothly? This is a goofy number, and would be virtually impossible, I suspect, for schools to certify.

    And as you point out, one of the concerns has to be whether or not the state government SHOULD be dictating this sort of thing. Those who believe in local control of schools ought to let their legislators know that this is not acceptable.

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