It just keeps getting worse.
This morning’s AJC headline: “Critics suspicious of school budget and cuts”
I live in DeKalb County, Georgia. Yesterday, my home magically increased in value by $24,000–just in time for the millage rate increase the school board will have to pass in order to keep its head above water. Oh, wait. The school system’s head isn’t above water. It’s going to finish the fiscal year $6 million in debt and faces an additional $73 million shorfall in the coming year.
The newspaper reports:
Frustration. Suspicion. Outrage.
Those are among the sentiments of parents, teachers and taxpayers in DeKalb County who learned in recent days just how financially damaged their school system is.
While hard times have hit most school systems in metro Atlanta, none has been hit quite as hard as DeKalb. Most districts could turn to cash reserves to cushion the blow of declining tax revenues and increasing costs. In DeKalb though, officials expect to finish this fiscal year in debt. The dire situation and the resulting deep cuts have left many feeling that mismanagement, is to blame.
“It’s ridiculous how much money does not make it into the classroom,” said Bill Armstrong, a parent at a public Montessori school who expects to see teachers eliminated as part of the cuts.
Mismanagement? Ya think? That’s been the consensus among parents in North and South DeKalb since … well, at least since I was a PTA president. We’ve long viewed the school system’s central office as a bloated, incompetent bureaucracy that functioned as a jobs mill for friends and relations of the well-connected. An accident not just waiting to happen, but happening every day. And now the wreck has fallen into a hole. This really stinks.