Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CCSD School Budget Charades Successful Again

Mike Bobby could tell the taxpayers of Charleston County that the Charleston County Schools operate on a shoe-string, and no one could disprove his assertions. Most people looking at the proposed budget will immediately flash back to those days sitting in algebra class, when X2 + 4xy + 3Y2 needed to be factored. In a sentence, "Let me out of here!"

On the other hand, those knowledgeable regarding accounting will immediately flash back to prior chief financial officers and their sleight-of-hand numbers. Despite the requests and pleas for clearer outlines of expenditures, no such clarity has developed. The public, to put it bluntly, is "foiled again." And that will become "taxed again."

This week's public hearing reported in Wednesday's paper (School Budget Could Mean Tax Increase) was a charade to provide cover for the coming tax increase--and it will come! Supposedly three "community" members (i.e., non-CCSD-attached) attended the hearing; however, the only one who spoke, Jon Butzon, is a community member in the same sense that Nancy McGinley is: not. No one who has attended closed-door sessions of the School Board could represent the community at large, and anyway, he represents the Mayor! Holding a barely publicized meeting at 5 p.m. on a Tuesday was guaranteed to keep naysayers away.

Ask yourself: if the meeting had kept secret from the public, how many fewer participants would there have been? What does that answer tell you about how well it was publicized? Instead, 75 Calhoun rounded up the usual suspects from employees who have a vested interest in getting as many dollars as possible (and I don't mean "for the children"). CCSD Board members in favor of a tax increase (all but two--Ravenel and Kandrac) arranged their "cover" by voting initially for no increase. CFA Bobby obligingly came back with a budget in which, as his fellow conspirator Toya Green puts it, "the cuts that would be required if no tax increase is passed would be so painful that [. . .] those in the majority would approve some sort of increase." Which they planned all along.

These folks "in the majority" are more than happy to raise taxes. Let's not forget that those elected to the Board in the last election, those that constitute the majority in favor of this tax increase won thanks to the endorsement of the Charleston County Democratic Party.

The idea that we have a non-partisan school board is as ludicrous as thinking that this one doesn't want to raise taxes. We're stuck with them for now. Will voters' memories be long enough to "throw the bums out"?


Anonymous said...

Here's a direct quote from Mike Bobby. The reason CCSD and the authors of the proposed General Operating Budget are going for the 5+ mill school tax increase is because "it is the maximum increase allowed by law". Honestly, that was how Mike Bobby began his justification for the millage increase. The stimulus funding has now been confirmed. Don’t forget this additional funding was not included in the original budget proposal and since the first reading additional cuts for non-academic spending have been identified. This includes the totally unnecessary multi-million dollar reserve should Drayton Hall Elementary convert to a charter school which is highly unlikely to happen during this fiscal year. That’s even if the DH parents win their case in court next October. All of this virtually eliminates CCSD’s deficit. Do you think Mr. Bobby has dropped the tax increase? Nope! It's still in there. After all, it is the maximum allowed by law. They (CCSD, McGinley, Hampton-Green and Bobby) intend to take it (from the rest of us). Just don't expect any of these funds to show up in a majority of the classrooms or public schools located in Charleston County.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Mike Bobby, but isn't he the guy who miscalculated the amount of the deficit and scared everyone for months? Wasn't that a $15 million 'error?' and no one said a thing. Egad.

babbie said...

Miscalculated like a fox, I think.