Stergios: A painful budget for schools, not state officials

(Fantastic stuff this. – promoted by Garrett Quinn)

Pioneer Institute’s Jim Stergios does yeoman’s work here pointing out the double standard up on Beacon Hill– where they cut local services while increasing spending on already bloated state agencies and offices.…

…[F]rom 2002 to 2009, even as education aid to localities flattened and then decreased in real terms, the DESE’s appetite continued to grow.

In pure overall numbers, it gained only a few positions (from 517 [513 filled] to 521) over the period. But consider this:

•25 new position categories were created, giving any analyst a sense of more diffuse and unfocused activity;

•1 additional highly-compensated deputy commissioner was hired

•1 additional (again, well-compensated) associate commissioner was hired

•There was a 40% increase in state funds spent on salaries, even as the mean salary for mid-range employees such as education specialists went down or were relatively flat (Ed Specialists/D went from $73,000 to $70,000, and Ed Specialists/C went from $64,000 to $67,000)

If you add in the newly minted Education Secretary’s position and Executive Office of Education, which carried a cost of $1 million on salaries and an additional 9-10 new positions, we come to an overall increase of 50% in state funds spent on state education office salaries since 2002. (Wasn’t there also supposed to be another high-level state position created for former Andover Superintendent Claudia Bach?)

All that, as we ratchet back on support for local schools, where the important stuff (teachers teaching and students learning) happens? How is it possible that the state budget grows by 0.2 percent even as localities take another 4 percent hit? After all the hits they have taken in the past two years?

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