The new draft bill from the House Education Committee improves on last year’s efforts to centralize control of schools by creating an “opt-out” model instead of a “forced-in” one. Unfortunately, this will do little to reduce the cost of educating our children. The reason school budgets go up is not structural. It is because we have more children living in poverty every year.
Eighty percent of school budgets go to employees. If we don’t deal with poverty, we will need more of them. Look in your town report this year for the list of people working in the schools. You will see grade level teachers, art and music and phys ed teachers, librarians and nurses. You will also see twice as many people listed as academic support, special educator, speech pathologist, school counselor, ESOL teacher, data enterer, intensive supporter, behavior interventionist, and paraeducator. All these people provide the range of services students need to meet today’s standards. Research shows without question that the main consumers of these services are children who live in poverty. We can never reduce school costs if we continue this pattern. […]
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