It’s no wonder that I’ve had my share of critics speak out in recent months. Perhaps the most common statement that I’ve heard is that the school budget is too complicated for me to understand, let alone appreciate. And while I’ve never claimed accounting as a strength, I’m not convinced that I’m incapable of appreciating the nuances of this budget.
I initially approached the subject from a high-level perspective. When challenged, I consulted the details and began asking questions. Initially, my questions were answered. But once I established a basic understanding and started asking tougher questions, I met with much more resistance. In fact, many of the answers that I was provided started making less and less sense, which, of course, led to more questions. This eventually led to silence from the powers that be.
Had they chalked me up to being incapable of understanding or had I hit some nerves? I have to believe the latter given much of the feedback I’ve received from a variety of folks. In fact, I’ve had the likes of other elected officials, engineers, and even a mathematician express not only an understanding for my plight, but also their support. And I’m not ashamed to say that all of these people are much more educated, if not more intelligent, than I. They get me; more importantly, they get “it.”
One final reason I have to believe that I’m not as clueless as some would like me to believe is this – I’ve heard from more than one source that a few school board members have admitted to having their own struggles in understanding both the allocations and the math. Try as they may, they seem to be at the mercy of the superintendent and his staff and thus, defer to their judgment instead of insisting on answers. I don’t know how valid this assertion is, but even if it is only partially true, I have to wonder why. Who is really holding the power and how did they get it?