Parents and students will rally outside school district headquarters this afternoon to protest cuts being considered to erase a $73 million budget shortfall.The article starts off with the big number fallacy--big numbers given out of context look impressive. The author might as well say 289.5 gazillion; that means about as much sense to the reader. Better yet, the author should have just written the first paragraph like this to achieve the same effect:
"We're drawing a line in the sand," said Helen Gym, a parent activist. "We're calling for a protective order on our schools. There will not be another school cut."
The protest comes in the wake of last week's finger pointing among city and school officials over the budget deficit.
Parents and students will rally outside school district headquarters this afternoon to protest cuts being considered to erase a really super big budget shortfall.Had the journalist lacked an agenda and wanted to accurately report the budget shortfall in an informative way it would have taken five minutes of work.
According to the district's own budget numbers, it had $1.9 billion dollars budgeted for FY 2005/2006 and there were 176,000 students attending schools in the district. Do the math.
A $73 million cut, represents a cut of $414 per student from operating expenditures of about $10,875 per student. (Actually, according to School Matters, the district's total expenditures were $12,761 per pupil in 2004 alone which is a better indicator of the district's profligate spending.)
That's a cut of about 4.0%. Are the tears welling-up yet?
How about if I told you this little nugget from p. 23 of the budget:
Enrollment in District-operated schools continues to decline from about 182,000 to about 176,000 in part due to the DistrictÂs continued support for charter school expansion.Let's do the math: (182,000 -176,000)($10,875) = $65 million. So, if the district trimmed expenses to account for the drop of 6,000 students this year, the cut needed would be only $8 million at best.
And, if the district hadn't built the School of the Future (p. 13), cost $63 million, they'd be running a $55 million surplus.
- The district spends somewhere between about $11k to $13k per student. Cutting $414 per student is like removing a pimple of the ass of this bloated budget.
- The district lost 6,000 students, so cuts should be inevitable and shouldn't affect the quality of education.
- The district wastes a lot of money, such as on boondoogles like the school of the future.
This is one reason why I am down to only getting the Sunday newspaper and, even then, most of them go straight into the trashcan without being read.