Chairman Peterson, members of the Board of Supervisors,
I work for a county that celebrates and proudly proclaims, “We do more with less.”
I am the less…with which you do more.
Less is not good enough. I am less and less valued. It may not have been the intention for the board to disrespect teachers, firemen, police, and other public servants. However, when major changes take place, we should be openly and actively invited into the conversation. What do we have if we do not have respect? Recently a member of the board addressed one of my constituents about his salary. That board member said, “That’s sad, you have taught for 11 years and you only make $43,000.” Unfortunately, he stopped at that statement. I was hoping to hear more, but all I heard was, “That’s sad!”
There was a time when the order of respect went like this: Lawyers, doctors, teachers. Today, teachers are a necessary evil…like death and taxes. When we speak, we are only whining or complaining. I am doing neither.
I am asking that my fellow citizens take care of and care for their children with the same love and concern that my colleagues and I have.
If our community believes that efficiency reviews and balancing the budget are more important than human interaction, I will make no qualms. We did not enter education to help our pocketbooks. We entered to help our children.
In 2007, our county had actual revenues of $199.3 million (of which $116.8 million came from general property taxes). In that same year, the county allocated $92.7 million of its available funds to the school budget. In FY 2014, the county is projecting total revenue of $204.8 million (of which $123.8 million is generated from general property taxes). In that same year, the county is planning to allocate $89.8 million to our schools.
In 2007, the county spent $49.4 million on county administration salaries and $29.6 million on operating expenditures. In the upcoming budget, the county is expecting to spend $72.1 million on administration salaries and $27.3 million on its operating budget. This equates to more than 50% growth in government from 2007 to 2014.
Therefore, we are in a conundrum. Our board of supervisors appears to be supporting the growth of government at the expense of social services. Our board has found ways to cut operating costs by $2.3 million, but it has increased county salaries by $22.7 million. More grossly unjust, it has taken $2.9 million from education. This equates to a 3% reduction in education services from 2007 to 2014.
All of these figures come directly from the county budgets found on the board of supervisors’ website. The comparisons are dollar for dollar. They do not take into account inflation.
My question is this: “If the county is generating $3.5 million more in revenue than 2007, why is the school budget cut $2.9 million?” On the surface it appears that we do not need to raise taxes. Rather, it appears that we have misallocated or we need to reallocate funds. Are we doing more with less or less with more? I cannot tell. How about this… let’s do more for our children.