By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… I am looking forward to the release of the final, final, FINAL 2017-18 Budget of the Clark County School District.
The first final budget was presented to the public on May 17, 2017. The second final budget was presented sometime in October or November in an over 260-page document entitled Comprehensive Annual Budget Report for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2018.
Both of these documents showed a $64 million-dollar difference in funds allotted the district by state and local taxes and the expenditures of the district. In each of these documents, that deficiency is covered by a portion of the 80 million dollars carry over from the year before. Apparently the state and local taxes overfunded the district by 80 million dollars in 2016-17; however, the district failed to praise the state and local people for this windfall. This carry-over made it possible for the district to balance the budget with a remaining carry-over of over 47 million dollars.
According to the budget documents, the General Operating Budget of CCSD for 2017-18 school year funding amounted to $2,332,380,500. The expenditures total $2,397,263,500. That my friends is not a 64-million-dollar shortfall; that is 64 million dollars of over-spending.
The district covered the over-spending by using the funds available from underspending from the previous year. This is the same as when you and I come up short by overspending in a month. We don’t go to our employer and ask for more money to cover our over-spending; we use money we have saved.
While the district claims it has to cut millions of dollars to make up for their overspending, I would contend that for the most part the need for cuts does not exist and did not happen.
I would further draw your attention to the fact that the General Operating Budget is only about half of the dollars the people of Clark County will spend on the CCSD during the 2017-18 school year. If one includes the rest of the district budget one would find that the total funding for CCSD is $4,762,732,199.
Yes, that is almost 5 billion dollars. Using figures provided by the CCSD budget document, that computes to $14,816 per student. When one includes the entire budget of CCSD, there will be a $606,901,108 carry-over of funds at the end of the 2017-18 school year, not a deficit. I will remind you these are not my numbers, these are the district numbers found in their budget documents.
So why the outcry about the non-existent underfunding? It is a political move to blackmail the state legislature to spend more tax dollars on education in Clark County.
Trustee Young blamed two legislative programs for the irresponsible over-spending. She blamed the requirements of AB 469, the reorganization of CCSD law; and she blamed AB 488 the Achievement School District law. The Achievement School District has not taken effect and the District has not complied with AB 469. Someone needs to explain how AB 469, which is now law under NRS 388 G, has cost the district any additional dollars since the District has refused to comply with the law on any level.
The District will disagree with my assessment of CCSD’s noncommitment to reorganization, but I would challenge them to show me where they have complied. They may say that School Organizational Teams (SOT) have been functioning. That is true but they are nothing more than a parent/teacher/student advisory group. These groups cost the district nothing as no members are paid and they have no effect on how much money appears in the local school budgets.
The final decisions on how the money is spent in the local schools is still controlled by the School Associate Superintendent, a central office employee. For all the smoke and mirrors of the last year, nothing has changed and it surely has not affected the District financially.
A former first lady, Sandy Miller, believes she has the answer to the problem. The people of Nevada need to institute a state income tax.
“We advertise ourselves as a free place to live, nobody pays taxes and this is the result when people don’t have a responsibility to support our social services, to support our health department,” she said.
I am not sure, but she sounds like she forgot she was at a school board meeting. We are talking schools here not Medicare. Do the people of Nevada really want to join states like New York where the people pay their first $10,000 to $18,000 of their income to the state government? I would contend almost 5 billion dollars in tax support for CCSD schools would not indicate that the people of Nevada pay no taxes.
The cuts voted on by the Trustees are of interest. On a 4-3 vote, the Trustees voted to cut a School Associate Superintendent (SAS) positon. This move may have saved the district up to a quarter of million dollars. Apparently, the Superintendent failed to tell Trustees Garvey, Childs, and Young who voted no to the position cut, that the position had already been done away with when one of the SAS had resigned.
Instead of replacing the individual, the Superintendent merely disbanded the rural school performance zone and folded those schools into an existing zone. The board was not voting on whether to close down a performance zone; they were merely confirming the action of the Superintendent.
Fortunately for us, Moapa Valley schools were attached to Performance Zone 2 under the command of Mr. Grant Hanevold who understands the rural schools. I am not so sure other rural schools are as fortunate.
Another cut in the budget was $683,641 in “nonessential” central office travel. I am always amazed when a government agency cuts “nonessential” anything from a budget. One must ask why would “nonessential” activities of any kind be taking place on the taxpayers’ dime?
The major part of the $25 million-dollar cut was to come from position cuts, 136 of which were unfilled. How do you cut a position that is unfilled? If indeed the district cuts 200 filled positions, we should soon be hearing from the unions representing those 200 people.
I am waiting in great anticipation for the final, final, FINAL budget of CCSD. I believe we will find that there are not cuts and that indeed with the help of the carry-over funds, the district will present a balanced budget as required by law.
Thought of the week…Everything is interesting if you go into it deeply enough.
— Richard Feynman