Where are education dollars being spent?

Randy Boyd

Mississippi State Auditor Shad White has made several cases across Mississippi. He has had success in finding money that has been taken from Mississippi Taxpayers. Everyone has been very happy with his work. This week a report was released that I have been asking for over the last 8 years. I have repeatedly said that I am pro classroom and pro teacher. In my opinion we are way too top heavy. Where are we spending our education dollars? I have been saying that the antiquated MAEP formula funds the administration dollars more than dollars to the classroom. State Auditor White’s report shows the growth of the money spent in Non-Instructional and Administrative far exceeded money spent for Instruction. Instructional spending includes teacher salaries and benefits, like health insurance and retirement, as well as direct classroom resources to help students. Why were the administration costs growing substantially more than teacher salaries? Why have we as parents, grandparents, and Legislators allowed this to happen? This report does not relate only to the local school districts. It shows total growth of each area of expense inside and outside of the classroom. The last time I asked the State Superintendent, there were 495 employees and 325 contractors located in the MDE Building in Jackson. Does it take 820 people to support 140 school districts? That is almost 6 people per district. We have district personnel who accumulate school data on computers. We have computers to compile that data in Jackson. That doesn’t make sense to me. It, also, doesn’t make sense that our State Superintendent is the highest paid in the nation. The Mississippi State Board of Education hired her. They, obviously, thought money wasn’t a problem. When President Obama signed an executive order allowing boys in the ladies restrooms in schools, more than thirty legislators (including me) signed a letter asking for her resignation. She had moved to allow this to happen in Mississippi schools. Thankfully, the Governor stepped in and said that would not happen in our state; she rescinded her order. Teachers have been told they can’t have supplies, because the Legislature has cut us again? This report should open some eyes. We have heard from the Parents Campaign (A misnomer!). They call this report by our State Auditor a misrepresentation. They say they represent parents, teachers and students. I am angry as a State Representative and a parent. And yes, since I now have two grandchildren in the public school system I am angry as a grandparent. Teachers should be letting their voice be heard. The Parents Campaign is not representing you or parents. They have misled you before. Nancy Loome is just an ordinary LOBBIST, who garners a large salary representing her client’s interest. Her clients are not teachers and parents. I am including the link to the State Auditor report on the department’s website. It is a 3-page report (Including easy to understand graphics.) by our State Auditor. I implore all to read it in its entirety. http://www.osa.ms.gov/documents/Special_Reports/Education_Report_2019.pdf

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Call me if I can assist you; cell 662-231-0133 or email landtree@nexband.com. God bless, Randy.

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