[Warning – unabashed political rant ahead]
I’ve been rather quiet on the subject of our idiot governor and his refusal to apply for stimulus funds. Now that the matter is settled, I wish that my former classmate would just shut up and slink away until his term is up. This has been a case of the worst type of political grandstanding at the expense of the citizens of our state.
Whether or not you agree with the concept of stimulus funds in general is moot. The funds had been allocated. If Sanford had not applied for them the funds would have been redistributed to other states. Yet, the people of South Carolina would still have had to pay for the stimulus funds through our taxes. It would be a case of us paying taxes but receiving no benefits, and solely because of a grandstanding idiot.
In the recent case, Sanford argued that the state legislature didn’t have the authority to force his hand, according to the state’s constitution. That may be the case with matters pertaining only to the state, but the stimilus legislation was written so that state legislatures could apply for the funds in case they have an idiot governor like we do. I’ve heard that this clause was included in the stimulus bill by Jim Clyburn from SC because he knew what a jerk Sanford could be. I don’t have any confirmation of that, but it makes sense.
So, now the deal is done, and Sanford has to accept the funds. Everyone thinks that things are now all rosy for the schools. Many think we are now flush with cash. When it was announced that the state supreme court would be the arbiter of the case, then again when the ruling was announced I received a flood of phone calls from vendors, each wanting a piece of the stimulus action.
The fact is that revenue levels are down across the board. Even with the stimulus funds our budgets were going to be much smaller for the upcoming year than in years past. There are no extra funds. We’re not flush with cash.
Our district has been more fortunate than most. We haven’t been facing the massive layoffs that some districts have. Everyone who had a job last year still has one for the upcoming year. However, we haven’t filled as many departures. Class sizes will be larger next year, and spending across the board has been cut. Our administrative salaries have been frozen, and teachers will only receive a step increase. It’s still not a great situation.
Right now I’m looking at aging network infrastucture, lower support staffing levels, problems with technology equity across the district, and many other big-ticket items that MUST be done if we are to remain technologically viable. I have real worries that we are rapidly falling behind. The solution is increased funding so that we can pay for these things, but I don’t see that happening.
I guess if I have no money to spend that makes my job really easy. I don’t have to undertake any new initiatives. I can just sit back and play solitaire on my aging PC, in between patching our network and trying to keep ailing computers alive for another year.
[OK, rant over]