It is a good example of the mis-information that is now so widely accepted as “common knowledge” regarding school (and government agency) BUDGETS.
But, after reading the post on this blog of March 31, you know more than the average Joe. You know that BUDGETS DO NOT REFLECT THE FUNDS AVAILABLE TO OPERATE an organization. They merely reflect the sums allotted to various expenses and expected incomes for a period of time.
Readers of this blog will now be able to analyze stories such as this one, and know what to focus on to see the deceptions.
And it is NOT an innocent error by these “reporters” from the Herald. They received one of our original mailings of the VCR “The Biggest Game in Town” back in 2000. They are “informed in the premises”, and have knowledge.
That they ignore these facts and fail to report the REAL truth is indicative of their character and intentions. People NEED to know the whole truth in order to make proper decisions. To knowingly deprive them of such truth is a moral and ethical CRIME.
The article in the Herald is below, in its entirety, in italics. I have highlighted the sentences creating this controversy.
The two-year, $7.255 billion state schools budget passed by Democrats in the Oregon House earlier this week won’t harm Baker School District programs, according to the district’s money manager.
Not that Baker schools, along with others throughout the state, couldn’t benefit from more funding, said Doug Dalton, the district’s chief financial officer. But with the planning and innovative measures implemented in the past four years, the district will continue operating much the same as it has in the current school year.
At the March meeting of the Baker School Board, Dalton reported that the district would be down $104 per student based on the $7.235 billion two-year funding plan proposed by the Legislature at that time.
Between that meeting and the Oregon House’s Thursday approval of the $7.255 billion biennium funding, school teachers, administrators, parents and children were lobbying their legislators for increased funding.
Based on the lower funding level, the district would have dropped from about $7,000 per student in State School Support to $6,852, Dalton said.
The higher number will provide $7,035 per child in funding to the Baker School District from the State School Fund.
“It restores us to where we are today,” he said.
Dalton said the additional funding came from three sources. First, the Legislature reduced high-cost disability grants that go to districts with students who have serious disabilities from $35 million to $18 million. Next, the state increased the amount it expects to receive in property tax payments statewide and the two-year budget was split evenly each year.
In past years, the state has allocated 49 percent of the funding in the first year and 51 percent in the second year to accommodate for inflation and other increased expenses.
The new figures, although not yet approved by the Oregon Senate, were forwarded to the districts in time for them to get a jump on their budget planning for next year, Dalton said. (Senators completed a second reading of House Bill 2015 Thursday and are expected to pass it soon.)
Dalton acknowledges that some school districts across the state will be cutting staff and programs because of the limited funding increase.
He stops short of crediting the Baker School District’s good fortune to good luck, however. It has been more a result of good planning, Dalton maintains.
“That’s one of the benefits of long-term forecasting and planning,” he said, adding that in the corporate world where he came from five years ago to join the district, long-terming planning is the norm.
That’s not always the case for school districts, which in past years had been accustomed to receiving a predictable 3-percent to 4-percent increase annually, Dalton said.
But a statewide economic downturn led to erratic funding and sent schools into erratic program changes and staffing cuts.
“Four years ago, we projected what level the state would be funding schools at five to 10 years from now,” he said. “We projected to within less than $100 per student.”
That accurate forecasting allowed the district to be prepared for the proposed state funding for the next biennium, Dalton said.”
So goes the report on the Baker School Board BUDGET. IT IS A FRAUD! IT MISLEADS THE PEOPLE! These administrators KNOW that there is plenty of money in the “surplus funds” used for investment (speculation/gambling) as found in the CAFR, yet they ALWAYS threaten to cut off some important services when they have unexpected expenses of loss of revenue in their BUDGET.
We have not yet seen the local Baker School District BUDGET, but the CAFR for the itty-bitty Harney County Educational District is found on the “CAFR1.com” under “local governments”. On page 24, the money market and investment funds for surplus money showed over $800,000 for their 2012 CAFR! And the Hermiston School District shows over $6,300,000 investment funds for the same period.
For any public entity to keep TWO SETS of books for the purpose of deceiving the public into having to pay MORE TAXES is unconscionable and repugnant.
The Baker City Herald should be ashamed. Doug Dalton should be ashamed. One day soon, the people of Baker County will be made aware of this massive FRAUD against local taxpayers, and we will have another Tea Party.
CAFR Exposes Local and State School Budget Frauds!