The budget shell game

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, October 03, 2003

I'm not sure why Max Mertz, the independent auditor, is the one highlighting the needs of the School District budget instead of the district finance director or district business manager, but I'm glad that the budget is up for discussion.

While Mr. Mertz is shedding light on the woes of our school district budget, perhaps he could answer a few more budget mysteries:

Since the district paid their last $600,000 a year payment for the early retirement program last year, where is that $600,000 going this year?

Since the district saved $69,000 per teacher who retired last year, where is that savings going?

Since the district could afford to create NEW administrative jobs - permanent and temporary - why can't they afford 2 percent raise for JEA members?

Since they could afford pay increases for JESS members and administrators, why can't they afford an equitable pay increase for teachers?

As the district auditor for many years Mr. Mertz, please shed light on where the budget goes and how that has changed over the last 10 years. As I read your reports, the administrative portion of the budget has greatly increased in comparison to the teacher portion.

While I agree with Mr. Mertz that budget times ahead are looking slim, I must admit that the school budget seems more like a shell game during contract negotiation time. Good luck with next year's audit.

Semra Lee



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