Friday, September 28, 2012


One of our DeKalb County School Board members seems unusually obsessed with the System's inability to budget for utilities. This issue is being surfaced over and over to the point one must wonder.

Is this a politically correct way of suggesting incompetence, or even stupidity on the part of budget authors? After all, most folks pay their own utilities and have a pretty good handle on what it will cost month-to-month and year-over-year, so why can't they? They keep telling us how smart they are.

Perhaps it is worse than that. You see there is household budgeting and then there is government budgeting. Here's the difference. In both cases one could grossly under budget for a "must have" like power and in both cases those bills are going to get paid. In the household this may mean pain, definitely in discretionary spending and may incur cutbacks in other areas as well. In the government case, it's just an "oops" whitewashed with some lame excuse about cold weather (or hot, whichever sounds good), but no real impact to any other payouts. Like to friends and family.

In the DeKalb School system there has been a constant pattern of under-budgeting these relatively fixed, must-pay line items which is in fact a shift of budgetary funding from needs to wants. Those numbers over those years do not lie. The only real questions are around intent and whether this is systemic and if so is it limited to DeKalb. If this is a standard "educrat" budget gimmick then DeKalb must surely be the poster child for this repulsive practice.

Unfortunately, this is all conjecture because plain talk appears in short supply. Or is it possible that at least one board member doesn't want to call a spade a bloody shovel for fear that would be misinterpreted as "micromanaging"?