This letter from C. DeMarco is found in today's Houston Chronicle, asking for voters to approve more money for the local school district. Excerpt:
I know $808.6 million seems like a lot for the Houston Independent School District to be asking for, especially since Houstonians just passed a $678 million bond issue in 1998. But before voting, please consider that HISD has shown it can be fiscally responsible with taxpayers' money.
This problem is not confined to Houston, school districts around the nation ask for similar budget increases on a regular basis. So I looked up the Houston school budget numbers (pdf file) and found the predictable figures.
Students : 210,670
Expenditures for 2002: $1,410,428,699.
As in 1.4+ BILLION dollars. That works out to $6694.96* per student. You don't often see school district spokespeople trumpeting those kind of numbers when they agitate for tax increases.
The sad fact is that the typical U.S. school district is overfunded while it underperforms.
* That's slightly under the Denver school district budget numbers, per pupil. Denver boasts a higher cost of living. And a similar crummy school system.
:: Walter 8:04 PM [+] ::