Fiscal Responsibility in Education
Too often in education we talk about school funding in terms of dollar amounts. This perpetuates the false notion that academic success can be achieved by merely spending enough money. What school officials and policy makers fail to discuss is return on investment and how to create safeguards to ensure that every educational dollar is spent wisely. Money is spent on projects with little to no direct or indirect educational benefits must be curtailed. In a period of economic downturn it is not prudent to think that the financial situations of any school district will improve without a drastic shift in spending policies.
Once we accept that funding is limited we must begin to prioritize our expenditures. While there are many great programs within New Britain’s public school system they all come at a cost. As we adapt to the current economic reality we have to keep those programs which provide the greatest benefit to the largest number of students while reducing or eliminating those programs which either benefit only a handful of students or come at such a cost that it is no longer sustainable. We need to take this objective approach if we want to refine our educational system.
As new programs are proposed we must always be willing to consider the cost in light of the benefits that program will provide. When the program will benefit large numbers of students in dramatic ways for a reasonable cost then such programs should be supported. Programs that come at high costs that benefit only a few students must be set aside until better economic times. While this stance could be viewed as overly pragmatic it is the only way in which the public faith in financial policies of our educational system can be restored.