Wednesday, April 10, 2013

LFT president rails against DOE’s $128 million administrative budget

As the House Appropriations Committee began its study of the state’s $24.7 billion general fund budget on Tuesday, LFT President Steve Monaghan asked members to closely monitor the Department of Educaiton’s $128 million administrative budget.

Monaghan, the only representative of a teacher organization to address the committee, said that many aspects of the department’s budget are problematic. As an example, he cited a “lack of transparency” in the way the department hires highly paid administrators.

“Once upon a time we at least know who was being hired to do what,” Monaghan said. “Now it seems that we discover those things without any rhyme or reason.”

Monaghan noted that funding for public schools through the Minimum Foundation Program has been frozen for the past five years, even as the department brought in minimally qualified administrators at high salaries.

“The department’s priorities seem to be more ideological than instructional,” he said.

Monaghan’s complaint echoed published reports that top hires at the department are being brought in to sell the administration’s privatization and voucher plans at the expense of traditional public schools.

“There was a time when research drove decisions,” Monaghan told the committee. “It doesn’t seem that research is driving decisions now.”

“I bring a message from the classroom that conditions are getting much worse,” Monaghan told lawmakers. “Please be watchdogs and help us with this fight.”

To view Monaghan's testimony, please click here. His testimony begins at about the 2:17:52 mark.

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