Saturday, February 18, 2006

Facility Funds Subsidize High Teacher Salaries in Springdale

......boom in illegals soaks up funding

Recently the School Academic Facilities Commission approved $86 million for 200 school improvement projects across the state. Springdale School District received the highest single allotment in the state — just more than $8.2 million, or about 10% of the entire fund. 1

In 2004 Springdale approved a salary schedule that was the highest in the state. That starting salary in 2005-2006 is $39,521 with no experience and with the minimum education. The highest salary for teachers is $67,327. 2

I see a couple of real problems here. Teachers in school districts that were investing in their school buildings did without those high teacher salaries and pay raises for the benefit of the school and students. At the same time teachers in Springdale enjoyed the highest salaries in the state, but their districts did not keep pace with the facilities they needed. Now the state is subsidizing those high teacher salaries in Springdale because they are giving them $8.2 million for facilities. I have a real problem with this. How is that fair or equitable????

I see another problem here as well. Springdale (and other districts in the Northwest) is receiving this large sum of money ( $8.2 million) for facilities because they have had tremendous growth – growth which came in large part from children of illegal aliens..........continued....

9 Comments:

Blogger Debbie Pelley said...

The state is closing rural schools right and left because they say the state can't afford them. (In reality the state is setting standards so high and imposing impossible mandates for these small schools to meet.) The state refuses to give these rural schools the money to meet those mandates so these schools (even the isolated districts) are being closed. As a result, children of Arkansas citizens are being put on the buses for 3 to 4 hours a day, and these same parents are now paying taxes to build the school buildings in Springdale for children of parents who are here illegally.

If these large schools can't function on the per pupil spending (over $6,000 for every new student) that comes with increased growth, then why not treat them like the rural schools and put them in fiscal distress? Why do they deserve $8.2 million from the state pot? And why should the state subsidize those high teacher salaries. Then another question arises. If the state gives subsidies to some schools for their buildings and not to others, how is the state going to hold any school accountable for keeping up their buildings.

We can look for as many inequities in the facilities awards like the above as we have had mistakes on the $10 million study of the facilities in Arkansas (Act 84 which the companion bill to Act 90) where barns were mistaken for campuses and their replacement/renovation value assessed so high that it could buy a barn and a farm - and specific replacements estimated at five times their value. This is what happens in a socialistic society where bureaucracy tries to impose equity. See this link for numerous errors in this study: http://www.wpaag.org/Facilities%20-%20Errors%20on%20Assessments.htm 3

This inequity would never have happened apart from Act 90 which created the Facilities Division in the State Department of Education. The following quote from a newspaper article summarizes Act 90. "The new Commission on Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation on Tuesday tentatively approved a 500-page manual that is expected to guide the planning, design and construction of Arkansas schools for years to come. 'The reason this is important is that the facility manual drives everything that is going to be done from this point forward in terms of construction,' Dave Floyd, interim director of the Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation Division, told the three-member commission. 4 Ninety-nine percent of the residents of Arkansas probably still don't even know this Soviet style law has been passed in Arkansas.

The Facilities Department in Ohio, which started with one employee, soon expanded to 50. Arkansas will put a great deal of the money for facilities into bureaucracy. Even the school districts now feel a need to hire a Facilities Director for their schools. The following quote taken from "Westside evaluates financial pace", Jonesboro Sun, Jan 18, 05. illustrates this point. "The superintendent said he does see a need to create a new position that would oversee the care and compliance of the district's facilities." This school has only about 1600 students. In other words, the state bureaucracy (500 page manual) will be so complex that it will require a new paid position at the local school to keep up with the building mandates and regulations. 5 That just means less money goes to teaching the students and more to bureaucracy in the local schools.

According to a survey on voters' views of K-12 public education, conducted by the Center for Social Research at Arkansas State University, of the five schools in Jonesboro, Arkansas, "Building maintenance and construction was a low priority in all five districts. Only 22 percent of respondents believed increased funding was needed in that category." Jonesboro Sun Feb. 12, 06. 6

So shouldn't the legislature repeal this Act 90 so these injustices described above won't be forced upon the citizens of Arkansas? No more than 10 states in the nation have created Facilities Divisions. Why should Arkansas be on the expensive "experimental edge" when we are such a poor state!

Powers that be have closed 40 plus campuses since 2003 to supposedly save money by eliminating a few superintendents. Then why are they passing laws that require new positions like Facilities Director in schools? Curriculum Coordinator positions have been created in most schools now to deal with the state curriculum being forced on the schools and Testing Coordinators to deal with testing. And why did they give $107 million to the Department of Education, Act 98 of 04 , to hire up to 32 new ADE employees and for other expenses if their goal was to save money. The truth is consolidation and the newly created Facilities Division are not about saving money; it is about centralization of power and control by the elitists.

The socialistic attempt at bringing equity to all schools, teachers, and students, and facilities reminds me of the fables where people get three wishes and always wind up in disastrous situations. That is what the socialistic bureaucratic attempt at equality always brings. For the socialist-minded, all these inequities will just be an excuse to take over every aspect of education so there will not be one ounce of control left at the local level. We have seen socialism fail in country after country so why would we want to implement it in Arkansas?

Debbie Pelley

dpelley@cox-internet.com



1 "State’s $86 million for schools tied to districts’ contributions" by John Krupa, Arkansas Democrat Gazette http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/143714/print/

2 "Springdale: District OKs bonuses but no raises for its teachers." by Melinda Rogers, June 15, 05, Northwest Arkansas News http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/119357/

Link to Sprindale Salary Schedule:http://www.springdaleschools.org/Business%20Office/Handbook%202002-2003/3%20-%20Handbook/1%20-%20Employee%20Information/9%20-%20Salary%20Schedules/Teachers%20Salary%20Schedule%202005-2006.pdf

3."Errors on Facilities Report" http://www.wpaag.org/Facilities%20-%20Errors%20on%20Assessments.htm

4. "New school facilities manual set for hearings." By Cynthia Howell June 22, 05, Arkansas Democrat Gazette http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/119994/print/

5. "Westside evaluates financial pace", Jonesboro Sun, Jan 18, 05.

6. "Survey: Jonesboro schools just 'good'", Jonesboro Sun, Feb 12, 06 by Keith Inman

1:42 PM, February 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Racists, please provide us a documented statistic as to how much of the "growth" is from illegals.

6:05 PM, February 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you provide documentation that the writer is racist. And why don't you provide documentatioin that the growth is NOT from children of illegals since any aware person in Arkansas knows that it is. The writer has already given you documentation on everything else. And why don't you argue the issue rather than use name calling. Anyone can use name calling; it takes intelligence, effort, and integrity to argue the issues.

7:28 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger Debbie Pelley said...

To the person who called me racist. Years ago when the Vietnamese refugees came to Jonesboro, I spent one night a week and sometimes two for about two years, without pay, teaching several of them English as a second language. I ran into one of them recently that I worked with for more than 2 years and had a nice chat. I still see others of them around town, and we feel a kindred spirit. How many hours of your time have you given to other races?
I taught school for 27 years and I don't think you could find a student among them that would say I had any racial bias. I just see a need to be law abiding, and I can see all the injustices that occur when we don't follow a system for immigration. The Vietnamese were here legally, and we didn't have the problem with millions crossing our border illegally. And where is your sympathy for the kids (even pre schoolers in some cases) that catch the bus before daylight and get home at dark. One legislator said the only time kids in his district saw their homes in the daylight in the winter was on the week-end?
It also concerns me when people have compassion with the taxpayers' pocketbooks but not their own. I can't help but wonder if you have given of your own income to these illegal aliens or your own time to help them. And "illegal aliens" is the proper name for them according to our US legal documents.

9:13 PM, February 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...How many hours of your time have you given to other races?..."

I give five hours a week teaching ESL to Hispanics. Are they legal? I don't know and I don't want to know. But if they aren't, they never will be unless they can speak our language.

But I am NOT the one who called you a racist.

6:12 AM, February 21, 2006  
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