Educational funding overhaul needed

Published 8:12 pm Friday, February 5, 2010

We find ourselves at an interesting point in our city’s, our state’s and our country’s history. Here we are, wanting to please two masters, with the inability to serve either well.

When it comes to properly funding education in our country, we find ourselves working off a broken system, a system slowed by bureaucracy, special interests, bloated systems and unrealistic expectations.

We ask our teachers to be among the best in the world, while providing them third-world support. We challenge our students to perform at high levels, while tying them down with inadequate funding and low-level support.

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On Thursday, Suffolk Public School superintendent Dr. Milton Liverman released a preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal years. It portrayed a bleak financial picture of funding for our school system and provided no increases in programs, no increases in funding of initiatives and no increase in teacher pay.

And, the one caveat to the proposed budget that raised the most concern is that our school leaders were asked to lay out a budget plan without fully knowing just how much they would receive in local or state funding.

In recent months we have challenged our school leaders to examine every expenditure down to the penny. We have challenged them to look at every administrative salary, validate every perk or fluff in the budget. And, we have asked that every savings found, every penny picked up out of the parking lot, be reinvested into the classroom, into teacher salaries and advanced programs.

We can no longer ask our teachers, our schools or our children to give us world class results without finding ways to give them world class support.

Our education funding system is broken. For a better American future, we must find a way to fix it.