Monday, April 16, 2012

A Common Chart of Accounts.

In Danbury as in every city and town across Connecticut a debate continually rages about school funding.
Education funding in Danbury is the biggest driver in city spending and has the biggest impact on your taxes.
While we cannot print money and while there is no money hidden under a desk somewhere, school districts can provide a clear and transparent education budgeting system that will get all of the school districts in Connecticut on the same format and will help cities and towns determine how education money is deployed, and will also help taxpayers understand the cost benefit of investing their tax dollars in public education.
Governor Malloy’s education “reform” package has been receiving quite a beating over the last several weeks, there is something to hate in it for everyone. Tenure reform has drawn the most fire, (full disclosure, I am a certified Connecticut teacher and tenured) and is a battle that the Governor has fumbled. There are a number of different compromises for the tenure proposal that will accomplish reform, let’s hope all parties come to their senses by the end of the legislative session. In the meantime, many people have overlooked other parts of the proposed bill that will make a difference.  The common chart of accounts proposal is one them.
Conncan did a nice write up the benefits of this proposal. The take away is that by having all school districts assign spending to those line items that they properly belong in, the taxpayer can understand where their money goes, Boards of Educations can understand the efficacy of programming, and cities and towns can do long range forecasting on future expenditures.
A Common Chart of Accounts is not the most innovative part of the education reform package,  but it is the one that doesn’t cost anything and will actually help provide accountability to school spending.
As the cost of education continues to escalate in districts across Connecticut, it is critical that we have a common template for financial reporting.

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