Wednesday, October 27, 2010

EASD Finds a Mysterious $3.2 Million to Balance the Budget

This is not the EASD's business manager, Marie Guidry, but it might as well be.

Posted by: Noel Jones

In his article in The Morning Call last week, Christopher Baxter reports that the Easton Area School District, after projecting an anticipated $6.1 million dip into the district's reserve funds to balance the budget, is now saying they will only have to dip into the reserve fund for $2.9 million.  After having used that $6.1 million anticipated dip to justify a 2.35% tax increase on struggling tax payers and major budget cuts, including programming cuts that costs 72 teachers their jobs (while giving themselves a raise), EASD Business Manager, Marie Guidry, now says that  we weren't doing that bad after all. Considering that it was a major part of the rationale to convince our school board to vote on whether or not to approve a tax increase and/or cut teaching positions, I'd like to know where the other $3.2 came from, wouldn't you? I know that the state increased funding to the school districts after the teachers were fired, but it wasn't $3.2 million. 

This strategy reminds me of a teenage girl after a prom dress:

EASD: "Mom, Daddy won't give me the $6.1 million I need to get my prom dress! Could you give me the money? I really need it--this is an emergency!"

Mom (taxpayers): "Well, honey, times are really tough since I lost my job last year, so I don't have that kind of money lying around, but here's a $5 million to help out--go talk to Daddy again."

EASD: "Daddy, Mommy won't give me any money for my prom dress--she says she's broke, and this is an emergency! Can you loan me $6.1 million?"

Daddy (state government [also, ultimately tax payers]): "Well, times are tight for me too honey, but I'll talk to your Grandma and see
what she says. Don't you worry your pretty little head."

Daddy (to Granma [federal government--also, ultimately, the taxpayer]): "Mom, I need another loan. The recession has hit hard and your granddaughter needs $6.1 million for a prom dress. This is the last time I ask you for a big one, I promise."

Grandma: "That's what  you said last time! I'm running low myself..."

(Daddy gives Grandma the sad eyes)

Grandma: "...but I can give you a couple million to tide you over. Don't get used to it though!"

Daddy: (Kissing her on the cheek) "Love you, Mom!"

(Back in Easton)

Daddy: "Honey, here's $3 million. Now you can go get that dress--you're going to be the prettiest girl in the room--now give me some sugar."

EASD: (Kissing him on the cheek) "Thanks, Daddy! I just found out that the dress is actually on sale for $2.9 million, so now I can go get shoes!"



Anonymous said...

This is absolutely horrible. I was so mad when I read this article and was thinking back to the story I read where the mayor was in front of the elementary school talking about the federal money that was approved for EASD just a week or so before schools opened. Put the two amounts together and they would have more than enough to save 70 teachers. i am just infuriated.

noel jones said...

See the EASD budget meeting schedule for 2010-2011 here on The Morning Call's Valley 610 blog:

I hope that everyone can get involved in the process early this year, so that the public can have even more influence on decisions made by the board we elected.

Also, 5 positions on the board are up for re-election in 2011--who is willing to step forward and run? I know that Marty Jones has already stepped up to the plate, but we need more candidates--who among you or living around you would be better for the job than those currently sitting on the board? These decisions need to start being made NOW. The primaries are right around the corner...

Boo said...

Huh? What is the problem? The district is still three million in the whole just not six. With the teacher's raises for next year, the district will be in the whole again just not to the tune of 8 to 12 million.

Wake up! The budget is still going to be a problem for the Easton community for at least the next two years. If Corbett gets elected, it will be even worse!!!

noel jones said...

Boo--so I take it you'll be at the school board meeting tonight?

Boo said...

Noel . . .

I watched the Board meeting online with disgust. Board members can't even agree on a minimum class size never mind a multi-million dollar budget!

I do think we should hire Jenn Holzberger as Superintendent. She seems to know how to tell everyone to do their job! Maybe she should do hers by voting her mind rather then trying to change everyone else's mind!!!

noel jones said...

Well, Boo, I think Jen did vote her mind when she voted against spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate the pool--along with Jodi Hess, Millie Mandarino, and Sarah Bilotti...see my most recent post on the pool renovations...

I have never seen Jen be anything but polite at the meetings--even when others have become much more animated. As for "telling people how to do their jobs," if you mean by reminding them that they may be straying from their own bylaws and policies, then isn't that a good thing, when our school district has been running wild for the last decade, doing whatever they want to, regardless of rules and laws? Like deciding to use taxpayer money to pay for the solicitor's personal lawsuit? Or allowing for-profit daycares to operate on taxpayer property?

Anyone opposed to actually following school district policy and bylaws is part of the insider-enclave-mentality-sweetheart-deal problem that plagues our district and its taxpayers, not part of the solution.

It's time for the voting taxpayers to start running for office, setting things straight, and taking our school district forward instead of backward. That's exactly what Jen Holzberger did--first she got involved in the PTA out of concern for her child as a student in the district, and then she ran for office. It's a thankless job that she receives no money for, but I'm glad she's there, because at least she is asking the board to follow it's own rules, unlike Tim Reilly who in the middle of the Sunshine Law debate, announced haughtily that he had just Googled "public comment" on his laptop and that there were no sections on public comment in the board's policies (which is incorrect)--bringing to light that some board members haven't even bothered to read their own policies. I mean, seriously--what do they think they were elected to do? Sit around at meetings web surfing? At least Jen takes the job seriously.

ATTN: VOTING TAXPAYERS--5 positions are up for grabs on the school board next year, and now is the time to start thinking about running, since the primaries are right around the corner. We can turn this school board around in one election!

Jonsey said...


As far as turning the school board around, as a life-long resident of Easton, I have heard this time and time again. And the people who get elected screw it up even more.

Every elected official always has his or her own agenda (including Holzberger)!

The simple truth is that had the school board not approved a ridiculous teacher's contact, our district would not be in the shape it is in.