The Chinese Wall: School Funding Divided

Santa Fe teachers haven’t had a raise in five years, and we’re spending $24 million on a new elementary school.  Santa Fe schools are cutting bus routes and dropping kids in a central location to save $300,000, and we just spent $2.2 million on a new soccer field.  How can these things all be true at the same time?  It’s the Chinese Wall of school funding.  On one side of the Chinese Wall, a big pot of money for buildings, land, portables, playground equipment, construction costs — things that have very little to do with educational outcomes.  On the other a much smaller and never big enough pot of money for teacher salaries, reading programs, books, nutrition workers, early childhood intervention.  Today on the show, why does it work this way?  The state equalization formula prevents us from spending property tax money on anything but buildings!  And does the “separate buckets” funding model lead to an intelligent use of taxpayer funds?  The Agua Fria construction project is one example that says, not so much.  Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute on Governor Martinez’s national debut and New Mexico’s job creation record.  Need I say it? Worst in the nation.

Listen to the show (28m)

Read Joel Boyd’s op ed on the Equalization formula:
N.M. School Funding Formula Unfair to Santa Fe Teachers
By by Joel D. Boyd / Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent on Sun, Sep 2, 2012

All the papers — and particularly Robert Nott of the New Mexican, and the Santa Fe Reporter in the early years — have done a great job covering the story, or should I say saga, of the Agua Fria construction project.  Here is a sampling.

Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Thursday, June 07, 2012

Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Monday, April 09, 2012

Facility won’t be built on former landfill site
Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Budget woes could shaft community
By Wren Abbot Santa Fe Reporter 6.29.11
School construction project evolution raises questions
Wren Abbott 6.1.2011 Santa Fe Reporter
Agua Fría villagers say district has not been clear on school renovations
Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Saturday, April 09, 2011
SFPS’ attempt to demolish historic building meets resistance
Santa Fe Reporter, Alexa Schirtzinger, 4.13.2011
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One Response to The Chinese Wall: School Funding Divided

  1. Pingback: Breakthrough Santa Fe! | santa fe stories

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