EOC Subcommittee Tries to Get Feel for Spending

October 18, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveTrevor Lightbody
Citizen Reporter

 

The Education Oversight Committee’s EIA and Improvement Mechanisms Subcommittee meeting, held Oct. 11 in the Blatt Building on the State House grounds in Columbia, was short and to the point.

The big point of discussion during the subcommittee meeting was how districts spend their money. The general feeling was that the Education Oversight Committee never seems to get a real “feel” for how districts spend their money.

All current models suggest that there is more money being spent by the districts and communities than what is required by the state.

So, what is money being spent on? According to the subcommittee, 20 percent goes to debt while the rest is being put toward extracurricular programs and activities at the district’s discretion.

This brings up the partnership between the state and local community regarding the education of students. When it comes to school finance, a question that pops up again and again is how efficient are we being?

The state of Texas is currently concluding a study concerning state efficiency in education which is slated to be available for review in December.

Even though Texas has a much different education system, there will be several factors that will be universal to any size school district or conglomerate of districts, according to the subcommittee.

However, there is no disputing that a disparity exists between school districts. Some can find no money to put into new programs while others are opening up new programs frequently.

The subcommittee wants to find a balance so districts can maximize efficiency. The consensus was that as long as a program fits within a school’s mission it should be given time to prove itself.

Other matters discussed during the subcommittee meeting included that the official EIA revenue estimate will be available Nov. 10, but that there should be a $29 million increase.

Also, a chart consisting of all the budget and proviso recommendations of the EOC which have either been accepted or denied for FY 2010-11 was passed out. In addition, the subcommittee discussed what other states were doing to battle budget cuts.

At the previous EOC meeting the chief of commerce said the revenues looked good and all estimates should be met.

Trevor Lightbody can be reached at (803) 779-5022, ext. 106.