This past Thursday, 032014, I attended the Augusta County School Board Budget Meeting at which the ACSB voted to submit a balanced Operation Budget to the BoS. The amount submitted was $97,523,417 for 10,305 students, or $9027 per student. The ACSB members said this was bare-bones budget and they would like to have at least an additional $2.5 million to take care of things such at cracked concrete sidewalks, etc. Moreover, they want another $3 million so they can put MacBook Airs in all the schools so that the children will have the proper introduction to the world of computers when they go out into the real world where computer technology is being used as part of the job. They said they had spent an entire month putting together the budget. It was obvious from their discussion they are hoping taxes will be raised so, in their words, "the children can have what they deserve."
Almost $100 million for about 10,305 students is a lot of "deserving". One month of planning to come up with almost $100 million in spending suggests the 'planning' was shallow and hastily done.
For the most part, 95% or more, Mac computers are not the platform used in the business and technical job market. The platform of Windows-based. Mac Book Airs cost from $1000 - $1100 each. A Windows laptop of similar capacity and functionality costs $300 - $400 each. So not only are they using computers that are not frequently used in the job market they are using ones that cost 3 times that which they should be using. It sounds as though the school system is caught up in what they think is impressive and glamorous rather then cost-effective and realistic in the job market.
So I have to wonder if much of the almost $100 million is similar poor planning and not cost effective? If you are a tax payer in Augusta county you might want to get involved. Just a thought. Its your money.