Unfunded Mandate Exhibit A

While local taxpayers bear most of the burden for funding our local schools, many of the costs are imposed by lawmakers in Harrisburg and Washington (see Yes! I’m a Patsy for more on this). Last night’s school board meeting provided a small, but important, example: One of the items on the agenda was a contract […]

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The 2017-2018 School Budget

Monday was the last day of school in East Penn, and it also marked the school board’s final vote to approve the budget for next fall. The district will spend approximately $149 million in 2017-2018, which requires a tax increase of 2.19%.  This last number is sometimes the only number people look at when evaluating […]

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Inequality is Expensive

​Most people understand that there is growing inequality in the United States.  The wealthiest Americans today control a much larger share of the total wealth of the country than they did in past decades, while increasing numbers of people struggle to meet basic household expenses.  This divide is widening in our own community too.  The […]

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Passing the Buck (or, Yes! I’m a Patsy)

You’ve heard the saying “the buck stops here,” right?  President Truman famously kept a sign with the phrase on his desk.  He recognized the common sense idea that leaders should take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions. But as we all well know, most politicians don’t like this idea very much.   Our representatives […]

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School Budgets 101

Nothing in our school district raises more passions, or is shrouded in more confusion, than the annual budget.  To help, I’ve put together a five-part series designed to give people a glimpse of the key issues in developing the school district budget each year.  My goals are to (1) dispel some of the most common […]

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Where’s the Beef?

The East Penn School District will spend approximately $138 million this academic year– a lot of dough! One of my key concerns is whether the district is spending money in the most cost-effective ways, and in ways proven to make the biggest positive impact on students and our community. There are many aspects of the […]

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