Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Cutting Costs -

Here's a letter that I sent out to all General Assembly members since they are working long and hard right now on the state budget. I still want to know if anyone in a leadership position in Wake County has bothered to find out if all of the year-round schools are absolutely necessary. The cost increases are incredible, and are, in my opinion justifiable only if no other viable option exists. In this letter I only refer to energy expenses, but as I've shared with you before, transportation, maintenance, and personnel costs increase as well with a year-round schedule.


Letter to General Assembly members:

First of all, I want to thank you for diligently working to come up with a budget that causes the least hardships for the citizens of our state. I know that is an overwhelming task, and one which I do not envy!

Like everyone else, I am concerned about waste and about where cuts will be made. As you discuss options, please keep in mind that holding classes during the hottest months of the year greatly increases expenditures. Below, you will find irrefutable data showing just one local example of how utility costs can soar. I have also included excerpts and a link to an extensive “Special Report”, by the Comptroller of the state of Texas. The findings in this detailed study are eye-opening, and are a “must-read” for all who are serious about putting politics aside in order to keep North Carolina on its feet economically, and to help ease the financial burdens of every citizen.

First, the utility increases – In 2007, Wake County converted 20 traditional schools to a year-round schedule, requiring them to be in full use during July and August. In 18 of those schools, according to Wake County Public School System data, the energy cost per pupil rose during the first year of conversion, in one case as high as 59.2%. Other schools showed increases of up to 54.8% and 49%. This percentage was figured in the fairest way, on a per student basis, since the cost per pupil is not affected by enrollment figures. Here is a link which shows, in a graph format, the energy cost comparisons per school and as a total: http://www.saveoursummers.com/pdfs/UtilitiesCostsForConvertedSchools.pdf

Secondly, the Comptroller’s report – I am providing you with a link to this all-inclusive study by Carole Keeton Strayhorn, in which she researches every cost-related area imaginable to find out how school calendar dates affect economy. In her opening statement, Ms. Strayhorn summarizes her findings by declaring that, “the benefits of stretching the school year have not been proved; what we do know—it’s costing Texans $790 million annually”. View the full report here: http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/schoolstart2004/

I thank you in advance for taking the time to not just read, but to intently study, this valuable information. I sincerely hope that it will help provide ways to prevent cuts that will place a strain on our students and teachers. That, we simply cannot afford. As I mentioned earlier, I realize what a daunting task you face as you develop a budget that impacts every citizen of this great state. I am confident, however, that you will weigh each and every factor fairly, and come up with a plan that will keep our children – our future – as a top priority.

With Much Appreciation,

Louise Lee


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