Educational Editorial: Elections 2011

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Most political analysts have spent the last couple of days saying that the voters have acted with their feet…and hands…and are not happy…at any level.

While clearly significant change can be seen in places like Goochland, four new supervisors and five new school board members, the rest of the area does not seem to be a "scorched earth" …or even a small fire.

Well what will this likely mean for education in the Richmond metro?

First, remember that school boards are fiscally dependent upon Boards of Supervisors and City Councils for their funds…they, contrary to most districts in the country, do not have taxing power.

Secondly, generally school boards spend a majority of the local revenue.

Third, there is a natural tension where the board that spends can politically throw the board that generates taxes under the political bus.

Fourth, local revenues are not going to improve soon since real property tax assessments are just beginning to reflect actual appraised values of homes. Absent of growth, this means decreasing local funds. While some would say that these are the times for budget magic, in reality, these are the times for renewed trust and communication. Successful education budgets do not come from manipulating metrics, they come from honest open discussion of factually accurate information.

The voters have clearly spoken, and perhaps they are saying to elected and appointed officials, we expect you to work together!

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