Education Editorial: Budgeting for education

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Following the Associated Press Day at the Capitol this week, the headlines focused on the first public debate between former Governors George Allen and Tim Kaine. For the 150 who had a chance to see the "up close and personal" interaction, it was a classic case of sizing up your opponent. There are clearly two distinct choices.

Also on the agenda was a conversation with Gov McDonnell. While taking questions from uranium mining to healthcare reform, he also talked about K-12 education. He noted that while the next biennial budget would have more dollars for K-12, it would not be as much as some might hope. He also noted, as quoted in the press, "money is one thing…but not the only thing".

The VCU Commonwealth Education Poll has consistently reflected that a majority of Virginians believes that K-12 education is "under funded". Remember, if the lottery went away tomorrow, K-12 funding in Virginia would not change significantly. The question is, perhaps, what economists call the marginal dollar issue…how much is enough. If we benchmark "enough," the highest performance should come from the highest expenditures. But this is not the case.

While Richmond has certainly improved its record, it continues to struggle with dropouts, student performance, and graduation rates. In reality, the highest cost yields the poorest performance. Clearly there are numerous factors to consider…but one that should not be ignored is that "Money is one thing…but not the only thing."

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