Berger, Republicans Playing Politics over Public Education Funding
Department of Public Instruction head, June Atkinson, proposed a budget shift to accomodate needs of administrators. Republicans in the General Assembly have thoroughly made this a hot button topic over a small amount of funding that would help with the cuts the GA has made.
It comes down to Republicans, including Phil Berger, president pro tem of the state Senate, claiming that Atkinson and her agency want to take money out of classroom programs to pay for bureaucrats. DPI officials counter that budget cuts have hurt their ability to oversee schools.
They have a good point. It’s fine to have reading programs, for example, but they have to be run. They have to be supervised. They create overhead that has to be paid for. It’s easy enough to blast all bureaucrats as seat-warming paper pushers, but they’re not. They have to direct programs. They have to get personnel. They have to see that the programs are working.
Atkinson hasn’t pulled some kind of back-door maneuver here, either. All of the proposals to move some money into administrative costs have been above board and have gone through the normal approval process from the state budget director. The Office of Management and Budget hasn’t approved DPI’s request to shift money – so it’s not going to be shifted.