Tuesday, April 23, 2019

State Auditor Fires Back on Education Spending

State Auditor Shad White fired back at his critics.  Mr. White stated in a report issued last week that spending on administrative costs in public schools rose while the number of teachers and students fell over the last ten years. The education lobby didn't like that one report one bit and challenged its findings, claiming it didn't account for inflation and other factors.  Mr. White's reply is posted below.


Anonymous said...

And with the drop in JPS enrollment, the new superintendent announces yet another Chief Officer level position, Chief Talent Officer. This makes 5 Chief Officer positions (salary range $92k-115k), 15 Exec Directors ($87-110), and 5 Asst Superindentent ($107-130). All info based on the newly released JPS Org chart and 2018 JPS salary scale. Add in the new supes salary and we have a very top heavy organization that would be hard to defend in any circumstance given the current state of affairs within the district.

Anonymous said...

I guess that pretty much sinks their ship. What a shame that we cheat our children out of funds for their education just so some big shot can get overpaid and have as many assistants and suckretaries as they wish. This is why Mississippi is backwards and so low in a lot of categories.

Anonymous said...

Like Shad White more and more every day. Another home run!

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for the "education lobby", (or whatever that is), but I will say that it is not within his purview to lobby for legislation. That is the legislative branch's job (i.e., state legislature).

From the auditor's website: The mission of the Office of the State Auditor is to protect the public's trust by verifying the funds you provide to state and local governments are used in a legal and efficient manner for their intended purpose.

He needs to stay in his own lane and worry about "protect[ing] the public's trust by verifying the funds [we] provide to state and local governments are used in a legal and efficient manner for their intended purpose".

Anonymous said...

He is not a legislator, this is not the job of an auditor. He is just campaigning on the clock. How many fraudulent activities are being conducted while this guy writes the prologue to "My First Days in Phil's House"?

Anonymous said...

Get 'em Shad-

Anonymous said...

Remember, the ones that lied to you about inflation being a factor are also the ones that are responsible for your child's education.

Anonymous said...

Love it. He is destroying their case for "more funding." About time someone had the balls to stand up to the "parent's" campaign which really just represents well-paid administrators who are defending the status quo.

Anonymous said...

JPS administration- the feed trough for the HBCUs

Not Paid By Shad White said...

I love Shad and have not been paid to post on here. I love Shad. And all he stands for.

Anonymous said...

@8:24 I’m guessing you maybe skipped over the portion of the quote you pulled which stated “The mission of the Office of the State Auditor is to protect the public’s trust by verifying the funds you provide to state and local governments ARE USED IN AN....EFFICIENT MANNER for their intended purpose.” I’m no expert, but I believe the study in question would fit that description. But that probably doesn’t fit your intended narrative.

Anonymous said...

Shad needs to thicken his skin. Is he going to issue a press release every time someone criticizes him? If he can't handle a little public criticism, he needs to vacate any political aspirations. Frankly, I'd rather he spend time rooting out corruption than preparing responses to his political opponents on the public's time and dime.

Anonymous said...

Glad he put this out. It was pathetic to hear people parse his words and tar and feather the messenger instead of deal with the fact that the public school system is a financially bloated failure. Mississippi public schools produce the worst intellectually prepared work force in the nation- bottom line. There is ample blame to go around; however, the state auditor is hardly the problem. Conversely, people that whine about the auditor almost certainly are. The unavoidably reality remains - Mississippi public schools are an abysmal failure with tragic consequences. Yet we have people defending the mediocrity.

Unfortunately, the great teachers and effective administrators are lost in a sea of sub standard employees and piss poor results. Private schools out perform public schools while paying teachers less and having much more efficient ratios of administrators/ teachers. All you hear from public school defenders is more money is needed. When someone points out Financial inefficiency they are pounced upon. You could triple the budgets and those running the schools will still be ineffective. Public education does not work on free market and results driven principles.

Anonymous said...

It seems this is within his purview. He is verifying the funds are used in an inefficient manner.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty jaded, but it's genuinely shocking by how casually dishonest Shad White is.

I thought, being a Rhodes Scholar, he'd be a sort of above-the-fray technocrat. But it's clearly the opposite. He just keeps doubling down on GOP party line statistical manipulation.

I don't have time to address everything, but just for starters:

"CPI measures price changes for the average urban consumer in America. Mississippi is not an urban state," so inflation and CPI aren't relevant here.

First, CPI is calculated on a regional basis, with one region being the south. Second, while urban areas are used, the definition of "urban" encompasses small towns and cities--93% of the entire U.S. population. Third, most of the total cost of education in Mississippi comes from larger districts like Jackson, DeSoto, Hattiesburg/Lamar, etc., all of which are captured within the definition of "urban" areas for CPI purposes.

I'll try to do a deeper dive tonight and maybe post some more. But this level of premeditated, ongoing financial trickery from the state's forensic accountant is really troubling. Somebody needs to primary this guy -- somebody who doesn't owe favors and has some basic financial literacy.

Anonymous said...

His response fails to address the primary concerns everyone brought up. The state has not funded education at a rate to keep up with inflation. You can’t fix the worst state for education by stripping funds. Of course his goal is not to fix education, the goal is to make it so bad that we can blame government spending as inefficient and steer the money to Shad and friends while saving their “donors” some tax money.

Anonymous said...

First, obviously the administrations are bloated, but those costs only went up 10% according to White's report. The overall increase is 18%.

Two, he recognizes that some administrative costs were unavoidable and that State and Federal mandates may have caused some of the increases. Like our state roads and bridges, I suspect many districts are also dealing with aging buildings that need more and more work.

And finally, he doesn't account for inflation because, in his words, "Mississippi is not an urban state, and its inflation rate is not the same as the national rate, which means using inflation adjustments may not accurately measure actual price increases in our state." Now that may be partially right when it comes to costs of labor, but Mississippi is not immune to inflation and purchasing would be subject to the national rate of inflation. It is disingenuous, or just lying, to conclude that inflation isn't accurate for Mississippi and that you should totally exclude it! Over the last 10 years inflation was 19.51%. And overall increases over the last 5 years were 7%, which is less than the 5 year inflation of 7.8%

Shad and his GOP handlers know exactly what this report does. It creates a headline that reads "Schools Spend 18% on Non-Instructional Spending," and the "informed voter" will stop reading right there. When in reality, "Schools Spend -1% on Non-Instructional Spending When Accounting for Inflation" isn't a sexy headline. And even when you don't account for inflation, "Administrative Salary Costs Rise 1% a Year" wouldn't create the narrative they want.

Anonymous said...

Here's the only rebuttal you need:

The Auditor complains that administrative costs increased by 17.8% from 2006-2016. He says that, since in-classroom spending increased by only 10.5%, this shows administrative spending went up too fast. Administrators are getting fatter on the public dime than before, etc.

Here's the problem. Cost of living went up by 19.1% from 2006-2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Which means administrative costs didn't skyrocket. They came in 1.3% LOWER than in 2006 (an unusually low year in itself) after inflation. It's just that we shafted Mississippi teachers (and other in-class spending) by about 9% under inflation.

In both cases, costs WENT DOWN compared to CPI. Teachers just got screwed far worse.

That's why inflation/CPI matters, young man. And it's the end of any debate about this politically-motivated "analysis."

Anonymous said...

I see that several are posting that they don't like his activities or his report because it gives evidence of problem areas they wish had not been made public. How damned obvious!

Anonymous said...

Mississippi Association of School Superintendents - 141 member most powerful lobbying group in the State which controls 56%-62% of the entire State budget in any given year. If we'd disallow nepotism, we'd reduce the power of the MASS and get more money into the classroom.

Anonymous said...

8:24 and 8:26
Hey Education lobby!

Rod Knox said...

And the ones who cut taxes on the wealthiest corporations in the state are the same ones who now sadly recognize that state funds are again inadequate to fully fund education.Surprise-Surprise-Surprise.

We have some real geniuses voting in Mississippi. They keep electing and re-electing Curly, Larry and Moe then complaining how badly things are working out.

Anonymous said...

8:24 (and applies to 8;26 as well). Maybe you went to a public school where they spent too much money on administration, and not enough on classroom instruction. Or maybe you have a comprehension deficit. Or maybe you intentionally ignore what you would prefer to not acknowledge.

But go to the last sentence of your post from the Auditor's website. (You might also go to the legislative authority granted to the office of the auditor.)

" ....funds... are used in a legal and efficient manner for their intended purpose." It could be argued that the intended purpose wasn't to fund a feather nest for administrators and staff, but that could be debateable.

But for the auditors office conducting their job to see if the funds are used EFFICIENTLY is certainly within their purview, and in fact it's their job to do so.

I realize you might have no idea,what the auditor's office does, but this kind of report is routine work - for this auditor and before (granted, some auditors were better than others in conducting their duties).

The auditor conducts these type audits of the expenditure of funds partly to provide information to the legislature for their use in passing statutes and making appropriations.

Question: why are you so but hurt that the auditor did this report, and made this disclosure? Are you more concerned with protecting some administrative staffing position (yours???, or family??) Or are you just so deep into the education bureaucracy that you don't want anybody to know what is going on with that 60% of our state budget that you consider sacrosanct and shouldn't be questioned by anybody.

I'm proud of Shad doing his statutory duty, without qualms. On this case and on other cases where misspent money - tax money - has been uncovered.

This administrative spending was not illegal (we assume) and maybe not improper. But knowing these facts should be worthwhile to anyone who cares.

Interesting, though, those like you that prefer to attack the messanger rather than the message.

Anonymous said...

Rod Knox

We have a record income for the state and federal governments. How is it again a taxes problem and not a spending problem?

speaking of 3-stooges geniuses

Anonymous said...

Oh Shadrack,

Where to begin? Since CPI “may not accurately measure actual price increases in our state” you just decided to ignore inflation? That doesn’t seem like a good idea. Because you see, Shadrack, inflation on housing, medical services, food, and apparel does impact schools’ ability to attract employees. Also, schools have to pay for things in CPI such as commodities, food, water, utilities, energy, transportation costs, appliances, etc. If anyone thinks Mississippi is exempt from inflation, then go tell your employer that Shadrack has discovered Mississippi is immune from inflation and you do not need a salary increase ever again.

Shadrack, you also said that your analysts relied on Miss. Code Section 37-151-97 to determine what counted as administrative costs. Did your analysts, or you, actually read that section? Maybe someone should have read it because it defines general administration as the 2300s and 2500s and school administration as the 2400s (from the Department of Education’s accounting manual.) It also defines the 2600s (operation and maintenance of the schools) and the 2800s (information services) which your analysts dumped into administration as “other expenditures”. https://codes.findlaw.com/ms/title-37-education/ms-code-sect-37-151-97.html

Odd things happen when one looks at the source numbers. Of your reported $968 million in administrative expenses, $485 million is for operation and maintenance of the schools and information services. So, over half of your “administrative” expenses isn’t really administrative. https://www.mdek12.org/MBE/R2018 Click on “Expenditures for Public Schools”. I’m sure this is just a slight oversight by you and your analysts and that you, or your analysts, weren’t trying to tilted the information toward a certain conclusion or purpose. Right? Of course right.

Anonymous said...

The posts above summarize it pretty well. Saying CPI doesn't apply in Mississippi is just a bald faced lie. The kind you'd only tell to people you think are very, very stupid.

Administrative spending went up 17%. Classroom spending went up 10%. But inflation went up 19%.

If you don't acknowledge we're spending less in real dollars than in 2006, you're either innumerate or a liar.

Either way, you shouldn't be the state auditor.

Anonymous said...

@8:24 AM (bright spark) - how about it's not the purview of government to operate public schools. The JPS has become an employment agency for FOS (friends of the superintendent).

Anonymous said...

All you geniuses who are complaining about inflation being left out of the calculation need to understand that including inflation doesn't change the result. Non-instructional costs still grew at a higher rate than instructional costs. That's the central issue of the report, not whether the methodology was correct.

Anonymous said...

11:46 -- You asked why people are criticizing this report.

You can take this for whatever you think its worth, but I've been a Republican since before Shad White was born. I wrote a check to Kirk Fordice's campaign. But I'm tired of how the Republican party in Mississippi thinks it can cram any BS it wants down people's throats.

Absolutely, we should cut waste in education. Absolutely, teacher's unions are part of the problem. But I run a business, and this math is just nonsense. Saying that we can just cut taxes forever and still have money to pay for education (and all the other things we need to bounce back economically) by tightening our belts is foolishness.

Maybe its part of being a one-party state, but folks need to hold politicians accountable to reality, not just conservative ideology.

Burke said...

Shad White is solid gold. He's the auditor, so he performs audits. What a concept! If he goes after sacred cows such as public school administrators, the reaction will be predictably stronger. Given his responsibility to the citizenry, he is right to make the case and clarify the processes in these instances. Such careful explanations ought to happen with more of our public servants.

Let Teachers teach and pay them in proportion to their value to society; that is, pay them a lot more. At the same time, cut administrative costs by half. I speak from experience.

Anonymous said...

You would think a state auditor would have at least a basic understanding of what inflation is and how it affects the argument he is making. His lack of knowledge should be a fireable offense and reflects very poorly on the leadership who appointed him.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a bunch of " Executive Directors" from JPS are leaving comments !
Might as well they've got nothing else to do !

Rod Knox said...

If spending is the primary cause for under funding education, roads, etc where is the REPUBLICAN run state government spending all that record revenue, 12:02?

Mississippi's partisan head knocking usually results in a GOP win but regardless which side wins in the long run the real working people of the state remain the losers.

Anonymous said...

This many responses, that quickly. It is obvious these "administrators" have banded together to try to discredit this honorable man by responding in mass That doesn't happen without an active campaign to discredit him. Someone also discredited the Rhodes scholar ethics. Remember, the Rhode scholar organization saw to it that Bill Clinton drop out after sexual accusations.

Anonymous said...

The result doesn’t get any better for you auditor haters if they adjust for inflation. Read the last point ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION teacher salaries went down by 3% and admin salaries went up 10%. Uh oh!

Anonymous said...

Education gets a lion’s share of the state’s tax dollars. They’re always screeching for more more more “for the kids” “for the teachers”. It’s ridiculous. They get plenty of money, they just choose to spend it on overpriced consultants (who are typically retired educators or retired from the state dpt of Ed)

As an informed taxpayer, I get sick and tired of hearing people complain about how our state doesn’t value education, when we give more than enough of the state budget towards public education. We just have people in charge of those dollars who don’t value teachers and would rather see that money spent on overpaid administrators, instead of actually using it for the benefit of the students.

Anonymous said...

@2:52 PM
Or it could be some people are starting to question the propaganda shoveled to the pubic by the republican cabal.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:52 You are so right.....Shad, keep going - when they're making this much noise about something, then you've hit paydirt. When you get to the community colleges and universities....you'd better get a security detail.

All the agency heads and clown superintendents have been told by legislators "we've got you". But if a majority of teachers walk long term....the goofball governor will have to order a special session to address the matter, and the teachers should win this time without conditions. The teachers should get at least an $8000 annual raise, while the administrative bloat gets slashed.

First they laugh at you, then they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win.

Anonymous said...

Critics of the Auditor's report are assuming inflation only increases administrative expenses. Adjusted for inflation, expenditures for both administrative and in-classroom both increase, thus not materially changing the percentages of the admin/in-class room pie chart. The trend of increased admin percentage of total expenditures would not materially change in the report if adjusted for inflation.

The Auditor's response in question 1 states this fact.

Kingfish posted his own report on the number of front office workers at JPS vs. Desoto County School District, a year-or-so ago. JPS, the 2nd largest school district, has nearly twice as many front office jobs as Desoto, the 1st largest school district.

Private school rooms are better disciplined. Public school teachers have to deal with bad behavior, which is a result of decades long government policies that have weakened discipline culturally. To Democrats, spanking children is akin to assault. Letting boys who identify as girls go to the girls bathroom is a concern of Democrats, but disciplining bad behavior is not. We have a weaker society.

It starts at home. It's a cultural problem. Dads aren't helping raise kids. Kids act up in the classroom, but you can't discipline them. The mom gets Medicaid, food stamps, TANF, WIC, etc. from the state - all the social programs to help the bottom of the barrel in Mississippi. Like it or not, a significant portion of the population contributes to nothing by social decay. Those are the most likely to complain the loudest.

Anonymous said...

12:44, great for you that you "cut a check for Kirk Fordice" therefore think you can claim all rights to "Republicanism". I'm not going to try to outdo you, but some folks in this state (including me) worked for Rubel Phillips when he ran for Governor. I didn't cut a check to him, since I was in high school - but I can claim cutting checks to Carmichael --- when he ran for the US Senate three years before his Governor's race. And have cut checks to most all statewide candidates since along with a lot of local ones. And I don't claim to speak for 'republican principles' so I damn sure don't want to hear your opinion based on your importance as a Fordice supporter at some point.

Now that is out of the way, your argument about "cutting taxes" etc doesn't hold water. Corporate tax cuts, that the education union want to blame for all their 'lack of money' didn't produce a shortage. Corporate taxes collected by the state last year increased 16%. State income increased $200 million (including those corporate taxes.)

Unemployment went down, therefore cutting costs dramatically to the state. There are 200,000 fewer people on SNAP, therefore cutting costs as well.

So, with lower costs, and higher income, those tax cuts you want to demean have been beneficial, not detrimental.

Anonymous said...

This thread does illustrate a problem with education in MS: a lack of basic math skills.

It doesn't matter if inflation affects both administrative and classroom costs.

What matters is that both WENT DOWN in relation to 2006, once 19% inflation is factored in. And 2006 was a historically low baseline to start with. Which means WE ARE SPENDING LESS ON BOTH. Which means YOU CAN'T GIVE TEACHERS A RAISE WITH NEGATIVE DOLLARS.

Shad is not "onto" anything here except the fast track to a remedial middle school math class.

Anonymous said...

Can someone show me an audit that includes an inflation adjustment that does not apply across the board and one that includes and inflation adjustment in the same time reference?

The naysayers are most likely the very administrators who is living off the fat but are so freaking stupid that they don't even know what they are intimating.

Anonymous said...

4:15PM. Your comment illustrates a problem with education in MS: lack of ability to comprehend basic logic.

Adjusted for inflation, or not, both nominal values and real values, the trend of increased administrative costs to total expenditures IS TRUE AND VERIFIABLE. They did not "BOTH GO DOWN".

Trying to convince people we're heading downstairs while the elevator rises shows real "basic math skills" as you put it.

Try again, please.

Anonymous said...

I listened to him on Gallo today. After Gallo finally shut the hell up with thirty minutes of his silliness, White disappointed me with his political position on nearly every question. I support what he's doing, fully, but this should not be a politically driven, elected position.

And, yes, the money is being pissed away on the administrative staff in a hundred and thirty school districts. Or is it 180?

Anonymous said...

The naysayers are most likely the very administrators who is living off the fat but are so freaking stupid that they don't even know what they are intimating".

Exactly....and these are the idiots that are running things....they think that if they spin their version long enough and call everyone ELSE idiots that no one will ever challenge them.....that's how Mississippi operates....nothing but useless, inexperienced, jackass hicks who think they're part of some white trash, citizens council mafia...from the governor on down...all of them think they're the smartest people in the room just because they say so.....now finally, along comes a qualified and genuinely interested party who blows up their game and splashes eggs on their faces simply by asking, "Where's all the money going you dumbasses?"

Anonymous said...

He's reading the tea leaves and already running for governor when Hood goes up for re election.

Anonymous said...

The administrative costs at charter schools are much higher than public schools but we will never be seeing any reports or complaints about that.

Anonymous said...

Don't care about all the partisan bickering, but I would like to see students and teachers become a higher priority to all our elected officials. I would much prefer the money went to the school systems than most of their other crap. Providing a top notch education appears to be the only way to permanently solve most of the issues facing this state.

Anonymous said...

How about focusing on the overhead of the state superintendent and her minions. Start by cutting her salary by two-thirds and analyzing ber staff headcount compared to other states

Anonymous said...

Young Shad in his report and on Gallo today cited not a single specific expenditure. He didn't say how much utilities increased, or insurance increased, or busing costs, or security guards (new), a principle for each high school grade, or state testing, or athletic field funding, or computers/software.

Why? Because it would expose Shad's dishonesty. Sad to see this from a soon-to-be-governor.

We need facts. Example, when the football coach at a tiny school in Hazelhurst makes $102,000, that's wrong.

Anonymous said...

As Jay Hughes says, it all starts with education, and in Mr. Hughes' eyes, efficiency and funding are not related.

Anonymous said...

To everyone discrediting the report due to the failure to account for inflation, isn't it true that even when accounting for inflation, administrative expenses still increased at a higher rate than instruction costs did?

In other words, if both figures (admin expense and instruction expense) are adjusted for inflation, the rate of increase of admin expense still outpaces the rate of increase of instruction expense...which I believe is the point of the report.

In fact, I believe a similar statement about the point of the report is made in the first part of the paragraph responding to the question about inflation.

Economists, am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

1:26 -- You are indeed wrong. Administrative costs went down, not up, relative to inflation since 2006, which was 19% -- higher than any increase reflected in the report. Classroom expenditures just went down faster.

And both would have gone down faster still, had the Auditor chosen 2008, rather than 2006, for his baseline year.

Basically, Mississippi screwed teachers a little bit worse than it screwed education generally. And now the Auditor is telling teachers to blame administrators for getting slightly less screwed, as opposed to the GOP legislature that screwed them both.

I'm no Nancy Loome fan, and I agree we need to cut waste. But this was just a really stupid move on White's part. There's no defending it from a mathematical or honesty perspective.

Anonymous said...

"There's no defending it from a mathematical or honesty perspective."

Tate? Is that you?

Anonymous said...

Hey Shad, how about tell us how much the general fund of the state of Mississippi has grown under Phil Bryant/Tate Reeves/Philip Gunn's leadership?

The truth, nothing but the truth.

Anonymous said...

@10:07 Uh, and yes - please tell us why Mississippi can't afford to maintain roads and bridges, and has underfunded education by over a billion dollars while you're at it. WHERE or where did the money go? THAT is the question....hint: awashed in unneeded "administration" for K-12 and higher ed.

Anonymous said...

Is Fancy Loon still posting every third comment on here?

Rod Knox said...

Re Gallo, 4:40, by the time they let a guest get a word in edgeways Gallo and J.T. both have talked the ears off most listeners and answered their own questions. Most guests sound reluctant to be on the show and I can't blame them. And the greatest talent at supertalk is the engineers. The opposition callers never have a chance to complete a statement or question on air and while they talk into dead air the host uses the time delay to pick up a good question off their menu to throw the caller off his topic. They can actually make J.T. and Gallo sound somewhat intelligent and that takes some real talent.

And how many districts are there now? You said 130 and I seem to recall it was well over 160 and Supertalk got to where they are today shaking their microphones at the waste in having so many districts.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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