Thursday, April 18, 2019

Jay Hughes: Auditor Blames Schools

This post is a paid advertisement.

Remember last week I emailed you and told you that rumor was there was about to be a new effort to blame schools and provide cover to politicians who voted against a more meaningful pay raise?

Well, it was no SHOCKER yesterday when the politically appointed State Auditor released a hurried report and blamed increases in "Non-Instructional Spending" for lack of teacher pay. You know, the things you can't control: the unfunded mandates in testing / tutoring personnel, security, aging buses, computers, copiers, buildings, air conditioners, and other resources you have to repair because you can't replace because of underfunding?

MAYBE, if they really wanted to increase classroom spending they could actually send all the EEF money collected for classroom supplies to classroom supplies (they only send 1/3 of the $36 Million collect for it each year). OR, here are some novel ideas: Cut back on some of the standardized testing, switch from exit exams to ACT, and stop diverting public dollars to private schools.

Kingfish note: State Auditor Shad White issued the following press release yesterday.

State Auditor Shad White released a report today which shows outside-the-classroom spending on administration and non-instruction activities has increased in Mississippi over the last decade, despite the fact that the number of K-12 students and classroom teachers has decreased during the same period. If outside-the-classroom spending had remained the same per student for the last decade, Mississippi could have had more than $358 million to dedicate to spending in the classroom—enough for an $11,000 teacher pay raise.

“As the product of our public schools, the son of a retired public school teacher, and the grandson of two public school teachers, the issue of how we spend education dollars is incredibly important to me,” said Auditor White. “Education policymakers need to take a careful look at where our money is going, and they should explain why outside-the-classroom spending is growing so much."

Through a months-long analysis of data from the Mississippi Department of Education, auditors found that overall K-12 spending increased in Mississippi over the last 10 years, but instructional costs increased more slowly than any other part of K-12 spending.

At the same time, Mississippi has seen a decline in K-12 student enrollment. If outside-the-classroom spending had decreased at the same rate as enrollment, Mississippi would spend $358 million less on outside-the-classroom costs than what the state spends today. This amount is equivalent to an $11,000 teacher pay raise. If outside-the-classroom spending had simply been kept the same over the last ten years, it would have yielded enough savings to fund for a $9,000 teacher pay raise.

"Common sense says that money spent on a high quality teacher is the best way to use education funds. When money is spent on administrative costs, outside the classroom, we lose the chance to spend that money on teachers,” said White. “In Mississippi, we can't afford to waste a single dollar on administrative costs when that money could be going to teachers."

While administrative costs have increased by 18% over the last ten years, the number of teachers has decreased by 8%.

Some of the outside-the-classroom spending accounts with the largest increases include administrative staff services (increased cost of 113% and includes operations, recruiting, training, and accounting) and information services (103% increase and includes costs for producing “educational and administrative information” for students, staff, managers, and the general public).

The full report can be viewed online at the Auditor’s website by clicking “Reports.”


Anonymous said...

Did you really mean to enable the comment section for a paid advertisement, and also pen a rebuttal?

Kingfish said...

Mr. Hughes gave permission to open up comments. Strictly up to the sponsor. THat is no rebuttal. The message refers to the auditor's statement yesterday. I posted the statement so readers wouldn't have to click back and forth after checking with the candidate.

Anonymous said...

Not a Jay Hughes fan. But props to him for opening up the comments, and for calling out Shad White on his deeply dishonest report.

I'm still amazed that a guy who's supposed to be essentially a forensic accountant could release something that fudges the numbers so badly, and so intentionally.

Anonymous said...

Good for Mr. Hughes. I wish all ads had comments sections. If you can't take the heat, don't run.

Anonymous said...

Blaming the auditor for doing an audit, and reporting the results? I guess in Rep Hughes eyes, its never the fault of the schools, the school system, or the education establishment.

To question why using the 2006-2016 period shows a complete lack of understanding of how an audit of this nature is done, or else a complete intent to drag red herrings across the path to try to question the results. An audit is a 'look back' in time, and when this audit was begun it would be probable that the latest data available for the various school districts would have been FY 2016. Thus, the beginning year would be 2006. For Hughes and the government school lobby to try to demean the results - good, bad and ugly - and claim it is a political shot is the kettle calling the pot black. The demeaning of the audit is nothing but a political cheap shot.

Anonymous said...

Good for Hughes to open up for comments... I challenge Mark Baker to open his up. I hear he doesn’t do well with those who disagree

Anonymous said...

Thanks Shad.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is, when there's a problem, you NEVER put a democrat in charge of solving it. If you disagree, name the last time any democrat is credited with having solved any problem in Mississippi. You can start with William Winter, if you like...but you don't have to.

Macy Hanson said...

I agree that it shows character for Jay Hughes to open up comments on his paid post. That is honorable, in my book.

Anonymous said...

This was not a fucking audit. The auditor proves his lack of independence (which is the most critical element of an auditor) i obvious. However, his predecessors Stacie and Feel were not independent either. But it is a fucking shame to have a political hack serving in a position as important as state auditor.

Anonymous said...

@2:41 PM, is using “government schools” instead of “public schools” a right wing thing kinda like “Democrat party” instead of “Democratic Party”. Asking for a friend

Anonymous said...

The school thing is a policy issue. That is not why we have a state auditor. We have elections to address policy issues.

I'm actually disappointed to see young auditor White jumping straight into politically motivated witch hunts.

Anonymous said...

Sad thing is that the Democrats controlled both houses for twenty years and did NOTHING. Now they want to blame the other side for their failure to act. Only thing the Dems did was enact legislation that would put more green stuff in their pockets (ie. Prison head who's now in jail). Jay Hughes can't stand the truth and more people are sick of his bullshit. Glad we have Shad on board. He's done more in his short time to recover monies than either of the past two. I guess he's probably caught some of Jay's friends in his snare.

Anonymous said...

Shad has been had by his political ambition. He is a political lap dog to Phil. But, give him credit. He is doing his best to deliver on political promises to forever be a political lackey. Of course, this means that some day he will move up like the rest of the sad bunch of politicians who only care about the next election.

Anonymous said...

JPS is still screwed up. The Davis/Obama Magnet principal is a new JPS assistant superintendent. Her husband was disbarred and not for something petty.

Anonymous said...

No one can blame Shad for being too idealistic. He is cut from the old stars and bars Dixie cloth like so many Dixiecrats before him.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Shad lost every shred of dignity and integrity with the false report in an effort to support Tate Reeves.

Is is an accountant or a lawyer when he worked for the Koch Brothers? Never knew him to be an accountant.

Anonymous said...

All of Shad's efforts have been uncovering massive amounts of money to the taxpayers.....why is this a bad thing?

bill said...

Jay Hughes, like so many others on the left, has conveniently avoided the central point of Auditor White's report - that the increases to the cost of administration have grown faster than the increases to the cost of teachers. Defend that if you want, but the numbers don't lie.

By the way, Jay's not the first political candidate to allow comments. I suspect his election will turn out the same as the other guy.

Anonymous said...

5:07 - What is really a 'shame' is your use of the F-Word twice in a three-sentence post.

Anonymous said...

Inflation does not change the general narrative of the Auditor's report. PEER issued this report in 2015.

Anonymous said...

I am curious about the private school statement...private schools aren’t receiving funds. Which is why they don’t have to teach to the state test nor bow down to common core. Wonder what’s the basis for that comment.

Anonymous said...

3:03, the basis for the comment is probably the Education Scholarship Account program, where public funds are used to send special needs kids to private schools or to home school them when their public schools can't meet their needs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, 309. I don’t think of those when I think ‘private school’ - a special needs school (to me, at least) falls into a different category than a traditional private / independent school.

Anonymous said...

Actually, 7:23, the numbers DO lie. That's the problem.

First, Shad cherry picked 2006 as his baseline year for expenditures, knowing it was an aberration with incredibly low administrative spending. Had he picked 2008 (which would have been the right year to start a "last ten years analysis") his conclusion would have been 100% reversed: it would have showed we've CUT administrative costs.

Second, Shad completely ignored inflation -- an error so laughable it would mean failing a freshman level accounting course, or an accountant being sued into bankruptcy.

Here, it taints the results for at least three different reasons, and takes the "$11,000 raise" from the realm of dumb, irresponsible wishful thinking to the realm of outright, deliberately lying. All to sell a larger lie that you don't need to pay taxes to invest in education.

(And there's more, rest assured. Those are just the most blatantly obvious tricks.)

Projected numbers based on nothing ARE LIES -- just ask the timber ponzi scheme victims. But at least in their case, the lie didn't come from the person who's supposed to ensure integrity and scrupulous honesty in state finances.

Anonymous said...

3:13; There is no such thing in this state as a 'special needs school'. What the hell are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Nancy Loonatic's memo has obviously been digested. No bias there.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for someone to identify one state problem that a democrat administration has solved. Go back as far as you need to. You people like to bitch that republicans are in charge, yet you fail to acknowledge democrats ran this state for 20 some odd years prior to Kirk Fordice and you cannot name one problem they solved.

And Steve Holland, Billy McCoy, Cecil Brown and Willie Winter can feel free to chime in anonymously.

Anonymous said...

@4:48 there are absolutely special needs schools in this state. The 3-D School on the coast and Hattiesburg as well as TIDE School in Hattiesburg.

What Is A Special Needs School said...

Tell us more, 10:03. Since all of those are over a hundred miles away, never heard of them. Dilbert has mentioned them in his autism campaign on state time.

Anonymous said...

Shad is going to break his arm patting himself on the back. All the press is self-serving and causes me to be suspicious of his true motivations.

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