'Nothing logical or practical' about school budget process, Pasco board chairman says
Joanne Hurley had what seemed a simple request: The vice chairwoman of the Pasco School Board wanted to table a proposal to add more days to an assistant principal's contract.
Her concern was that the board had been talking about reducing contracts for some administrators as a cost-saving move. The better move would be to wait until further in the budget process, Hurley said — and not just for this one position.
She said she believes the district approves all job assignments too early in the budget cycle and that the decisions should be put off until later in the summer. "I know that's several weeks down the road and I know that's not a popular concept," she added, acknowledging that teachers would be upset not knowing where they are going to work.
But there's a problem inherent in the idea of waiting, board chairman Allen Altman and chief finance officer Olga Swinson both pointed out.
Primarily, students can't sign up for classes if they don't know who will be teaching at their schools. And setting schedules in the late summer, with school about to start, would be too chaotic.
"They can't wait for us to have a budget. It will never get done," Altman said.
Added Swinson: "I cannot finish the budget until the allocations are done." If the district has too many employees and not enough money, it will simply change the budget later, she continued.
Try not to make sense of it, Altman said: "If you try to look at this as logical and practical, you will go nuts. There is nothing logical or practical about this."