Not to make this Pick on Loudoun Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) Week, but Buona does have a knack for coming out with the sorts of pompous obfuscation that have endeared two-bit politicians to newspaper humor columnists from the founding days of our republic.
Discussing the Board’s decision last month to order the county staff to develop a budget option involving a completely arbitrarily chosen two cent cut in the property tax rate for next year, Buona “explained”:
“Last year we flew blind. If you don’t look at alternatives, we as supervisors don’t know where there are needs or where there might be excess.”
Apparently what this means is that whereas last year the all-Republican Board of Supervisors adopted a completely arbitrary cut in the property tax rate that left a $68 million shortfall in the school budget, THIS year they will consider TWO different completely arbitrary reductions in the property tax rate: one which leaves a $67 million shortfall in the school budget and another, a two cent reduction, which leaves an $80 million shortfall.
But at least they won’t be “flying blind”!
Of course what this is really about is (a) being able to claim they held the line on taxes and (b) trying to slowly undermine the public schools, which major Loudoun Republican power brokers like “Chancellor” “Dr.” Michael Farris of Patrick Henry Bible College for Home Schooled Christians Who Must Believe Exactly What Chancellor Farris Believes believe are the work of evil, satanical liberals who are trying to indoctrinate our children with such alien beliefs as “science” and “thinking.”
Accompanying the budget demagoguery will be the usual pieties from Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) that he is just trying to reduce the “top-heavy management at the administration level” and is “concerned the funding is not getting down to the classrooms and teachers.”
Well, here’s a little fun fact: the entire administrative budget of the Loudoun County Public School system is $17 million. You could eliminate that “level” in its entirety and the budget the Board is moving to adopt would still whack at least $50 million from “classrooms and teachers.”
Meanwhile, the 2,000+ new students still being added to the rolls each year thanks to the last Republican and developer controlled Board that threw open the county to unconstrained residential growth add some $30 million in operating costs to the schools. The school budget needs to grow by 3–4% a year just to keep pace with the expanding student population.
But what’s a 10% cut in the school budget when you can declare to the party faithful that you cut taxes?
Of course, angry parents just might begin to have a say about this.