Wednesday, August 08, 2007

More statements on education

Michael Cass has pinned the candidates down a little more on what to do about funding schools in light of the property tax referendum requirement added by voters last year. In a Metro Dispatch entry raising the challenge that the next mayor will have to choose between cutting services and cutting costs,

Clement said he would find another way: growing the Metro tax base by recruiting new businesses to town and promoting tourism.“You can grow your way out of some problems,” he said.

Dean, meanwhile, said he would work to cut administrative costs. “Obviously, my preference would be to cut overhead and give more emphasis to providing the services,” he said. “But you have to manage the resources that are available.” (Metro Dispatch, August 8, 2007)

The contours of some different approaches are evident here. Dean's response mirrors the fiscal management approach of the Purcell administration, while Clement's approach follows the growth path as the solution to funding limits. Of course, these are both good and bad responses. They probably are not exclusive of each other, and the best solution lies in the middle. Dean needs to remember his point that "it's all connected," since the city's growth potential is ultimately weakened by poor public education. Funding uncertainty and continual belt-tightening also undermine parental confidence and participation in the system, however, so those parts are connected too.

So far, from my admittedly limited observation, neither man has articulated a clear picture of the Mayor's role in all of this. We need to grow, and we need to manage our spending wisely. Given. What will you do as mayor to see to it that we do both?

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