Board needs to take closer look at figures

Published 11:25 pm Thursday, March 3, 2011

Depends on who’s doing the figuring. Really? That’s the response to a direct question on funding problems facing the Selma City School Board.

“Depends on who’s doing the figuring.”

That’s the answer Selma superintendent of education Donald Jefferson gave members of the school board this week during the body’s scheduled work session, a session wrought with financial handwringing, monetary gnashing of teeth and currency conundrums.

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The work session was the board’s first meeting since Gov. Robert Bentley announced a 3 percent reduction in state education funding, otherwise known as proration.

But, this was not the first time members of the board and the superintendent have gone pencil to pencil on the financial state of the school system.

The discussions have been constant since Jefferson’s first days as interim superintendent. It was then he started warning of financial problems leading to comments he made that said a new high school would have to wait.

That new school is being built and yet the board is discussing closing schools in two years to balance the budget. What exactly happened?

There is no doubt the relationship between board member Holland Powell and Jefferson is less than buddy-buddy. I doubt they’ll share a round of golf at Valley Grande anytime soon.

But, their differences aside, Powell should be applauded for challenging the financial health of our school system at every turn. No one else seems to be doing it.

When it comes to numbers there should never be a situation where the answer is left up to interpretation and should never “depend on who’s doing the figuring.”

In the world of math, two plus two equals four. In the world of math, there are absolutes.

Let’s just hope those doing the figuring of our educational finances also deal in absolutes.