Is GPS hiding its budgets????

The AZ Legislature just passed HB-2421 which essentially requires all public entities that are supported and run with taxpayer monies to post their budgets for how these monies are spent.  GPS, has posted the financial details on their website, but a translator is needed to help one make any sense of it.  What’s really being spent for what?  Like any budget, there are general classifications, but the breakdown from there is pretty sketchy.  For example, from which area of the budget did GPS pay $100,000 for a vendor to write a strategic plan?  $50,000 for lobbying interests came from where? 

A GSInfo supporter was sent this link from GPS when inquiring about the budget that gives the kind of detail we’re talking about. The following link is for 2010. http://www.gilbertschools.net/departments/businessserv/bus_serv_pdfs/2010AFR.pdf.

Why isn’t more detail available.  The school board just approved the budget for the 2011-2012 school year.  At the opening of discussion, it became apparent that a newly revised version was placed before board members prior to the meeting.  Understandably, budgets of a bureaucratic nature can be a constantly moving target.  However, upon explanation from Teddy Dumlao as to what exactly is being approved, he explained to board members that all that is being decided are the limits beyond which the district is unable to go for spending in various categories.  He further explained that this would be revisited later and a revised “budget” or list of limitations would be put before board members later in the school year.  So one has to ask… what’s the point of setting limits if they are constantly in motion?  Additionally, if these are limits being set, then why can’t these details be ironed out at least a few days ahead of time in order for board members and the public to have a chance to digest them?

$297+ Million is the final number.  This, down from $302+ Million listed earlier.  Still, there seems to be more focus on the $208+ Million that is the typical budgetary focus rather than acknowledge that the full ticket cost for educating just over $36,000 students next year is an additional $89 Million.  So the new figures are in.  The full cost of education for our students is right close to $8,200 per student.  At 27 students per classroom on average, that’s $221,400.  Doesn’t that seem a bit high?  How much SHOULD a year of K-12 instruction cost per student?

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