The Politically Incorrect Mom


Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I’ve had a knot in my drawers all morning about this, so I may as well vent about it.

A month ago, I was a little suspicious to hear that the City of New Orleans did not have any money to pay their school teachers more than one paycheck after Katrina. I realize I do not live in Louisiana, so the model I use to analyze the situation is the State of Pennsylvania. I did some research on the Louisiana Department of Education website and learned that they fund their schools pretty similarly to Pennsylvania.

In PA, the State gives each school district a dollar amount for each child enrolled in their school district. This amount is different each year according to the budgeting requirements, but for example; for the 2005-2006 school year, each school would be entitled to their share of 4.5 billion dollars allocated to the schools, according to how many children they have enrolled. During the 2004-2005 school year, there were 2,119,481 children enrolled in Pennsylvania K-12 schools. Assuming the 2005-2006 enrollment number is pretty close - divide that figure into 4.5 billion and you come up with an estimated dollar amount of $2,123.16 per student coming from the State of Pennsylvania.

(PA stats collected from PDE website)

The aforementioned dollar amount does not include local School Taxes, which we all pay along with our local/county property taxes. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my school taxes were more than $1000 for this fiscal year. With everything considered, my local school district is definitely not running in the red.

According to the the Louisiana Department of Education website – the dollar amount allocated per student in the 2002-2003 school year (not surprising they don’t have the statistics up-to-date on their site) for the Orleans School District is $2,791 per student – all funding considered.

Now, it’s safe to say that any uncollected school taxes associated with local properties will go uncollected during this fiscal year, but there is no reason to think the State of Louisiana and Mayor Nagin’s buddy, Governor Blanco, is going to kick the New Orleans school district while they’re down and withhold allocated funds. So, my question is, “WHERE’S THE MONEY??” A school district that is living so hand-to-mouth that they only have enough money in the budget at any given time for the next payroll – and nothing beyond that – is, in my sometimes-humble opinion – literally defunct! So, how did this happen? It certainly can’t be blamed on Katrina, not unless the cash was being held in garbage bags in the basement. So, where’s the money??

Where, Mayor Nagin, is the money you were allocated for your school districts?

The tab for rebuilding/restoring New Orleans to it’s original “splendor” (only better) is being foot by the Federal Government to the tune of mega billions, the Bush/Clinton fund raising effort to the tune of 100 million, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and all of the other relief funds that have managed to collect hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention the insurance pay-outs that will (and should already) be flooding in, so I am more than interested in learning where the money has gone that was earmarked for the 2005-2006 school year in New Orleans.

Fast-forward to yesterday…

Nagin holds a press conference, during which he breaks the bad news that he has to lay-off” as many as 3,000 “non-essential” city workers. This news, of course, is what set me off on this rant. I have more than just a few questions for Mr. Nagin and I can’t believe I’m the only one asking them.

Q. How on earth does a city afford, even in the best of times, to keep 3,000 NON-ESSENTIAL employees on the payroll?

Q. You are in the throws of what has been called the biggest natural disaster our nation has ever seen…you have barely begun to clean up your city…you’ve invited residents back to a city that is, in many areas, not inhabitable…and you’re going to get rid of 3,000 city workers? Workers who could be working on the clean-up of the city you are in charge of cleaning up.

Q. Realizing there is no sales tax and other daily revenues coming in to the City at this time, how does a City operate on such a hand-to-mouth basis that after only ONE MONTH without these revenues, all the money in the budget is spent?
You do not have to pay for the restoration of your city. You will have shiny new buildings, schools, parks, SCHOOL BUSES, business and homes – all at the expense of your fellow Americans. So what, exactly, has the money in your pre-Katrina budget been spent on?

If I lived in New Orleans I would be screaming from my rooftop (assuming I had one) for accountability. Could it be that Katrina swept through New Orleans just in time to be used as an excuse for misappropriation of City funds? It sure does look as though the city was on the verge of bankruptcy and the hurricane couldn’t have come at a better time. If it weren’t so apparent that George Bush created Katrina with his evil hurricane machine, I would think Nagin had orchestrated the storm himself.


  • At 4:41 PM, October 05, 2005, Blogger Neo-Con Tastic said…

    Good research. Nagin and Blank-O should be hung for their crimes.

    You make a great point that the hurricane couldn't have come at a better time - considering they were probably going to file for Chapter 11 within the next few weeks.

    Why should we drop billions of unexplained dollars knowing that nothing will improve except Nagin and Blank-O's bank accounts.


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