Friday, September 21, 2007

ESD Efficiency Audit Released: Your Tax Dollars at Work

Because I read everything published about schools in Washington State, I downloaded the entire 1,309 page behemoth from the State Auditor's Office wherein they look at the performance of our Educational Service Districts. Those not as in love with data as I can also try the Executive Summary, though it falls waaaaay short in the explanation department.

I live and work in ESD101, and the recommendations about it are rather bland. As a classroom teacher I don't really interact much with the ESD, beyond complaining about the fact that I have to go up there for my LASER trainings. According to the audit, the ESD could save money by giving up their roles investigating complaints against teachers and settling boundry disputes. The second I would question--who better to settle turf wars than the board that oversees the turf, after all--but the first I think is a capital idea IF additional funds are then channeled towards the Office of Professional Practices at OSPI.

That's a double-edged sword, though, because it would almost be a necessity for OSPI to then have investigative staff stationed at all of the ESDs (you can't investigate something in Grand Coulee from a desk in Olympia), and if that needs to be the case, have you really saved money? Shouldn't the auditor's office take something like that into account when considering potential savings?

The local ESDs are mandated to hold a public meeting to discuss the findings against them and develop a plan to get better. That'll be the key to seeing if this process has any real meaning or not.

(Also, a nod to the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, the first place on-line I saw the story)

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