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  • Thursday, July 30, 2009

     

    Metro VIEWS: A commentary by John Rossmann

    Metro VIEWS
    A community service of the
    Greater Orange Communities Organization
    Giving voice to the Greater Orange Communities

    “99.99% of taxpayers never look at source documents”
    By John Rossmann

    You [Orange Net News] reported in your July 20 newsletters that the OUSD’s budget shows $342,000 in “unappropriated funds”.

    The July 14 issue of The Sentry reported to the OUSD community that the OUSD’s 2009-2010 budget shows a $12 million shortfall.

    Who’s right?

    None of you.

    That "unappropriated funds" figure first: Take a clue from the 2008-09 budget figures reported on the same page of the Board Agenda as the 2009-10 budget figures. Section F, Line 2 Ending Balance shows that OUSD ended fiscal 2008-09 on June 30 with a cash surplus of $20.5 million, $17 million of which was Unrestricted funds. Below the Ending Balance figures one finds a long list of so-called "designations" which make it appear as if that Ending Balance was nearly all allocated to existing expenses...but...

    Check out the Beginning Fund Balance for 2009-10: You find that all of the 2008-09 Ending Balance is carried over unspent into 2009-10. None of the so-called "designations" were actually spent.

    Now, check the budget reports for as far back as you care to: You'll find that none of the "designated" money is ever actually spent. It's an accounting shell game designed to do just what it did to you --- to make you think that the surplus cash was actually accounted for by expenditures. Sure worked on you.

    Then there's The Sentry. The Section C "deficit" figure provides anti-union media with just what it wants: Ammunition to claim that any attempt by the teachers' union to ask for raises and better benefits is an atrocity, and what teachers should be doing is willingly accepting cuts "for the good of the children." Remember that back in 2000 the Sorenson Report tried to make clear to the public that sections A, B, and C of a school district budget --- especially that of OUSD --- are fiction and that the true Bottom Line is always Section F, Line 2 which reports the Ending Balance. The Sorenson Report failed to get reported on because The Register, The Times, and The Sentry are all rabidly anti-union and reporting any hint that there is really surplus cash in the OUSD (or any district's) budget they see as playing into the hands of the unions and "greedy teachers."

    Unfortunately, 99.99% of taxpayers never look at source documents or understand them if they did. Folks "only know what they read in the newspapers" (or on the Internet).

    Folks deserve truly analytical reporting.
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    Editor’ note: John Rossmann is a retired teacher from OUSD and was President of the Orange Unified Educators Association during the successful Orange Recall.

    The Orange Net News’ ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE July 20th reported on the OUSD School Board’s June 18, 2009 budget presentation by OUSD staff that projected a $342,000 in unappropriated funds for the 2009-2010 budget year. CLICK ON: ONN July 20

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    Opinions expressed in Metro VIEWS are not necessarily the opinion of the networks that post it.
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    Metro VIEWS
    is a community service of the
    Greater Orange Communities Organization

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