Friday, May 13, 2016

Financial Shortfall and the Lay-Person

I was in a conversation with a gal the other day and she was asking me questions about why Oklahoma is in such a bind when it comes to education. She went on to say she passes by several schools on her drive and they are adding on or building up the school. Her question was - how do we have money to build and not the money to pay teachers?

I had to explain to her that unlike personal banking accounts where she can decide if she has a vacation fund or pay the bills fund or buying a new pair of shoes fund. In the financial world that the education system must live in, you cannot take from the vacation fund to pay your bills. If you have a vacation fund, you go on vacation and let the water and electric get shut off. You buy the shoes and let the house go to repo. She was pretty upset at that point. She (the lay-person) was not informed as to how the situation worked.  

As a typical human being with typical senses (who may have also survived the single semester of personal finance requires by the state), if the end of the month is coming and I don't have enough money to cover my mortgage, I will use my savings to cover the month. If I have no savings, I liquidate some assets that would be considered luxuries. I have sat in on grade level meeting in schools where a text book is adopted and then because of an emphasis on math and reading, is rarely used. How much sense does this make? I being an intern greenly asked why, and the answer was it was their turn in the rotation. That year 45 teachers did not get their jobs renewed due to budget cut backs.  It's a heck of a way to manage your funds. There was a time and a place for it, but now, desperate times call for desperate measures. We are past the old school way for managing funds. Something needs to change. Until this conversation, she could not understand why we were in such dire straights. I am sure she is not the only person in Oklahoma with a thought process as such. We need to get this message out loud and quick. 

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