Each year, the Budget Committee devolves into sub-committees to handle each area or department of both the Town and the School District. Yesterday was dedicated to three such meetings for me on the School Board budget: Federal Projects, Food Service, and “District Wide” maintenance.
Now those of you that have been reading the ‘Grok for a while know that one of my big bugaboos is the combination of TANSTAAFL and “free money” – the former being “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” (H/T: Robert Heinlein) and the “free money” really isn’t – somewhere someone is paying state or federal taxes in order for my hamlet to get “free money.” I dunno about your elected or appointed officials but mine can very seldom put those two concepts together in a cogent fashion. Actually, TANSTAAFL doesn’t seem to be in their vocabulary but “free money” often is.
Well, our Assistant Superintendent for Business (chief bean counter) Scott Isabelle decided a bit of bamboozling was in order (paraphrasing here):
Of our total budget, we only have to raise X number dollars via taxes as Federal/State grants take care of the rest.
He was speaking of Federal reimbursements for Food Service meals and Title I, II, IDEA and Pre-school grants, as well as some grants from the State). I should have written down the actual numbers as they didn’t quite click with me – I remember thinking that the second number, the “free money” wasn’t adding up for me. No matter, that’s not the important issue.
Once again, we see officials at lower levels of government (of which the town is the lowest) always trying to put a spin on “how much is this going to cost y’all” when the bill comes do. They really do believe that we all are that stupid not to know that regardless of the source of the “free money”, it is ALWAYS taxes that come out of our pockets.
That’s when I quietly spoke out “TANSTAAFL – there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. Isabelle got it right away – with a slight grimace. However, the (relatively) new Superintendent didn’t – a completely blank face.
They really do believe what they say.
Oh yeah, another thing to talk about later – “Highly Qualified”