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More commentary on the school funding issue …

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Pathetic defenses

    How pathetic that Neudorfer, Strong and Laperle in last week’s paper vehemently defended Bedford School’s funding despite our pitiful 131st position of 132 jurisdictions.  Laperle then has the nerve to imply that this statistic is a lie.  Statistics are facts—not lies—unless purposefully distorted.  I wonder how he would like to be evaluated on just one “lying statistic”; i.e., SOL’s?  Bedford is an abysmal example of school support by our Supervisors.
    Strong gave faint praise—you know what that means—to Bedford teachers for their effort.  It must be their effort.  It’s certainly not their pay.
    Neudorfer argues that 48 localities get less money from the State and 42 get less from the Feds.  News flash!  That is not to be celebrated.  It is because Bedford is the 64th richest jurisdiction of the 132 and expected to fund its own education more fully.  He says such analysis is unfair because 38 other localities spend less per pupil.  What hypocrisy!  He fails to mention that 94 jurisdictions spend more.  Why count up from the bottom?  But statistic don’t lie.  It’s just the intent of the user that distorts the facts.
    On 9/5/10 and 11/30/11, I wrote letters on the dismal record of our county using data from the VEA Virginia Educational Disparities Reports.  It is not just Bedford that is miserable.  Virginia is the seventh wealthiest state, but 38th in State support of schools.  Thanks Republicans.
    Despite being the 64th richest jurisdiction, we are 105th in our willingness to tax ourselves and that is the heart of the problem—no guts or foresight—only a no tax increase mentality.  Yet we are glad to take others money at 79th in receipt of State funds.  Other statistics include: average teacher salary 118th, instructional disbursements 127th, teaching positions/1,000 students 77th, and operations funding/student 128th.   There is more but no space in 350 words.
    So Messers Newdorfer, Strong and Laperle, put your efforts behind improving our education, not defending Bedford’s absurd position.  Funding education is so much cheaper than funding police, prisons, unemployment, welfare etc.  Bedford Supervisors are pitiful and only they can change that.
 
David McLoughlin
Forest