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Capital Fund should be put back into school budget

Sharing Education Capital Project Funds:
A Lesson from McMinn County

In 2011, the cities of Athens and Etowah sued McMinn County because the county had put money into an education capital projects fund and used those funds for renovations and additions to county schools, and the cities believed that those funds should have been shared with their school systems. McMinn County responded that they were not obligated to share these capital project funds with the city. The trial court agreed and entered judgment for the county.

The trial court stated, “When a county makes a tax assessment for future capital outlay projects, such an assessment is not subject to proration among all LEAs in the county.” The trial court found that the relevant statute is clear and unambiguous — it requires sharing only of funds for current operation and maintenance purposes, and funds collected for future capital projects are not for current operation and maintenance.

Predictably, the cities appealed. In December 2014, the Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision for the county. The cities attempted a further appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court, but that Court declined to hear the case in May 2015. There can be no other appeals. The trial court’s decision is now final.

Under this case, counties in which there are multiple school systems may make appropriations to an education capital projects fund and expend that money for school capital projects without being required to share those funds with any city or special school districts in the county. These funds can only be used for capital projects.

This case only affects money appropriated and set aside for capital expenditures for education. Any money used for current operation or maintenance purposes, as well as funds borrowed for education capital expenditures, must be shared with the other school systems in the county.

To read the case, please click HERE to view a PDF.

Source: CTAS Newsletter

 

The BS Gap Continues to Grow

snake-oil-salesman475by Eric Holcombe

Dad Gone Wild has a new post about the Achievement School District (ASD) in TN directed by Teach For America (TFA) alum Chris Barbic. Remember that Chris was tagged for the position by Kevin Huffman, the former executive v.p. of public relations for TFA (and board member of PARCC of no-bid, testing contract fame) who was appointed by Achieve Inc. board member Bill Haslam. Somebody had to spend the $90 million Bill Gates grant given to Memphis to start up charter schools. The ASD was created by Jamie SCORE Woodson’s special session First To The Top bill in January 2010 at the same time the Common Core “state” Standards were being committed to (before they existed) in the fraudulent Race To The Top federal grant application that claimed unanimous support and signatures from every director of schools, school board chair and teacher union representative in the state. Shortly after passage, she quit her Senate seat to start collecting Bill Gates’ checks at TNSCORE along with Bill Frist (nearly $6M now and counting).

So, what was the ASD supposed to do? Well, frankly an impossible task – take the bottom 5% of schools academically and move them to the top 25% academically, in just five years. Okay, anyone paying attention to achievement scores knows this is not realistic and would expect some shall we say, creative accounting, was involved if this proved to be true. Well, Chris and Co. have already done some of that, creating a new “school” out of thin air when reporting scores to report year-over-year “improvement” that was at best an apples-to-oranges comparison. Now that the 5-year goal deadline is approaching, the Gates money is running thin, well something has to give to keep the dream alive:

From the post,

“…Barbic says,

“We could say tomorrow we are changing the goal. The only blowback we would probably get is from you guys (media). But there is nothing stopping us. I could wake up tomorrow and decide I want to do something different.

Wow. If we were making porn movies, that would be what they call the money shot. The hubris is appalling. I guess he forgot that part about kid’s lives being at stake. Hey, when you’re building a franchise, it’s hard to keep track of the players. It’s interesting that this line appeared in the original story in the Commercial Appeal but by mid-afternoon the next day it and two other paragraphs had oddly disappeared only to be replaced by more flattering paragraphs like below,”

Click here to read the rest of the post at Dad Gone Wild

Then remind yourself of how many years the Tennessee Virtual Academy was allowed to exist before being shut down by the state amidst enrollment caps instituted by Achieve Inc. board member Haslam, while parents with a choice still wanted to escape there with their children.

 

Commie Core repeal and replace – more GOP smoke and mirrors

by Eric Holcombe

http://rockytoppolitics.com/2015/04/28/part-three-barbarians-at-the-gate/
wolf_in_sheeps_clothing12This is the only realistic positive spin on the rebranded TN Commie Core that I have seen. Unfortunately, it also is one of the first pieces from RTP that makes them look like controlled opposition. Lipsticking the pig is not a victory no matter how you slice it. Republicans getting more say in the crooked “Tennessee Standards” review committee that shouldn’t even exist isn’t much of a win. Kind of like how we can no longer elect the judicial branch because they are better at picking them than us. Because they took the federal Race To The Top bribe and then Haslam took the NCLB waiver (which requires adherence to Commie Core), we are still shackled to following the fed direction on standards copywritten by two Washington DC corporations and Pearson “aligned” testing (and therefore “aligned” curriculum). They will not do anything to jeopardize the flow of their federal sugar daddy dollars.

There were real, actual, stick-a-fork-in-the-pig bills available for “conservative Republicans” to pass this session regarding Commie Core  – and they wimped out. Lots of conflicts with those bills, like Achieve Inc. board member Haslam couldn’t be a member of Achieve Inc. and (continue to) get paid by Bill Gates. Education Commissioner and illegal, no-bid-contract PARCC liaison, Candice McQueen would have to sever that relationship. The Commie Core whores at TNSCORE would be out of business, etc. Any future actions by state level actors of this sort would be prohibited. That means B. Fielding Rolston and the state board signing promissory notes to implement Commie Core before they can even read it (again).

I still am not convinced the state legislators who really understand the state’s rights issue here is much more than a handful. Anybody that has the mindset they will just do a better job of handpicking the oligarchs than Haslam doesn’t get the fundamentals of self-governance and liberty, or true diversity of thought across the state’s communities. They still believe we all are to be whitewashed widgets, they just want to choose the bucket of whitewash. The state has already shown it cannot be trusted. Rather than going to prison for accepting federal bribes in exchange for testing & curriculum contracts, personal data sales to foreign companies and standards adoption, they are put in charge of making the new standards. What could possibly go wrong?

But it isn’t just education, though that is a major financial chunk of business – about 45% of all state spending last I checked. You could look at the failure to repeal the Hall Income Tax (again) – even with the Republican “super” majority.

Or the failure to reinstate true 2nd Amendment rights according to the US Constitution (which appears to apply some of the time when they want it to: for overriding state laws). What did the “super” majority do with Constitutional Carry?

Or maybe “school choice” vouchers? Another failure. I only see Teach For America still in business under the Commie Core formed ISD – and the other public school choice parents had, Tennessee Virtual Academy, being closed. However Shelby and Davidson counties remain open at more than twice the cost with the same poor academics.

In case you have forgotten, this was all stuff that was promised when Republicans were in the minority. And just like Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, they haven’t delivered a bit of it. Like Newt, I suspect they would use the excuse he did: “we only said we’d bring it to a vote – not that we would actually vote for it”.

They are still clinging to the same political club that just made Pigeon Forge liquor referendum king Ryan Haynes (not a Representative of Sevier County) their chairman. This is like some kind of battered wife syndrome. If there really are 50+ “conservatives” in TN legislature why are you still with this club?

You don’t need them.

Most federal grants are unconstitutional

Tonight the Blount County Commission is being asked to vote on six federal grants, one for equipment for a school and five traffic grants.  All six grants are unconstitutional; therefore, I will be voting no on all six even though the equipment is for a school in my district.

The first thing that I did when taking office was raise my right hand and affirm that I would obey the federal and state constitutions.  Thus even though we might need equipment for schools, I am constrained by my oath of office and must vote no.  I would support a constitutionally authorized source of funding for food equipment for schools but not a funding source that violates my oath of office and the supreme law of the land.

Conservatives like to talk about the federal government having no role in education and some will even campaign on abolishing the federal Department of Education but that quickly becomes empty campaign rhetoric after the election.  Having read the constitution many times, finding nothing in it to authorize these grants and having made a solemn affirmation to uphold the constitution, I will be voting no.

Additionally, there has been some talk about the DUI road blocks being unconstitutional.  They are but that misses the greater point for the county funding body.  The funding for all 5 five traffic grants is unconstitutional.  There is no authority in the federal constitution for the feds to tax us (gas tax) and use the money to fund a police state.  Thus, voting no on one or two and voting yes on the rest is inconsistent with the supreme law of the land, the constitution.

In case anyone has any doubt, I will leave you with a letter that President James Madison wrote when he vetoed a public works bill (think roads and water ways, what we are dealing with tonight).  He said he was constrained by the constitution to veto the legislation because there is no authority for it in the constitution.  He should know, since he was the primary author of the constitution.

Let freedom ring!
Tona

March 3, 1817

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

Having considered the bill this day presented to me entitled “An act to set apart and pledge certain funds for internal improvements,” and which sets apart and pledges funds “for constructing roads and canals, and improving the navigation of water courses, in order to facilitate, promote, and give security to internal commerce among the several States, and to render more easy and less expensive the means and provisions for the common defense,” I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling the bill with the Constitution of the United States to return it with that objection to the House of Representatives, in which it originated.

The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers, or that it falls by any just interpretation with the power to make laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution those or other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States.

“The power to regulate commerce among the several States” can not include a power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses in order to facilitate, promote, and secure such commerce without a latitude of construction departing from the ordinary import of the terms strengthened by the known inconveniences which doubtless led to the grant of this remedial power to Congress.

To refer the power in question to the clause “to provide for common defense and general welfare” would be contrary to the established and consistent rules of interpretation, as rendering the special and careful enumeration of powers which follow the clause nugatory and improper. Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them, the terms “common defense and general welfare” embracing every object and act within the purview of a legislative trust. It would have the effect of subjecting both the Constitution and laws of the several States in all cases not specifically exempted to be superseded by laws of Congress, it being expressly declared “that the Constitution of the United States and laws made in pursuance thereof shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges of every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” Such a view of the Constitution, finally, would have the effect of excluding the judicial authority of the United States from its participation in guarding the boundary between the legislative powers of the General and the State Governments, inasmuch as questions relating to the general welfare, being questions of policy and expediency, are unsusceptible of judicial cognizance and decision.

A restriction of the power “to provide for the common defense and general welfare” to cases which are to be provided for by the expenditure of money would still leave within the legislative power of Congress all the great and most important measures of Government, money being the ordinary and necessary means of carrying them into execution.

If a general power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses, with the train of powers incident thereto, be not possessed by Congress, the assent of the States in the mode provided in the bill can not confer the power. The only cases in which the consent and cession of particular States can extend the power of Congress are those specified and provided for in the Constitution.

I am not unaware of the great importance of roads and canals and the improved navigation of water courses, and that a power in the National Legislature to provide for them might be exercised with signal advantage to the general prosperity. But seeing that such a power is not expressly given by the Constitution, and believing that it can not be deduced from any part of it without an inadmissible latitude of construction and reliance on insufficient precedents; believing also that the permanent success of the Constitution depends on a definite partition of powers between the General and the State Governments, and that no adequate landmarks would be left by the constructive extension of the powers of Congress as proposed in the bill, I have no option but to withhold my signature from it, and to cherishing the hope that its beneficial objects may be attained by a resort for the necessary powers to the same wisdom and virtue in the nation which established the Constitution in its actual form and providently marked out in the instrument itself a safe and practicable mode of improving it as experience might suggest.

President James Madison

Source: http://www.constitution.org/jm/18170303_veto.htm

 

Seven Reasons to Vote for the Libertarian Party

From Reason:

1. The Libertarian Party supports all of your freedoms, all of the time
2. The Libertarian Party is consistent and principled
3. Voting for old party politicians tells them that you want to keep government big
4. Voting Libertarian is the only clear message you can send
5. Voting Libertarian forces the old parties to take the libertarian positions
6. Because the old parties don’t want you to
7. Voting Libertarian helps your favorite “libertarian-leaning old party politician


For great explanations to each of these reasons, click the link above or here.

 

Why Partyism Is Wrong

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/opinion/david-brooks-why-partyism-is-wrong.html?_r=0

I don’t agree with every statement in this op-ed, but it raises a good point.  There’s too much emphasis on party politics.  This may be a consequence of big government.  A couple of years ago I read an article about political views being more important in the success of a marriage than religion.  Society needs to take a hard look at classifying people based on party labels, because not everyone fits in the right-left paradigm.

They call it Socialization – Tanks for Schools Edition

photo: beforeitsnews

photo: beforeitsnews

The NEA proves correct on good  ol’ Resolution B-83  once again:

The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience.”

It’s Not Just the Police – The Feds are Also Militarizing Public Schools with Grenade Launchers, M16s and Tanks

“A federal program that has drawn criticism in recent weeks for supplying surplus military gear to local police has also provided high-powered rifles, armored vehicles and other equipment to police at public schools, some of whom were unprepared for what they were getting.”

What can I say? Homeschoolers simply cannot afford our own MRAPs, grenade launchers, etc. to keep up with the Joneses. And the mean ol’ NEA doesn’t think we should be able to play with the ones the public schools are getting.

I guess we will just have to settle for THP no refusal vampire stops on the local highways and do the best we can to get our kids “socialized”.

 

Common Core – Made In China

COMMON COREFrom Reason.com:

The New York Times recently published a fascinating interview with Yong Zhao, a professor of education at the University of Oregon. Zhao was born in China; unlike many American intellectuals, he does not think U.S. schools should try to emulate China.”

“‘If the United States and the rest of the West are concerned about being overtaken by China, the best solution is to avoid becoming China,’ he said.”

“Chinese schools stamp out individuality and make kids spend all their time preparing for exams that are focused on “narrow intelligence.” This produces fewer creative and entrepreneurial people, which is precisely what the authoritarian national government of China wants, according to Zhao.”

Zhao warned that the kind of standardization offered by Common Core is a danger to a free culture and a free economy.” (emphasis mine)

 

When will Republicans and Democrats stop forcing us to pay for this?

New Tax to Buy Laptops not a Good Idea

From Reason.com:

“Bureaucrats love to throw fancy technology at schools and expect it to magically improve students’ learning outcomes. That’s easier than hiring, training, and fairly compensating good teachers, right?”

“By the time Jerry Crocamo, a computer network engineer, arrived in Hoboken’s school system in 2011, every seventh, eighth, and ninth grader had a laptop. Each year a new crop of seventh graders were outfitted. Crocamo’s small tech staff was quickly overwhelmed with repairs.”

“We had “half a dozen kids in a day, on a regular basis, bringing laptops down, going ‘my books fell on top of it, somebody sat on it, I dropped it,’ ” said Crocamo.”

“Screens cracked. Batteries died. Keys popped off. Viruses attacked. Crocamo found that teenagers with laptops are still . . . teenagers.”

““We bought laptops that had reinforced hard-shell cases so that we could try to offset some of the damage these kids were going to do,” said Crocamo. “I was pretty impressed with some of the damage they did anyway. Some of the laptops would come back to us completely destroyed.””

 

Isn’t this why the taxes were just raised in Blount County?