The Thornton Scam — Who Benefits?

A report from a Baltimore-based advocacy group reveals that schools are spending less on at-risk children, even after receiving massive Thornton funds to help those children. Officials from Advocates for Children and Youth testified that schools in 2006 spent $23 million less than 2005 on programs targeting at risk students. Schools have received nearly $500 million in funds under the Thornton plan, purportedly directed towards helping those very students.

So where has the money gone? Who is benefiting from this taxpayer windfall? As you might expect, it’s not the school children. Those who promoted the plan – largely the teachers’ unions – are those who are gaining from it. Nearly half the funds so far have gone to increasing teacher salaries.

The school bureaucracy is circling the wagons. Rather than counter the simple fact of reduced spending on needy children, school superintendent Jerry Weast just insists that everything is fine. “Any implication by this group that we are not adequately funding education programs for at-risk children is insulting to the taxpayers of Montgomery County.”

Break down that statement. Weast isn’t accused of inadequate funding for at-risk students, but rather of directing funds to teachers salaries. Note the snide and dismissive reference to “this group.” That’s a condescending assertion that they should mind their own business. And finally, pretending that the insult is to the taxpayers of Montgomery County – rather than to those who are receiving the taxes from those taxpayers. The insult to the taxpayers is Weast’s attempt to pass the buck without addressing the facts. The insult to the taxpayers, in short, is the flimsy premise behind the whole Thornton scam.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Budget and Taxes, Education

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