State News Roundup

February 12, 1992 2 min read

The growth of Georgia’s educational bureaucracy over the past two decades has siphoned an additional 24 cents of each education dollar away from classroom instruction, a public-policy think tank asserts in a recent report.

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation said the percentage of education dollars being spent on classroom instruction declined from 76 percent in 1970 to 52 percent in 1990, largely due to massive growth in spending on administrative costs and employee benefits.

If the percentage of educational funding spent on instruction had not declined, Georgia would have spent an additional $6.2 billion on classroom instruction over the past 20 years, according to the report released last month.

Despite the shift in funding toward noninstructional costs, instructional funding in Georgia nonetheless has increased dramatically since 1970 as a result of a 684 percent increase in spending on public education, the report says.

New York State has more than doubled its spending on public education since 1980, but the increased funding has failed to produce significant improvements, argues a report by the top business lobbying group in the state.

The report by the research arm of the Business Council of New York State urges state officials to require local school districts to cut back on administrative costs and provide more money for the classroom.

The report, “The $11-Billion Mystery,” says that annual school spending in the state is now $11 bill ion higher than in 1980.

“The experience of the past decade proves conclusively that simply pouting more and more money into the same system will not necessarily produce better results,” the report states.

The report strongly endorses the “New Compact for Learning” approved by the state beard of regents last year. The compact is designed to free schools from administrative regulations to allow greater focus on educational results.

But the report says the regents have been slow to eliminate state mandates under the compact.

“The regents could jump-start the compact,” it says, “by widely publicizing the dropping of dozens of state mandates and calling on parents and taxpayers to demand a consequent rearrangement of priorities at the local level.”

Florida schools will receive $566,736 worth of computer equipment as a result of a consumer-fraud investigation of a computer retailer.

The donation, announced late last month, is part of a settlement reached between the state attorney general’s office and the Tandy Retail Group of Fort Worth, Tex. The retail chain owns 68 stores in Florida.

An investigation found that between September 1987 and July 1991, the chain charged customers a $2 “warranty-filing fee” without telling them or giving them the option of not paying. The investigation also uncovered such practices as overcharging, delaying refunds, and using “bait and switch” tactics to steer consumers toward more expensive items.

The Tandy Group has agreed to offer refunds to consumers, which could total $1.4 million. The company will also pay the state $30,000 in investigative costs and $75,000 to the consumer-fraud trust fund, state officials said.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said that the state education department will choose within the next three months the schools to receive the donated equipment, which includes 120 teacher workstations, along with computers, printers, software, and accompanying training seminars.

A version of this article appeared in the February 12, 1992 edition of Education Week as State News Roundup