Thursday, April 18, 2019

#TXLEGE: Speaking about More Efficiently Funding Education

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

Yesterday, immediately following the committee discussion about higher ed. funding, we attended TPPF's event: Using Efficiency Audits to Help Schools Succeed.  The timing was ironic, because we think efficiency audits are a BIG part of the solution for higher ed. funding.  While TPPF's event discussed K-12 funding, the principle applies at all levels of education.

For those who remember Prop. K from last fall, we're talking about the same type of efficiency audit.  They're designed to root out waste.  TPPF wants to apply them to school districts.

For all of the bill's flaws, HB 3's silver lining is that it requires school districts to undergo efficiency audits before they can raise M&O taxes.  As TPPF's Kara Belew explained, that's a major reform.  It might make the bill more palatable.

The other panelist was Erin Covington, from the firm Alvarez-Marsal.  They're a firm that performs these audits with various governmental entities.  Covington discussed specific benefits specific entities received.  While some of the changes were big, policy-making, decisions, other stuff was minor.  One story Covington told, about a school district that saved millions by having its maintenance staff work in the evening (easier access to classrooms), stood out.

During Q&A, we asked Covington about how she dealt with entrenched special interests.  We asked because of this guy's performance in last fall's election.  Covington's response was that they let the facts speak for themselves.  We suspect that this guy didn't want said facts to speak for themselves.

Bottom Line: Periodic efficiency audits are a no-brainer.  All levels of government should adopt them.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is a political hack (who's probably getting rich off political connections).

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