Prop 103, the proposed $3 billion tax increase for public education, failed two-to-one across Colorado. But after recent 7News and CBS4 investigations of outlandish spending by public school districts, if Prop 103 were to come up again it might go down with an even larger margin of loss.
Both CBS4 and 7News found school districts racking up insanely indefensible bills, such as Denver Public Schools spending $200,000 on fast food in a year, or school districts across the state hosting GSA-like conferences at the swanky Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs. If public school districts complain about budget cuts, their complaints are likely to fall on deaf ears if they're found paying for $30 hamburgers at the Broadmoor.
It's not just major television stations uncovering these unexcusable wastes of taxpayer dollars. Education reform activist Regan Benson found that Jefferson County schools spent over $68,000 on just pizza in 2011. As Benson points out, that $68,000 could be better spent hiring seven part-time para-professionals who are used to support teachers and students, which, after all, is how education dollars are meant to be spent.
The wasteful spending of Colorado school districts and the GSA junket in Vegas are both small amounts in comparison to their total budgets. But they destroy the lack of trust the public places in public officials to spend tax money. If you can't trust someone to spend the money you already give them properly, why in the world would you agree to give them more?
(Photo Credit: Flickr/ Mack_L)