Charles E. Roemer, IV
BESE District 6
Honorable John Kennedy
Treasurer – State of Louisiana
Dear Mr. Treasurer:
It is with great interest that I have watched the Streamlining Commission and reviewed its recommendations especially as it relates to the Department of Education (“DOE”). While I believe you are asking very relevant questions in regard to contracts at DOE and other agencies, I would suggest an alternative approach to streamlining when it comes to the DOE: let’s close the Department and reopen it after it has been restructured from top to bottom and this includes a thorough discussion of the size and scope of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (“BESE”). To some this may seem extreme, but I would argue that changes at the margin will only result in marginal change, and if we are serious about streamlining in this state then we should take bold steps to transform the way we do business.
While I respect the efforts being made to change the DOE by Superintendent Pastorek, I find at best DOE and BESE to be slow, bureaucratic and unresponsive to the real needs of our kids. Our most likely course of action when presented with a potential change and or improvement to the status quo is to send the issue to a study group for further review.
DOE is the product of 30 years or more of bureaucratic management and build up. This was not created over night or even in the last few years. The question, however, is not “is some money wasted” because I have no doubt that some is, and in fact, given the status of education in our state I would argue large sums have been wasted. The relevant question is “what do we do going forward”. We need to consider the entirety of the Department for reorganization, and we need to include in the discussion the current formula used to fund education in our state – the MFP. The MFP represents the vast majority of the money we spend on education in k-12 and yet, accountability for those dollars is very limited.
To close the Department for reorganization is akin to taking a business through bankruptcy and I would argue we are bankrupt both financially and in terms of our outcomes. This task, however, cannot be done by the Superintendent or by BESE it can only be done with cooperation and political will of the streamlining commission, the legislature, and the Governor. I ask for your support.
BESE District 6