With all of the current debate going on over the school budget mess in Fort Wayne, a whole lot of anger has been directed toward Superintendent Wendy Robinson. Listening to WOWO’s Pat White program, I hear complaints that she’s overpaid, inept, and even corrupt. Many would have her fired, or at the very least slash her pay drastically. Are these feelings merited?
Perspective is everything. Wendy Robinson, prior to the recession, was lauded as one of the top education administrators in the nation. As a new teacher in the Fort Wayne Community Schools, I was told by everyone in the district that she was a friend to the teachers. She supported the union wholeheartedly. No budget-related problems were ever reported before the recent wave of cuts.
When the cuts began to hit, she sent an email to the entire district asking for suggestions. I myself suggested outsourcing human resources needs such as pay and benefits. I added that ninety percent of funds ought to make it to individual schools. She seems to have taken those suggestions seriously, as they were soon announced via the local media as changes toward meeting the budget goals.
I also emailed State Superintendent Tony Bennett regarding those same issues. I requested a copy of the state education budget, or at least a summary of how and where funds are being spent. I suggested that an efficient state education budget would deliver at least ninety percent of its funds to the individual school corporations across the state. As of yet, I’ve received no response.
However, I doubt that level of efficiency is being practiced. Why? When Obama sent nine million dollars in funds targeted toward our district, three million were siphoned off by the state bureaucracy. If that is anything similar to how regular funds are spent, a third of our education budget never gets anywhere near a single student, but is spent on a huge, overpriced state education machine. Such a misuse of funds is not Wendy Robinson’s fault.
Let’s hold our state officials as accountable as the local ones. Dr. Robinson has done a lot for our children here in Fort Wayne, but even she can’t make money appear out of thin air.