Friday, November 5, 2010

Is that cut really a cut?

A follow to my post yesterday on budgets: No matter what your superintendent says, a no-growth budget may be a bummer, but it is not a “cut.” Trimming to his or her proposed increases is not a cut either, if the total budget is not reduced from what it was the year before. Just because the politicians and PR folk play with semantics doesn’t mean you should too.


  1. Agreed on your point that reductions in requested increases are often called cuts. But whether something is a cut or not can depend on one's perspective and context.

    Say you've got a government program that purchases school supplies for kids from low-income families. It's funded at $100 and last year there were 10 kids eligible, so each got $10 for pencils and paper. This year the economy was worse and 15 kids were eligible, but the funding was still $100, so each kid gets $6.67. It sure feels like a "cut" to the student who might have to go without an eraser this year, even though the program fund is the same as last year.

    We need to always compare resources and energy expended to the size of the task at hand, which was the point at which yesterday's post was driving.

  2. It's quite simple: Cuts to per-pupil funding are real cuts.

    No, they are not cuts to total funding, but they are cuts nonetheless.

    Level total funding can also lead to cuts in funding to particular programs because of expansions in funding to others, even to required programs.