Sad ironies sometimes seen with budget cuts

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 8, 2009

While budget cuts are often a necessity, a sad irony cansometimes be seen in the form the cuts take and the results theycould produce.

Such is the case with last Thursday’s decision by Gov. HaleyBarbour in announcing funding cuts to various state agencies. Amongthose spared the budget ax was the state Department of Corrections,but education funding is to be reduced by 5 percent.

Think about that situation in terms to the two groups primarilyserved by that funding: prisoners and school students.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Prisoners simply cannot be released back into society as aresult of funding cuts, and any reduction in the care and treatmentthey receive while incarcerated would likely garner the attentionof inmate rights groups and potentially lawsuits. Therefore, thestate must continue to pay three times or more than the amountspent on per student education to keep prisoners in jail.

Meanwhile, school administrators and teachers must find ways toeffectively continue to do their jobs in the wake of lessmoney.

That job is to educate students to become productive members ofsociety who contribute to – rather than detract from – society’swell being. That job is made more difficult when there is lessmoney to go around.

This is not a commentary on the virtues of building schoolsversus prisons. But it is a sad situation when efforts to improvethe former have to be sacrificed because of the latter.