How Do You Lose/Find
a Half Million Dollars

We have all had a good laugh about the apparent good fortune of the Loudon County Board Of Education. In just a couple of weeks time they have managed to find more than a half million dollars that according to them they forgot about or just didn't realize they were going to get. What a break for the children. It would be a happy story if it wasn't such a scary thought that that kind of money can just appear and disappear. In reality, there was never any missing or found money. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book. Any man that's been married for more than six weeks knows how to perform this maneuver.

Let's say your walking through Home Depot. The wife sees a lovely, dainty little throw rug for $50 that would look great in the den. She asks, oh honey how much money do you have with you? You gladly pull out your billfold to reveal a lowly $20 dollar bill. You wish you could get the rug but alas just not enough money. Shortly there after you find yourself in the power tool section. There before you on the shelf, the new Ryobi  18 volt cordless drill with flashlight, extra battery and carrying case. Now what? You told her you only had a twenty dollar bill. So putting on the best surprise face you can muster up, you suddenly remember that hundred dollar bill tucked away in the side pocket of your billfold. You can adjust the gender roles to your taste.This is essentially what the board of education does.

It's just that easy with the BOE's budget and here's how it works. Each year as budget time rolls around, the BOE must submit their budget request to county commission for the next year. The budget is presented in two sections. Revenues and expenditures. As the budget is prepared the finance people must make their best projections on both the revenues and expenditures based on previous years numbers. When the budget is complete, they subtract the expenditures from the revenue to come up with the difference plus or minus.
Example the BOE estimates it will take in 35 million dollars this year and spend 39 million, this would mean they were 4 million short.

All they have to do is just underestimate the revenues and/or overestimate the expenditures. If you look at the 07-08 BOE budget you can see how it works. In the 07-08 BOE budget the BOE estimated they would receive $7,584,591.00. They actually received $7,949,027. Bam, just like that they made an extra $364,436.00. In another revenue line item, Education Charges, estimate $1,081,735.00. They actually received $1,202,774.00. Bam, another $121,000.00 out of thin air. And on and on. In all fairness, they did underestimate some revenues but over all total underestimates were $810,484.00. That's just how easy it is to jiggle the numbers to make the totals suit the argument.

No money was ever lost none was ever found. Just a stroke of the keyboard makes the diffrence. There's more than enough money going to the schools to meet the needs. The BOE just needs to learn how to spend responsibly.