Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Campbell: I'm pleased with the audit and I like Common Core
Left unmentioned in this rosy assessment of the audit is the fact that the state auditor does not audit all Missouri school districts- only troubled school districts, districts that petitioned for the audit or districts in which the auditor felt the need to step in.
The petition was well underway in Joplin when Superintendent C. J. Huff called Tom Schweich's office and asked for the audit.
A "fair" rating is the next to lowest rating a school district can receive. Only C. J. Huff has pushed the idea that the rating is all right because that's what all of the schools receive. Only Huff had the nerve to try to make a damaging audit sound like a badge of honor.
Those who listened to the interview with R-8 Board candidate Melinda Campbell this morning on KZRG heard Huff's words parroted.
The audit wasn't that bad, after all.
"I was pleased with the audit rating we got," Campbell said. "If you look at, statistically, through the state of Missouri, we did not receive any better rating or any worse rating than the average."
Campbell said she was concerned with the school district's debt and mentioned the loan the district took out last week.
"Twenty nine million dollars," KZRG's Darrin Wright said.
Campbell quickly corrected him. "Up to $29 million," which she said would cover current expenses and building expenses until FEMA and other government agencies reimburse the district.
Asked what needed to be done to get district spending under control, Campbell repeated the Huff Administration mantra that everything will get better now that the district is nearly finished with the building projects.
"I would hope now that the schools are built and we are moving out of recovery mode back to a more normal spending..." She left that thought hanging and added that she wanted to see the fund balance improve.
Campbell said she wouldn't change anything about the way district spends money only make sure it was done with "transparency," a word she used multiple times during the interview.
"We need to be responsible for the money we spend," she said.
Campbell said she had done considerable research on Common Core and she liked it.
"Common Core is also known as the Missouri Learning Standards," she said, beginning to unveil her extensive investigation of the topic. "I see Common Core as guiding the students to be more college and career ready, moving them toward a pattern of more critical thinking.
"I do like the concept of a common curriculum for grades K-12, not dependent on socioeconomics and demographics."
After the pro-Common Core statement, Campbell made her bid for the anti-Common Core vote. "But I feel that we should not let the federal government dictate our standards."
But maybe they have to do it because Joplin doesn't have enough curriculum writers, she said.
Though she did not indicate she was having sleepless nights because of it, Campbell said, "That leads me to just a thought- that I ponder often- if Common Core is not for us, then what is?"
Deep thoughts, indeed.