What does $240,000 buy these days?

When George Lane, former CBE trustee was quoted in Metro News about the Board of Education shelling out $240,000 to Navigator, his response was, “Well, is there something wrong with that?”

So I thought we should answer Mr. Lane’s question. We must first keep in mind that the Calgary Board already pays 23 communications staff when it entered into business with a self professed High Stakes Communications firm. Also of note, the board’s tag line “learning as unique as every student”, which should show an organizational priority to getting all available dollars to maximize student success, not managing its image.

So in answering Mr. Lane’s question, I thought we might explore what the board might have spent $240,000 on. As a trustee, George Lane could have visited Palm Springs 136 times. Focusing on students, Beth Pudding posted on a parent Facebook group “That would have covered lunchroom supervision for 857 elementary students.” It would also cover the fees for 727 children to ride the bus to school. Alternatively, it would have covered the total school fees for 16,000 Kindergarten students, or 8000 grade 1-6 students, or 1752 Junior high students, or 1579 High School students.

It’s also a symptom of a deeper issue, where the CBE shows itself indifferent to wasting money. The recent news on the cost of the new Education centre and where the money was to come from shows a total cost of $285 Million of educational dollars. Another example is the traffic impact study and the site survey that were complete in Varsity before the community was consulted about building a new school in a well-used park.  Or look at the former chief superintendent’s wasteful use of data roaming while at a conference (followed by personal travel) in New Zealand.

So is there something wrong with that? We think CBE Trustees should be more responsible when deciding how to spend our tax dollars.

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