In Europe, “it is all austerity’s fault” or so the conventional, and very wrong, wisdom goes. Or rather, fauxterity, because as we showed months ago, with European debt and spending soaring, tax revenues plunging, and zero actual reforms since Draghi’s “whatever it takes” speech made any actual attempt to fix the economy through fiscal policy irrelevant (after all the Goldmanite at the head of the ECB will fix any runaway bond yields), the main thing that actually ails Europe is sheer political incompetence and unbridled corruption (and the hangover of record debt, but as every Keynesian knows, even more debt will easily fix that).
As it turns out, the same applies for the US: because in a country in which the lack of economic “growth” and prosperity are attributed to the occasional sequester, and a stingy congress that refuses to unleash the spending floodgates, the money is perfectly sufficient – the problem is that quite often it ends up in the hands of people who one may call criminals, if one were so inclined (although legally is prohibited at least until they end up convicted in a court of law).
Take the case of public school PS 106, located in Far Rockaway, Queens – the school is allocated $2.9 million to serve a low-income population with 98 percent of its students eligible for free lunches. As a Title 1 school, it gets extra federal funds. There is one problem: none of that state money actually makes its way to the students, and with no class, or books, and a rat infestation, PS 106 has officially earned the title of New York’s worst school.
The Post details the educational process at one of New York’s public schools:
Students at PS 106 in Far Rockaway, Queens, have gotten no math or reading and writing books for the rigorous Common Core curriculum, whistleblowers say. The 234 kids get no gym or art classes. Instead, they watch movies every day. “The kids have seen more movies than Siskel and Ebert,” a source said.
The school nurse has no office equipped with a sink, refrigerator or cot. The library is a mess: “Nothing’s in order,” said a source. “It’s a junk room.”
No substitutes are hired when a teacher is absent — students are divvied up among other classes. A classroom that includes learning-disabled kids doesn’t have the required special-ed co-teacher.
About 40 kindergartners have no room in the three-story brick building. They sit all day in dilapidated trailers that reek of “animal urine,” a parent said; rats and squirrels noisily scamper in the walls and ceiling.
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But five months into the school year, PS 106 classes still don’t have the books or teacher’s guides.
“They have no reading program, no math program,” a source said, adding Sills blames outside administrators for not sending materials. Teachers muddle through by printing out worksheets they find online, buying their own copy paper.
The DOE gave no explanation for the missing curricula but said it’s “working with the school to provide students with physical education.”
Surely, all of the above is the result of some evil legislator who refuses to release another million or two to satisfy the school’s pressing budgetary needs. Actually, no. It turns out it is all the principal’s fault:
The principal — Marcella Sills, who joined PS 106 nine years ago — is a frequent no-show, sources say.
Sills did not come to school last Monday. On Tuesday, she showed up at 3:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, The Post found her at home in Westbury, LI, all day before emerging at 2:50 p.m. — school dismissal time. Wearing a fur coat, she took her BMW for a spin. She showed up at school Thursday, but not Friday.
When Sills, 48, does go to work, it’s rarely before 11 a.m. — and often hours later, say sources familiar with her schedule. “She strolls in whenever she wants,” one said.
The school hasn’t had a payroll secretary in years.
Not only that, but the school’s community members also state that they have never seen a budget tracking the income and spending. Well, the income is clear: generous taxpayers. As for spending: it’s quite clear where the funds are being embezzled.
When [Marcella Sills] is out, an assistant principal is left in charge. Yet Sills, who gets a $128,207 salary, also pockets overtime pay — $2,900 for 83 hours in 2011, the latest available records show.
Unfortunately, it all goes downhill from there, because any attempts to rectify the situation are halted before they will even begin.
Staffers won’t speak up or even file a grievance with their union because Sills will retaliate, a source said. Parents wonder if higher-ups know what’s going on.
“Why don’t they get on them? I don’t understand that,” said Michael Moore, father of a second-grader.
Another father, Roland Legions, added. “They’re not doing right by the kids.”
One mom said she couldn’t get a meeting with Sills to discuss concerns. Another said Sills is “just not professional.” “She should be here,” the mom said. “How is she going to run the school if she’s not here?”
She won’t. But she will gladly collect her paycheck while the student spend time watching movies with the rats. Actually, scratch that: “A spokesman denied the trailers are rat-infested.”
“This school is a complete shithole, but nobody in a position of power comes to investigate. No one cares,” a community member said.
That’s ok – nobody cares, which means one can once more fall back to the traditional bullshit excuse and again blame those evil stingy legislators who refuse to give Ms. Sills a few more million to collect for doing… nothing.