Sometimes, a word makes all the difference.
The money schools use to pay the bills, cover health insurance premiums, buy fuel and keep the lights on is labeled “discretionary” in state parlance.
But that sounds like play money, not money vital to school district operations.
The difference became apparent as discreationay funding was cut by $82.5 million over the past five years and many district were forced to ask taxpayers to pass supplemental levies to keep the doors open.
Educators speaking to the interim education committee say “discretionary” sends the wrong message. They are using the term “operational.”
They got at least one supporter in Sen. John Goedde, Senate Education Committee chairman, who said its time to change the language to more accurately reflect what those fund are for. “It seems like the first thing we need to do,” he said.