Commentary

Backwards budget cutting

The Boston Herald recently profiled a popular teacher who lost his job thanks to Boston’s backwards budget cutting . What the article doesn’t mention is that the city decided to close five schools, but turned down other ways of saving money — such as privatizing school cleaning services. Even a grassroots fundraiser to save the teacher will probably fail, because school officials aren’t sure if the money raised by parents and residents can be earmarked for such a specific cause. It’s more likely that the money would simply evaporate into the general fund. That school officials don’t know what happens to the money in the event of a donation is strong evidence that they aren’t receiving many donations. It’s quite a testament to the atrophying power government agencies have on private generosity. Of course, tackling how government erodes civil society will take some time, but what Boston can do right now is cut costs by privatizing, not by firing good teachers.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.