Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stimulus-related job numbers don't add up

A couple of interesting tidbits from the Chicago Tribune:
More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers. Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers.

"That other number, I don't know where that came from," said Lauri Hakanen, superintendent of North Chicago Community Unit Schools District 187.

The Obama administration last week released the first round of data designed to underpin the worthiness of its economic stimulus plan, which so far has directed $1.25 billion to Illinois schools. That money has helped save or create 14,330 school jobs in the state, the administration claimed.

But those statistics, compiled initially by the Illinois State Board of Education, appear riddled with anomalies that raise questions about their validity, according to a Tribune analysis... Many local school officials were perplexed by the stimulus data attributed to their districts.

In the official report, Wilmette Public Schools District 39 was credited with 166 jobs saved by stimulus aid. Superintendent Raymond Lechner said the number should be zero.

At Dolton-Riverdale School District 148, stimulus funds were said to have saved the equivalent of 382 full-time teaching jobs -- 142 more than the district actually has.

A similar discrepancy was found in data for Kankakee School District 111, where the stimulus report logged the equivalent of 665 full-time jobs saved.

"That's impossible," a top Kankakee school official said, adding that the entire payroll -- full and part time -- is 600 workers...
[To be fair, the Tribune also says that, for various reasons, there appears to be an under-count in reporting the number of jobs created or saved in Chicago...]

If my memory serves me correctly, Illinois is not the only state to have reported inflated job numbers with regards to its school system - which kind of makes you wonder, 'who's tinkering with the numbers, and why'? Are state officials fixing the numbers in order to gain favor with the President, which would then enable them to ask him for additional funds? Does the administration share any blame for these erroneous reports? Or is the whole thing just an honest mistake?

One thing is for certain, despite all the blatant errors, the administration continues to promulgate these fallacious numbers.

But here's another interesting - and, undoubtedly more important - tidbit:
In Schaumburg-based School District 54, Superintendent Ed Rafferty... warned that "unless there's a guarantee of continuation of (federal or state) money, the vast majority of these" newly-created/saved jobs "will be eliminated because there won't be local resources to fund them."
In other words, as soon as the stimulus funds dry up, all those newly-created [or saved] jobs will fall by the wayside.

Change we can believe in? Me no think so....

P.S. I seem to be in good company. The American Thinker also cited the Tribune article earlier today and highlighted both of the aforementioned points.

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