October 02, 2012
Item: State aid to public education has been frozen for four years. Many teachers have been laid off in public schools.
Item: New voucher “scholarships” are being paid for at private schools with funds constitutionally dedicated to public schools.
Item: Top state education leaders are hiring two new communication directors at six-figure salaries.
What’s wrong with this picture?
The often-controversial agenda of state education Superintendent John White will be burnished by a new $12,000-per-month aide. She is Deidre Finn, a Floridian who formerly worked for then-Gov. Jeb Bush.
On a contract, that may be extended, she replaces another communications director who left. But at the same time, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is advertising for a communications director of its own.
The proliferation of spokesmen is a well-known fact of life in government, but there seem ever more of them in the administration of Gov. Bobby Jindal, who rules BESE and is de facto boss for White, and who has press relations that the word “rocky” does not begin to describe.
Further, why does the part-time BESE have a staff at all? If the Jindal administration is so dedicated to efficiency, why cannot the Department of Education provide staff services and thus save some money?
Item: White already has a press secretary. Finn is an addition to that official.
Question: Does an honest and forthright public official need a six-figure communications director as well as a press secretary?