As a follow on to the earlier APS post, the following chart, drawn from the Akron Public School's budget (pdf), should be fairly alarming. Discarding the downward blip in 2007, there's a straight line expense trend that shows that expenses are out of control. Keep in mind that the actuals are up thought 2007, so the economy's recent performance is going to have what the boys in Finance call “negative revenue variances”, which is a whole 'nuther kettle of fish.
So, what's driving the increase?
Discarding the downward expense blip in 2007, and using the projected 2008 as a base, “Employee Retirement and Insurance Benefits” are projected to increase by $19 million to $84 million between 2008 and 2012. That's 33% over 5 years. Well, technically, it's over 4 years, but you get the picture. Likewise, “Purchased Services” is expected to increase by 25.5%, or $15 million, to $70 million.
“ Purchased Services” certainly sounds like a controllable cost. “Employee Retirement and Insurance Benefits” can only be controlled if the unions go along. Public employee unions being what they are, and the fact that the school board is spending our money, not theirs, suggests that getting these costs under control is unlikely to happen.
Forecast: Tax increases.