Special Ed Expenses in DC, Russsian Population Trends, Government Contracting

Special Ed Expenses in DC

Records show that D.C. school officials have regularly approved budgets that drastically understate [private school special education] tuition payments, a pattern that has obscured the program’s true cost. In the past five fiscal years, the tuition program has overspent its budget by a total of $173 million. To make up the shortfall, school officials have routinely frozen other spending in the middle of the year and taken money that was supposed to go to public schools for textbooks, teacher hiring, technology upgrades, building maintenance and other basic needs.

City and school officials said they could not fully account for the growth in the tuition spending, in part because their record-keeping is deficient.

“That’s the thing that’s so frustrating with special education: We’ve accepted dysfunctionality as a way of being,” said school board Vice President Carolyn N. Graham, who recently chaired a board committee that studied special education. “We don’t know how much we’ve paid. We don’t know what we paid for.”

Special-Ed Tuition a Growing Drain on D.C.: Basic Needs Take a Hit to Cover Costs of Sending Kids to Private Schools,” by Dan Keating and V. Dion Haynes, The Washington Post, June 5, 2006

Russsian Demographics

A World Bank report projects that with unchanged birth and death rates, Russia’s population would fall from its present level of about 140 million persons to under 100 million by the year 2050. If this happens, such a huge nation would then be largely empty of people.

Grappling with Russia’s Demographic Time Bomb,” by Gary Becker, The Beckner-Posner Blog, June 5, 2006

Government Contracting

The contracting careerists who entered government in the late 1970s have seen the field go from large to small and requirements go from simple to complex.

Demands have increased exponentially. At the same time, congressional involvement has gone from occasional to constant, and laws affecting federal employees and ethics have gone from few to many. All this while the average age of the workforce continues to rise, bringing the added challenge of planning for impending retirements.

A Lot to Learn,” by Sandra O. Sieber and Ronald L. Smith, GovExec.com, June 5, 2006

They are a vital but underappreciated cadre in the government — contracting officer representatives.

They are federal employees who perform contracting duties as an additional, often ad hoc, part of their jobs. There’s no good tally of how many CORs, as they are known, work in government, and little data on the training they receive, even though the government spends $350 billion annually on increasingly complex products and services.

Contracting Supervisors Receive a Closer Look,” by Stephen Barr, The Washington Post, June 5, 2006

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