Sunday, December 17, 2006

Where Are Our Priorities?

From a recent issue of Gambit Weekly:

Extra Patrols: $88K a Day
Feeling Secure: Priceless

"National Guard troops and Louisiana State Police have been patrolling New Orleans for almost six months now...How much is the deployment costing the state? Answer: $88,000 per day. The 300 Guard troops costs $78,000 a day; the 60 State Police troopers, at least $9,294 a day, according to figures compiled by the governor's press office..."

"...The price tag for the 300 Guard troops through Dec. 31 will be $13.5 million. 'That includes hotels and per diems,' says Blanco press secretary Marie Centanni."

"For the 60 state troopers, the total cost will be $1.9 million, a figure that includes overtime, meals and mileage but not lodging."

At $204.95 each, the Recovery School District would spend $61,485 per day for 300 Masters Level teachers. Arguably, that doesn't include benefits, and there are countless ways to spin the numbers.

But then I consider a more objective comparison:
Compared to the $28,470,000 we are apparently prepared to spend over the course of a year to protect ourselves (300 Guard Troops at $78,000 X 365 days), we spend $2,188,800 each year to educate 300 Orleans Parish public school students ($7,296 annually X 300 students).

Do guns, uniforms, and safety just cost 10 times as much as teachers, books, and modern school buildings? Or do we just value the former over the latter?

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