Monday, May 23, 2005

Opinion - On a related note: Education funding

Tomorrow, our local government is asking two questions by referendum: to raise the cap on spending for education AND to raise property taxes for the school budget.

From Friday WisOpinion:

Between 1999 and 2004, the statewide number of K-12 students in Wisconsin fell by over 1,200. That didn’t stop us from hiring more teachers: over the same period, the number of teachers in Wisconsin public schools grew by 2,300. We hired nearly two new teachers for every student we lost. The Madison Metropolitan School District (where officials say they desperately need more money) added 46 teachers while losing 48 students. Their spending per student is over $12,500, yet they say they don’t have enough money.
I had a conversation with a father at our kids "Spring Strings Concert" last week. A program for 4th and 5th graders to get music teaching that is "threatened with cancellation" if the referendum does not pass. I was undecided until speaking with him, now I am firmly opposed. The School Board often uses popular programs as "examples" of programs that will have to be cut to push financing increases. Frankly, I am willing to call the bluff.

One more quote from WisOpinion:

We’ve had TABOR-like limits on schools for 12 years, and we are spending nearly $11,000 per child. I wonder how much we would be spending without revenue controls. K-12 taxes make up roughly half your property tax bill, and nearly all of your income taxes. Without controls, do you think we would be spending more?

Time to stop the "it's for the children" blackmail....

1 comment:

Random10 said...

Good Thinking. It is time that adults step up and point out that emotional hyperbole is the wrong approach in school financing discussions. The adults employed by the school system benefit from about 87% of Madison School Board spending, therefore, decisions about financial discipline are only marginally about “the children”. For two generations, having children is a conscious decision and the cost of educating those children needs to shift, in part, back towards the parents. Calling the bluff of the property tax addicts is a necessary first step. Vote NO on Tuesday, May 24 2005.