Last week the Wreckord’s Editorial Board out did themselves by printing this doosie:

Time has come to allow school boards to levy tax for operating funds for districts.   

Now there’s a proposal for a blunder of astronomical proportion.

Excellent recommendation, I’ll just open my purse and live with the local school boards hand in my wallet, allowing them to siphon whatever they feel the need. 

Ask yourself this, how many local districts have found themselves in statutory operating debt (SOD)? And the ECM Editorial Board is suggesting that we allow school boards, some of which have failed in their most fundamental fiduciary responsibility,  to just take what they need?  Surely, you jest. 

Of course, if this proposal were to be enacted, school boards may never again suffer the humiliation of being found in SOD because financial mismanagement would never see the light of day. Districts would never receive instruction from the DOE on how to operate more efficiently and effectively, their budgets never again under the critical watch of the DOE for resolving the excessive expenditures. All fiscal mismanagement could be quietly covered…by pilfering the money from our Dolce Gabbana handbags.  

Has all of America forgotten how to adhere to a budget? It’s like President Bush deciding to print more money whenever he runs out…okay, so maybe that’s a bad example.

A critical component of the levy system is the responsibility it places on local school districts and school boards to effectively communicate and garner the support of the communities they serve. Parents decide, the community decides. Am I surprised local schools want to revoke the decision making of communities they serve …not at all. 

It seems that about the time our public schools adopted the responsibility of teaching our children about sex the tides turned against parents. Many schools started sending homework that included moms and dads just to micro manage parent involvement and dictate participation in their education. Hence, the propensity is born for local school districts to adopt a posture of condescension; treating parents as if they are ignorant, irresponsible children. The editorial boards proposal is yet another example of how imperialistic our local schools have grown, adopting the right to dictate to parents and the community as if we the people lack the savvy to understand that which is in our own best interest.

It has to be said that in the the case of Little Falls school district where 7% of the student population attends school outside of their home district, a critical review of their modus operandi would be in order. I can only assume that if 7% are migrating out, there’s a petty good chance that there is another subpopulation that would like to bail out but can’t. Those taxpayers are probably not interested in shelling out more dough to the local school district and I happen to be among them. If it were up to me, I’d save money by cutting the salaries of the school’s top administration…by half.

When my daughter first began high school in Little Falls…the school didn’t even have a valid system with which to handle complaints. For the $95,000.00 in tax dollars paid every year to the schools principal, there damn well better be an effective, functioning administrative structure. A complaint process that functions like a trap door beneath feet of parents means that issues are not being properly addressed or investigated.

In our previous school district I was witness to a similar incident. It involved the sexual harassment of my daughter’s friend. Since the guidance counselor taking the report was friends with the teacher involved in the complaint, his kneejerk reaction was to discipline the student who advanced the allegation. The wise principal first insisted that the counselor investigate the complaint and to everyone’s utter shock the teacher admitted to the inappropriate act. Had the counselor not followed proper administrative procedure a smoldering issue and critical shard of information could have been overlooked. Assembling an effective administrative structure is not only relative to students and their parents but it is paramount in the healthy functioning of any institution…unless you want to find your self on the loosing end of court litigation.

In some cases it seems the longer an individual works for a district the more arrogant and complacent they become. I think this is especially true in administration. They’re tired of complaining parents, they’re at no risk of getting fired and they’re no longer showing up for work because they have a passion of education… they’re just waiting to retire, waiting to collect their big fat pension. Our education system is the only place I can think of where your contributions can suck wind but your pay bump will be granted regardless.

While there is no denying that our system of funding public education is a ridiculous mess, the tax levy system is the public’s only means of reminding school districts that they are not islands unto themselves.  If you want more money than provide all of our children with an equal and appropriate education. Talk to the parents of those who moved their kids to Pierz school district or to those of us who have found online charter schools with winning results.

Parents are not ignorant children who need to be told, we are the hardworking taxpayers who contribute the funds that pay for the salaries and benefit packages of district employees.

Within the the tax levy system, we stand to be counted.

Olive Rockfish

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