At What Price Do We Save Our Schools

There is showdown fast approaching that will affect the future of our public schools for many years to come. Most school districts in San Diego County are operating at a deficit with major cuts that are needed immediately and even more cuts if Governor Brown’s tax measure fails. Brown’s measure includes a half-percent sales tax that would go into effect Jan. 1 and expire at the end of 2016. It also would impose a varying tax increase for high earners who make $250,000 or more in annual income. But not all of the taxes raised would go to the schools. Brown estimates his measure would generate about $7 billion in 2012-13.

Another initiative, the “millionaire’s tax” that has a group of supporters including the California Federation of Teachers (mostly community college teachers), is a measure that would increase those earning $1 million in annual income to pay a tax increase of 3% and those making $2 million or more an additional 5%. This initiative would bring in $6 billion to $9 billion.

Yet another measure has tax increases that start at those earning $17,500 ($11 annual increase) and continues to escalate as the income rises. Someone who makes $750,000 annually would pay $12,516 more. This initiative would raise about $10 billion.

So at what price do we save our schools? Here’s a thought: Let’s take a hard look at the school system itself to see what changes need to be made to increase student and teacher performance and what that will cost. Next, put funds where they are needed most to accomplish this and hold school boards accountable to manage the budgets. Once a sustainable plan is created, then let’s look at where the money comes from. Any tax increase should have a cap (ie: sales tax increase for so many years). Raising taxes to bail out a broken system makes no sense. We need to have a plan that makes sense, and so far I haven’t seen one.

Jeff Mitchell

Publisher

   
-

Comments

Be relevant, respectful, honest, discreet and responsible. Commenting Rules