Saturday, May 19, 2007

You Get What You Pay For

Not all, but many states, depend on property taxes to fund education. In this "anti-tax" climate, bringing up a referendum to raise property taxes to increase funding for education are fightin' words.

In an area of the country where new schools must be built in order to handle the constantly increasing student population, there is no where else to turn but property taxes. Using the tax for education is one obvious way to see how your money is spent. Everything costs more than it used to, and teacher salaries do not seem to keep up with the cost of living increases. We are always behind. But that's not the real reason we need an increase in education funding.

We just don't have the books and supplies we need to do the job right. So much of what we use is consumable, and even things like textbooks, have to be replaced due to wear and tear (and loss and theft). Teachers still spend an inordinate amount of their own money in their classrooms. Right or wrong, they will continue to fill in the gaps out of their own pockets (and these are not deep pockets!) rather than let students go without.

At the moment some states are thinking about going to the teachers first for this increase. In Florida, about $100 out of every paycheck is funding from property taxes, and the thinking is to ask the teachers to contribute that money back into the pot. The problem is that this "request comes as teachers head into the summer months, a time of second jobs and leaner household budgets." We don't get paid again until late August.

If you are a teacher who spends money on your own classroom, out of your own pocket, please take the poll on this blog and let us all know how much you spend. It's important for society at large to see the big picture, and teachers have to be the ones to paint it.

I would prefer that we all pay for this through property taxes since the education of these children affects ALL of us. Even if you're retired, these are the children who will grow up and take care of you someday. Let's all make sure they get what they need, so that we will get what we need later.

We either pay now or pay later. One way or the other, we will pay.