Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Indiana announces new initiative " Driving Money out of the Classroom."


Indiana has announced a new initiative titled, "Driving Money Out of the Classroom." A spokesperson for Governor Daniels announced, "We are very proud of this subterfuge. While we announced publicly that our goal was to drive money to the classroom, our true efforts are to drive money out of education all together."

She explained, "The new property tax caps in the new law we just passed that we refer to as the '2% circuit breaker' is designed to cap every patron's property tax at 2%. The cool part of this is that areas that have total property taxes over 2% will have to lose funding. The schools in those areas that have debt payments for building projects will still have to make their payments to avoid defaulting on their loans. So all over there will be schools having to use general fund money to make their debt payments. Neat huh!"

She added, "The net effect will be to drive money out of education altogether. That's even BETTER than driving money into the classroom."


At Wednesday, April 26, 2006, Anonymous historian said...

I just had a brainstorm. Maybe it would be useful to someone who doesn't have an outside perspective on the issue of new buildings.

My thoughts are: There was an overt and reasonable drive for school consolidation before I was born, I think around the 60s and 70s. That means that there was a large need for new or enlarged physical facilities. That also means that most schools were either added on to/remodeled possibly 50 or more years. Otherwise, a new school was built(thinking mainly of high schools, but also some elementaries, etc.). Either way, these schools are now 30-50+ years old.

Given the aging physical facilities, there is now the possibility for a large "unconscious" need for new school buildings. The result of this is increased property taxes as school systems pay for the new schools. The crux of the issue is that school facilities are influenced not only by age as are other government facilities, but they are also influenced by the changing demographic in a school district. Over the course of 30-50 years, I wouldn't expect at all that a single city hall or courthouse would not need to be remodeled or entirely rebuilt based on the changing needs of its constituency. The difference with schools is that because of the large movement toward consolidated districts within a compressed amount of time, there is a significant number of physical facilities that are now reaching the end of their useful lifespan.

I understand that property taxes are a concern now, but really I see, too, that this trend toward new/remodeled facilities will pass, just as the need for new facilities that were necessary during consolidation changed.

I haven't been around long enough to be able to discern the validity of this correlation, but I think that there are some strong connections. If I am right, then if we're limiting the amount that districts are able to spend on new facilities beyond reason, we are simply putting off the inevitable and increasing what it will cost for us to improve our educational facilities when we can no longer wait to repair or replace a crumbling school.


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