Letter to the Editor by Ann L. Hart

To the Editor:

School finance is confusing. As a teacher and school administrator for 36 years, I didn’t fully understand the process until I took classes for my superintendent’s endorsement.

I understand why ordinary tax payers have bought into Governor Reynolds’ argument that parents get to direct their roughly $7500 per student to whichever school they choose, including private schools.

However, the Governor is misleading by attaching that $7500 to the idea of a single child or taxpayer because their tax contribution is not based on the number of children that tax payer has. I have no children, so can I opt out of that portion of my property taxes? If someone has four children do they pay $7500 x 4? No, that is not how taxes work.

We all contribute an amount with the cost for a service shared across multiple revenue streams. We can’t “opt out” of maintaining roads and bridges. We can’t “opt out” of funding law enforcement, fire and ambulance services.

As we continue to ask our schools to do more with less, rural schools and communities will suffer the most. Arts programs will be cut. Then athletics. Then librarians, school nurses and counselors. Class size will increase. Without strong public schools, families will move to larger communities that offer more. Property values will fall. Unable to retain a quality labor force, employers will relocate.

Strong public schools are the bedrock of strong communities. We have that in our Allamakee County schools. Let’s keep them.


Ann L. Hart