Letter to the Editor

Maximize education, minimize cost

Sunday, May 31, 2009

To the Editor:

In two recent articles in The Brazil Times, school funding was brought into public focus.

One school board member researched the subject and proved that the southern end of the county pays more property tax for its portion of the student population but receives less funding from property tax. However, the corporation's business manager proved that property taxes are only a fraction of the tax dollars that support education and that the total is almost balanced.

The variance in the balance is due to policies mandated above the corporate level, law and equations that consider demographic data or sheer numbers of students.

Three points that impact our schools greatly came out of those articles and the ensuing online discussion of them.

First, our school board and corporation need a public forum in which to hear and discuss education matters with the public other than school board meetings operated to conduct business in the shortest amount of time. During a school board meeting, the public has an opportunity to make comments but has no opportunity to ask questions and receive a timely answer. Private communication with school board members or school corporation employees, if answered at all, may inform one person but does not inform the public.

Second, information must be made available to everyone in a clear and concise manner before decisions are made. Uninformed decisions are not good decisions. When you are spending money that is not yours, such as the taxpayers, my thought is that you should receive as much value for the taxpayer that contributes to goal instead of spending money that does not move you to the goal. To move toward a goal, everyone must be aware of the goal, the obstacles between where we are now and the goal and all of the different methods by which the goal can be reached. That is not the current situation within the CCSC. The administration brings forward one proposal for consideration of the board with little discussion of other options. This is caused by the lack of a forum for public discussion and the fact that there is no full flow of information.

Third, many of our school corporation employees, many of the members of the school board and much of the public have lost sight of the sole purpose of the existence of the school corporation. That purpose is to educate future citizens of this nation to the extent that they can compete for the necessities of life successfully. We, as a nation, as a state, and as a school corporation, are holding an average rating in doing this task. On the global perspective, that gives our graduates less qualifications to compete successfully for jobs and our citizens less opportunity to bring high paying jobs to this area. We need to turn our attention to academics above all else.

We need to maximize education while minimizing costs!

Leo L. Southworth,