After a while I started to think about the big picture. The reckless Republicans would like to convince us that nothing is worse than having to pay taxes. We are engaged in a game of Chicken. First they cut taxes, citing "waste in government" then when the coffers run dry they start to cut funding for services that we love and depend on, trying to see how much they can get away with.
Schools have to be funded somehow. Which is worse, paying taxes or seeing your friends and neighbors posing nude in a calendar?
Anyway, here is my letter to the Leelanau Enterprise, which ran this week:
Michigan’s current school funding crisis mystifies me. After all, didn’t the voters approve Proposal A, agreeing to an increased sales tax and the non-homestead property tax so that Michigan’s public schools would have a secure funding base?
My search for the reasons for this crisis found two opposing theories. One, put forth by the people at http://www.restoreproposala.com/, outlines over 70 changes to the tax codes that underlie Proposal A. This puts the responsibility for restoring the School Aid Fund directly on the state legislature, whose actions precipitated the crisis.
The other camp, exemplified by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy president Lawrence W. Reed, claims the problem is school boards and school administrators and their “tired, old ways of business-as-usual.”
Last week’s Enterprise put the second theory to rest. First we have Glen Lake and Suttons Bay exploring the possibility of sharing a superintendent. This is not “business as usual”. Then we have Mike Hartigan willing to give the shirt off his back –heck, the trousers off his legs! —to make sure that his school is able to fund the extra things that make our school outstanding. This is not “business as usual” and Mike does not look “tired”.
Aren’t we “out of the box” yet? It is time for each of us to write our state legislators and tell them to stop making excuses and start working on a plan. Make Proposal A work the way it was envisioned, to adequately fund all of Michigan’s public schools.
(Lawrence W Reed’s quote can be verified at http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=7141. Thank you for considering my letter for publication.)
51 S French Road
Lake Leelanau, MI 49653