I get their drift and even go along with some elements of it. And that's why I wonder why they're beefing so loudly about the Rapid City school district's proposed opt-out that comes to a vote on June 2. What the schools are trying to do is rid themselves of the property tax limit that forces them to rely on state funds that just don't support the system they way they have in years past. "Opting out" of the tax limitation will let the district raise more money from local property taxes, in this case about $72 per $100,000 of valuation. That will raise the $6 million a year that Rapid City schools say they need to maintain their services to our kids at something close to present levels.
Opponents don't see it that way. Their organizers, with ties to the Tea Party-esque group Citizens For Liberty, gathered enough signatures to put the idea to a vote, which will take place
|Some Say Yes|
Count Me In
(photo from revivingrapidcityschools.weebly.com)
That notwithstanding, opponents of this opt-out are missing the opportunity presented by it. That's the part that goes along with the general conservative ideal of greater local control of education. My view is that the more local money spent on education, the more local awareness is likely to surface. Only about 40% of the school district's funding comes from local property taxes, so it's easy for taxpayers to be indifferent about the situation. By increasing the local taxpayers' share of school funding, there's a great deal more incentive for locals to pay attention to what's going on in our schools. I think that's likely to happen and I think conservatives should be happy about it. With a bigger chunk of their money on the line, those who dismiss the school district's plea for more money as a cover for bad management might actually have the incentive to look into school budgeting and come up with some specific changes and reductions that will comply with their insistence on "smarter
|Some Say No|
Include Me Out
(photo from www.blackhillsfox.com)
As those "solutions" haven't been forthcoming up to now, a successful "yes" vote might just be the catalyst needed for them to materialize down the road. Actually, now that I think about it, I look forward to some intense budgetary analysis by the Citizens For Liberty in coming months, opt-out or no opt-out.