Monday, February 12, 2007

Unresolved Lakeview Issues Get in Your Pocket

An informative Doug Thompson article on the Lakeview ruling should not pass without comment.

There were eight "unresolved issues" that the courts want resolved before they quit violating the separation of powers and release the state legislature from their court-appointed "special masters". At least until the next time the courts want to get in the legislature's business.

The most costly of the eight issues could be facilities. Governor Mike Beebe's office is quoted as saying that much of the surplus (which otherwise could go back to the taxpayers who were overcharged) will go to facilities. The Governor seems to think that localities should share in the responsibility by raising millages, so stand by for a tax increase if the court has decided your local school is not good enough for them. Of course, the state bailing out those who refuse to help themselves is another problem. The AG's office seems to be at variance with the Governor on this. "The state will ultimately assume the responsibility (for facilities) if the local districts are unable or unwilling to fund their share of the construction project," the attorney general's office said in Friday's report.

That seems like it would reward taxpayers in school districts who refuse to fund their own schools to the level that the court desires by doing it for them anyway. Where is the justice in all this? You can't have any by forcing fancier school facilities on a community than they are willing to support.

(continued- click MONDAY and scroll down for rest of story)


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Here are the other seven issues, with comments on a couple:

- Future cost of living adjustments for schools and the requirement for school spending studies before each legislative session.

- Priority of education spending over all other state spending.

- Local district property tax collections. A collection rate of 98 percent is assumed, but might not be accurate, to the cost of schools, the attorneys agree.

- Whether more money is needed for English-language learners.

No comment needed. You know what I am thinking.

- Funding issues for districts that are either growing or losing students. Growth in funding doesn't keep pace in growing districts and causes serious problems in districts with declining enrollment.

- Gaps in teacher pay between districts.

This should be mostly a non-issue. WHy should pay be equal for all districts? If you teach in Springdale, you are going to have 29 students in each class. If you teach in a small rural school, you may have 20 per class. If you teach a third less students, why shouldn't you get a third less pay? Some people will be willing to take the cut for smaller class sizes and a less factory-like setting.

Some teachers may not be good enough at the start of their career to do a good job with huge classes, but would be fine with smaller classes.

- Unfunded mandates on schools.

Amen on that one.

6:20 AM, February 12, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't go yelling "Amen" just yet. When a liberal, and Bebee is a liberal, starts talking about unfunded mandates it ALWAYS means "funding the mandates" NOT "eliminating the mandates."

9:12 AM, February 12, 2007  
Anonymous GOPin08 said...

Everybody hold on to your wallets!

4:11 PM, February 12, 2007  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Good point anon 9:12.

7:51 PM, February 12, 2007  
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