Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You get the government you vote for

Meridian typically elects some pretty conservative Republican politicians, such as Russ Fulcher, Shirley McKague, and Marv Hagedorn.  Those folks, and others representing Meridian and the surrounding area, definitely agree with the no taxes/reduce the size of government line of thinking. They are supporting cuts to the state budget to bring spending in line with revenues. They also support Luna's plan to rejigger the state's educational system. Presumably, the majority of Meridian voters do as well.

I saw a story in the Statesman today about the Meridian School District seeking an $18 million a year, 2 year levy.
The Meridian School Board voted Tuesday to take its case to the voters, one day after district board Chairman Mike Vuittonett warned Idaho lawmakers considering an overhaul of state school finances that Meridian had stepped over a “funding cliff.”
The story gives more detail about how the district is growing while the budget is shrinking, and lists the many steps they've taken to absorb the changes, such as eliminating 1,400 bus stops.

So, parents in the Meridian School District are experiencing the consequences of having a legislature that refuses to look at both sides of the budget equation. By looking only at spending, and not at revenues, budgets get cut, and the effects ripple out into the community. But, Meridian elects folks that agree with the approach.

So, if Meridian voters choose to approve the levy, they've simply shouldered the burden of educating their students themselves, rather than spreading the burden out generally among Idaho sales tax payers. Elections do matter.

As this same circumstance plays out across the state, we might see wealthy communities, like here in the Treasure Valley, vote to send money to schools. More rural communities just don't have the money, so I would expect to see a growing disparity between urban and rural schools. Of course, rural districts are also mostly Republican. So again, elections matter.

Sure glad my kids are out of school. Guess I'll vote against Kuna's supplemental levy scheduled for a May vote. I don't need to help fund K-12; what will I get out of it? That's where we're going, right? A race to the bottom? I got mine, and I'm keeping it.

1 comment:

fortboise said...

One thing that jumped out at me in the story was that the Meridian School District's property tax levy amounted to $300-some/$100,000 valuation, and the vote was to increase it to $400-some. Whereas in the Boise School District, we pay $550.

And that it said 91% of school funding is "state assistance," as if we were an indigent sort begging for a handout.

Follow the money: the first step to deconstruction is defunding.