School Taxes I

$19 Million Way Too Much

by Mark A. Laughlin

Copyright © by Mark A. Laughlin

School administrators tell you that $17.2 million is not enough. They tell you that in order to giver your children a quality education they need 19 million dollars. It is time we stop letting the hold our children hostage and take a serious look at what can be and has been done on less...MUCH LESS.

One of the finest schools in the nation is Chesapeake Montessori School (CMS) in Annapolis, Maryland. CMS strives to "promote in each child the development of intellectual independence, a love of learning, a conceptual mental style, resourcefulness, self-discipline, and integrity." They achieve this in spades. Their fifth grade students achieve language and math skills at a 10th grade level and are at near 12th grade reading level.

This private school which operates in the very expensive Washington, D.C. area, charges $3,975 per student per year.

Another famous, quality school is the Marva Collins school in Cincinnati, Ohio. This school, working with "disadvantaged" youth, achieves spectacular results in intellectual development as reflected in nation leading SAT scores. This school charges only $2,000 per student per year.

Imagine sending all 3,733 of our students to each of these highly successful schools. All 3,733 could attend Chesapeake Montessori School for $14,838,675. Or if we need to save a few million dollars perhaps we could send them to Marva Collins' school for the meager tuition of $7,465,000.

Think about it, we could send every Evanston student and have enough money left over for them to live it up in some of the finest housing those cities have to offer.

Why can't Uinta County School administrators "make-do" with an operating budget twice that of the Marva Collins School? Why can't they open their libraries on an operating budget that outspends one of the leading schools in the nation. Why can't they keep pace with two schools that face high, big city overhead that far outstrips our low cost of living here?

The Lifelong Learning Center doesn't require a tax either. Why should those, who like myself, prefer to engage in self-study or those who are too busy being productive to attend "college-level" classes be forced to subsidize the intellectual pursuits of others? Those who want and use the Lifelong Learning Center can pay for their own needs. I cannot fathom myself seeking to tax others to help me pay for my books and lecture tapes, why do those students of the Lifelong Learning Center feel that they are justified in forcing others to subsidize their endeavors just because they are a large, visible group.

The problem is not a shortage of funds, but a shortage of management. It is high time the citizens of Uinta County said "enough." I am personally willing to contribute $50 to help send some school officials to visit the schools I mentioned to learn about budgets and priorities, and I encourage other citizens to make the same pledge, but I am not content to allow this brazen demand for more funds go unchallenged. Our message on October 8th must be clear on the proposed levies: Vote "NO".