Greed: How Failing Public Schools Are Stealing Your Tax Cut
Leave it to South Carolina's last-in-the-nation public school system.
Give them a needle-sized loophole enabling them to waste even more of your tax dollars on a failed, flawed, bloated and monopolistic system, and they'll drive a fleet of Mack Trucks through it.
After all, why bother to actually fix the problem when it's so easy to milk the system and brand anybody who gets in your way as "anti-public education?"
The education bureaucracy in South Carolina - and the 20 public school districts who followed its instruction by arbitrarily and outrageously jacking their 2006-07 budgets this year - are quite simply a cancer on our state.
That's right, a cancer, the medical term for a destructive organism that knows nothing but mindless growth.
Despite the best efforts of leaders like Mark Sanford to hold them truly accountable (at long last), our public schools have ignored the best interests of our state's children for years, putting them second to an ever-expanding bureaucracy, consistently providing them with an abysmal product, stonewalling real reforms like parental choice (which would raise per pupil spending, incidentally) touting bogus accountability half-measures and laughing all the way to the bank as fearful, incompetent and bought-and-paid-for legislators keep doubling their funding every 10 years.
And every year, when our SAT scores and graduation rates come in dead last in the entire country (again), when one out of four schools is rated as failing or below average (again) and when minority students in our state's poorest areas are left even further behind (again), there's always the predictible refrain: "Mo' Money, please."
And we give it to them. Or in the case of these 20 districts seeking an end-around your brand new property tax cut (roughly one-quarter of all districts in South Carolina), they just take it.
Fortunately, a few brave legislators have finally taken the blinders off and wised up to this organized scam.
Today, Sen. Larry Martin, Rep. Thad Viers, Rep. Kenny Bingham and others gathered to call out these 20 districts for a blatant tax grab which, in some cases, will completely negate the impact of the recently-passed Property Tax relief bill.
"What some of these districts have done is take advantage of our willingness to work in good faith by padding (2006-07 budget) increases," Sen. Martin said.
Putting it more succinctly, S.C. Taxpayer Association President Don Weaver said "How pompous can a school board be to cite no real reason to raise millage other than to simly build their base for the future. This isn't for the children; this is for the fat cat administrators to pad their coffers for the future at the expense of the taxpayers."
Predictably, the South Carolina School Boards Association, the driving force behind the massive cash grab, sees it differently.
"Any increases were made following substantial open dialogue," the Association's President Paul Krohne said in a statement.
As if the fact that they're stealing politely makes a difference.
People, it's time to finally call a spade a spade when it comes to these cash-sucking purveyors of perpetual ignorance.
It's also time to stand up and tell them that those of us who support school choice - and SMART funding, merit-based pay raises for teachers, money-saving PACT reform and dozens of other common sense education reforms - don't actually hate public schools, we just hate failure - oh, and the fact that every year, their failure costs us a couple hundred million dollars more to sustain.