Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 23, 2017

Education spending grows and grows

By Bob Palm | Jul 27, 2017

To the editor:

A special election is happening in District 82, which includes all of Jefferson County except an eastern portion, right out of the shute we have a candidate telling us we need more “education funding” so we don’t have to close schools.

I would ask all voters to consider this issue very closely, and I will endeavor to provide you information to assist in understanding how out of touch a candidate that expresses the notion that more education funding is needed really is.

Let’s start with the fact that in FY-2016, 55 percent of the State Budget went to education, simply put all other state entities operated on 45 percent of the state revenue, which includes Medicaid, Mental Health, Transportation, all state employee wages and benefits, Dept. of Natural Resources, DHS etc., just to name a few.

What does that translate to in terms of dollars? It translates to $3,786,071,216. Let’s put it into words; folks, that’s $4 billion of which 42 percent went to K-12 public school funding or nearly $3 billion dollars and with the FY-2017 increase in state education appropriations, public school K-12 funding will exceed 3 billion dollars in fiscal year 2017-18.

And it gets worse. Property taxes levied for FY-2016 for K-12 public school education is $1,380,306,343 or just under $1.4 billion. Add that to the state funding (if you dare) and you will see that total dollars appropriated for public school K-12 education in FY-2016 is $5,166,377,559. Again, to put it into words, over $5 billion in FY-2016 for public school K-12 education, and this by the way does *not* include school infrastructure, Local Option Sales Tax or the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy.

Now, I am going to add to your misery one more fact: In FY-2006, the total public school K-12 funding “including” both property taxes levied and state appropriations totaled $3 billion.

In 10 short years, public school K-12 funding has increased by $2 billion while public school K-12 enrollment has declined by nearly 3,000 students. We don’t need more money. What we need is better management of the money we have.

And while we are having this discussion, take a look at your property tax bill. On the bottom you will see that the largest portion of your local property tax you pay goes to Fairfield Community School District, so ask yourself this question: “When is enough, enough?”

Phil Miller says it’s not enough, and if Phil Miller is elected it will never be enough.

 

– Bob Palm, Fairfield

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