We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us

by Curt Kovener

There is a front page story I want you to read. It is the one about Crothersville Community Schools seeking permission for an additional appropriation.
Another way of saying that is the school is asking the state’s blessing to spend some the school’s savings.
This is the first additional appropriation the school had needed in at least 10 years, and maybe even longer.
But the need for it came about because of the cuts Gov. Mitch Daniels ordered in public education funds. Brownstown closed a school to make up for its cuts, Seymour and Medora are facing other kinds of funding problems.
In case some of you were asleep in class, a history review is in order.
Some years back there were a bunch of folks hollering about how high their property taxes were. The administration lays the blame on county and township assessors and orders some new assessments and requirements for more classes for assessing officials. And then pushed to get rid of township assessors putting the workload all on the county assessor.
And after we all got more market based assessments, people still howled because their property taxes were still too high. So Gov. Daniels pushed for and succeeded in having schools general fund removed from property taxes and for the state to pay for general funds of all public schools.
Now since the state’s income is derived nearly entirely by income, sales and excise taxes (all of those taxes are derived directly or secondarily from jobs) as the economy struggles so does the state coffers and therefore so does school funding.
Crothersville schools is fortunate. The administration and school board was able to squirrel away some money for lean times. (That’s how many of us like to claim we were raised, isn’t it?) That is what they will be doing—spending some savings to pay the bills rather than lay off teachers or cut programs.
But just how long that can go on depends on how long the economy takes to recover.
If you were among those who complained about property taxes, if you cheered when school funding was taken off the local tax rolls, you must accept some of the funding shortfall blame schools are facing.
And if you really want to put the cherry on the local government funding shortage sundae, you will want to vote in favor of property tax caps being placed into the Indiana Constitution this coming November. It will be a way you can eventually strangle police, fire, ambulance and library service as well as education.