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Blames state funding for shcool woes

September 13, 2019
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Letter to the Editor:

When Adam Todd complains about property taxes, he will find several sympathetic ears - including mine. I'm sure there are people who are delighted to pay them, but I just don't know any.

However, my concern is that I wish people - all of us who feel as he does would consider and act on what could alleviate at least part of the problem, but for some reason we never do. I don't know why. We need to become concerned enough that we work for change.

The particular part of the problem I am referring to is Iowa's state legislature's funding of local education. We pay the state our income taxes. And some of that~tax money comes back to us locally. But in the last 5 years, the state has skimped on money that should come back to our local schools. Four out of those five years, the state didn't return to local schools even enough money to keep up with inflation. This means that each year schools fall farther and farther behind in the money they need to even operate their day to day business. I hadn't noticed that textbooks, the Alliant bill, and the cost of a school bus have gone down in order to compensate for this lost funding. Schools' expenses continue to increase while their state funding decreases.

It is upsetting when we remember that the state recently paid Apple $200,000,000 to provide our state with 50 jobs. That would be 4,000,000 per job. That's a, lot of textbooks and school busses.

So what has happened is that since Alliant and textbook publishers and other providers have not agreed to charge less, the schools have had to find money elsewhere. A source of money to compensate for the state's shorting of funds is property taxes. If we would like to get some property tax relief, it could happen if the state would return more of our tax money to meet local needs. Rather than our having to increase taxes to compensate for shortages. the state needs to change its allocation of our money giving more to local schools and communities.

The good news is that things do not have to stay this way. Taxpayers can communicate with their respective legislators to demand that more of our tax money comes back to our communities. Then taxpayers can follow up to see if their legislators represent and act on their wishes. If taxpayers are not satisfied with the result, they have the ballot box.

Currently, underfunding schools has resulted in the creeping up of class size, and this is a death knell to quality education - another important reason to become involved. We certainly have the right to complain about property taxes, but we need to turn those complaints into action to effect change. This is one action that would not require our paying more in taxes but would result in giving schools the funds they need.

Anne Michael

Tama

 
 
 

 

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