LETTER: ‘Enough is never enough’

December 4, 2018

Older folks have the time and the need to examine closely where their money goes. Increasingly, one winds up looking at taxes and attempting to affect public policies which strive to increase them. The wonders of the internet now provide us with easy access to public information which allows one to really analyze where our tax dollars are spent.

A very large portion of local property taxes goes to one’s public school district. It’s interesting to take the tax revenue received by one’s district and divide it by the “students served” data from the state department of education. For my district that number amounts to more than $13,000 per student per year.

With curiosity piqued, I compared this number with the current college tuition rate at my alma mater, Wayne State College in Nebraska. It turns out I could attend WSC as an out-of-state student for about $8,500 per year (not including room and board - and neither does the public school cost alluded to above). There seems to be a constant hue and cry about the high cost of a college education — but nary a word about public schools except that more should be spent on them. So, one might spend $ 35,000 to $ 45,000 to get a B.A. at WSC, but a K-12 education in my district will be about $170,000 per student.

Oh, well, at least my grandchildren will probably drop me a nice, hand-written “thank you” note for helping to pay for their public school education. Oops, I forgot, they haven’t been taught to write in cursive, it’s no longer in the curriculum. Maybe I’ll get a text message. I know I’ll get a school tax increase because enough is never enough when it comes to the desire for more tax dollars, even though there’s never a promise of better student performance included with the tax bill. - Lon Zimmerman, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa

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