Eddie Mattison: vote no on the penny

debtI ran this article a couple of weeks ago, and it has since disappeared. If you’ll indulge me, I want to run it again. Maybe it was persuasive. Maybe it wasn’t. But we all need to know what our leadership is doing.
This is about a tax that will stay with us for 15 years to pay off a bond (debt) for a building I’m just not sure we need. Do YOU think we need it? Do you want our taxes to be 7% vs. 6% for 15 years? This article will hopefully tell you some facts around the money that I think could be better spent on …say, moving our educational system out of the ‘50’s. Tell me if you think I’m wrong. That would actually be good news. Here’s the article:
In November when the weather starts getting cold and callus, you will be asked to vote.
There is a question our leaders are asking us to vote on. Maybe we can work together to understand it better.
Our school district leaders, in Anderson County, are putting a one-cent sales tax “referendum” – proposal-up-for-vote – on the ballot November 4th that will give you a choice as to whether you want the one cent sales tax increase or not. (It will be written in legalistic writing, so probably more difficult for me to understand.).
I’m wondering about this question our leaders are asking us to vote on. Maybe we can help each other understand it better.
I, personally, am against it. The reason I am against it is that these people are as human as you and me. They are capable of as noble and as ignorant, as well-meaning and as greedy, and as thought-out and as short-sided a thinking as you and I.
Yes, they have years of education and insight into this specific “need”, AND they are, like the person who makes bread everyday, knowledgeable about his or her product (in this case, our educational “system”) and how it should look and operate. But these are the same folks who are also wanting to spend more money within a structure that:
1) Is told that it has to spend ALL of the money it receives each year (wisely or not) so they can get more next year.
2) That voted to spend $5,200 a year to drug test our student athletes and band members when I don’t remember anyone bringing drug use problems from our high school athletes and band members to the public’s attention; this within a school system that is struggling financially. (Is there a drug problem with our athletes or band members? The schools say that these folks represent our schools and towns so we have to drug test them. Have they represented us for more than 50 years without drug testing? Has their behavior deteriorated or become a subject of concern? Are we drug-testing other students who do off-campus activities? Are we drug-testing the folks who chaperone the students, or any of our teachers or principles in the schools?
3) A system that gives our kids lists of items they have to get each year. The items on these lists are to be used by the entire classroom. Why is this? Don’t our taxes buy necessary supplies? I’ve been told that some teachers pull out their own money for school room supplies. And what happens to the supplies at the end of the year, that aren’t used up? My 6th grade nephew says the teachers re-use the unused items again. So, are they still given the same list as the year before?
An example of an item on the list and the process: graph paper is normally on the list. So, each Mom buys a pack of graph paper. Each child in class probably uses 5 sheets out of this pack. Since there were probably 30 packs of the paper bought, there are probably 25 packs floating out there somewhere not used.
I don’t get how that responsibility (of supplying these basic school items) was shifted to the parents (and teachers?). I do understand that some parents can’t afford as much as other parents, but to make a list of 25 things that every student must buy?…
4) The one-cent tax is slated to be used for a career center. What will be the difference between a new career center (that you pay for, for the next 15 years. That’s how long it will be a tax.) and the career center that we already have at Tri-County Technical College (TCTC)? Yes, I know TCTC is a distance away, but we have a bus system. Is that unsympathetic (of me), if one really wants to use it? Why couldn’t our educational leaders “partner” with TCTC for all area eligible students and persons needing career advice to use TCTC’s center, or at least research the idea?
5) Senator Kevin Bryant also opposes the referendum. Here are two links:
I asked him to spell it out a bit more why he is opposed to this. He said there are special interest groups that will profit/benefit from the construction, who will be lobbying to help design and build it.
He also said that we (individuals) should have the right to decide for ourselves how we want to spend our money. (This vote DOES give us a choice, but we must carefully consider both sides of this decision…)
Like gas prices after Katrina, do you believe that the tax will be here longer than needed?)
And lastly, he agreed with my reasonings, above, that the districts “have to spend what they are given each year to receive more”, why do parents have inherited mandatory lists of items to buy each year for kids in the classrooms, and why could there not be a partnership between local schools and TCTC.
When Sen. Bryant spoke, with our next state house member, Jonathon Hill, at the Rec Center downtown he said that 70% of our county’s property taxes goes to education.) I have to wonder what I am missing here. (Salaries, maintenance, office supplies, building fund, technology, expansion, infrastructure. But where is the thinking.)
Since Sen. Bryant is one of our state senators he also has talked to folks in-the-know (folks who “make the bread”), so he hopefully has some expertise in this area (or at least in the area of how much or little is reasonable to pay in taxes).
I’m asking you to please keep this in mind when you go to the polls. And if you educate your friends and relatives I believe we can begin to understand more and maybe partner with of our educational leadership to do a …better job. We are not sheep. ☺
Have a good one.