Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thoughts on school funding

A good letter in the Gazoo last Monday (june 13) concerning the strange way that Billings residents voted to pay to play but won't pay the bills for the public education that they continually bitch about. All kinds of specious arguments are used, including abusing the Montana Education Association, the administration and poor teachers. Killing the union won't do anything but lower the quality of teachers, since candidates will be able, even from Billings, to go to another state at a higher pay scale. We are below average pay in this state, down about 47th or lower in pay. At one time even Mississippi paid more than we did. People who complain about a bloated administration obviously have never run anything bigger than a mom and pop store in their lives. I remember when the state would decide the administrators needed to be trimmed at good ole Eastern Montana College. They'd trim the administrative staff and then several years later they'd have to rehire for the same positions because the auditors did not like the way the money was being counted. When the only thing keeping teachers in our state school systems is either the amenities Montana offers (fewer and fewer of them) or that a spouse has a better paying job we're lucky to have the quality education we have in this state.

I like Gov. Schweitzer, but I think he's wrong on the school suit issue. We haven't put enough money into the school systems. If the limits on raising taxes gets on the ballot and passes this fall, we'll be in even more trouble, as Colorado discovered. We need more money for schools at all levels or we're going to be living in a society of ignoramuses. (From some of the arguments I see to justify voting against the school levy by the anti-taxers who don't want to pay for the services they want, we may not have had the system we need for several decades unless, like Sen. Burns, they are all from Missouri.) And the Republicans are laughable. The great party spokesidiot from Billings, Roy Brown, stood on my front porch one afternoon back when he was running in my legislative district and swore until I threw him off my lot, that the Republican legislature had fully funded education. Now, he says they will fully fund it again. Wonder if the court will agree if they get another chance at their mismanagement of the state?


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