I’m writing as a childless homeowner in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district to explain why I have always voted against school budgets.
Currently, per-pupil spending in many local districts is around $20,000 per year — so a K-12 education would total $260,000, not including annual increases.
A hypothetical family with four kids lives in my district for 25 years, then moves out of state to greener pastures. They average a $10,000 per-year school tax burden (local property, state income and sales tax). The K-12 educational cost for the four kids would be $1 million, while the parents will have paid a school tax burden of just $250,000 — leaving them a $790,000 tax user benefit. Past million-dollar winners of the lottery only take home around $600,000.
I believe every state in the United States has a constitutional requirement to provide “basic education.”
But as I understand it, electives, after-school sports and grief counselors aren’t part of basic education.
Is it possible that such a huge financial windfall to many public school parents could encourage irresponsible family size amongst some members of our society?
Do we continue with this kind of spending because we have a shortage of humans? Is there not enough poverty? Are wages too high for the working class? Or is it because teachers’ unions are the nation’s most powerful lobbying organization and because this system saves a lot of public school parents a ton of money, so they vote accordingly?
This nation needs the best education system on the planet. But subsidizing irresponsible parenting isn’t serving us well.
My suggestion: a two-budget system — the primary budget placed on the collective to cover basic education and a secondary budget on top of that just for the public school parents to cover all the extras. Donations are always accepted.