Friday, October 26, 2007

Districts with excess funding

I would like to draw attention to a recent article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. This article discusses the surplus balance in Kirkwood school district. I read that article and was astounded! So many school districts are involved in a case suing the school for more money, and then there are districts, including many involved in the case, that have surpluses. There was another article recently about Columbia having excess money as well. How can districts use the taxpayers' money to sue the state for more money when they have money just floating around?

This should be a red flag to everyone living in a district that is still involved with the case. I don't really appreciate having higher property taxes, all so the money can be used to pay to sue our own state and I know I am not alone.

We need to urge our districts to pull out, and start using the money to educate our children!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Submitted by: matineeidol

Take a look at this video. This “You Paid for It” segment talks about the $229,000 taxpayers spent as of Jan ’07 on—wait for it—BlackBerries for 85 high-up school officials. I don’t have a BlackBerry. In fact, the only people I can think of who get a free PDA are ladies and gents from engorged, publicly-traded corporations like citiGroup.

That’s not all. KSDK shows school board members putting vacations on their expense accounts, not to mention countless instances of personal lawsuits.

As the saying goes, with friends like that…who needs a $4.6 million lawsuit against taxpayers? I may be cynical, but I usually believe that where corruption is visible, there is likely more below the surface. I wonder how much money would find its way to salaries for great teachers, the best textbooks and science class materials. I wonder how rich St. Louis Public School students’ experience would have been if board members had gotten the Samsung that comes free with your plan, and only used it for work.

For many kids, education is touch and go; one class or exercise or project can spark their interest. For my brother, it was a cooking class. I believe being able to find joy in a culinary arts program kept him in school and doing well. And that one class or teacher can be the difference between a drop-out and a college-bound graduate. So when I see waste from the school district, I also see waste of human potential.

That’s why this lawsuit against the state is so appalling. It asks Missourians to foot the bill for not only the legal fees (both sides), but also a huge expansion of the budget that has no accountability attached to it. Before this lawsuit even began, everyone should have been culling through their district budget and cutting out wasteful spending to see if the budget on hand (based on successful schools) is enough to adequately educate our kids.

And for all those reactionaries who say “but you can’t run our schools like a business,” newsflash: we already are.

PACs, Rex, and SMI

So, Rex Sinquefield started a few PACs…big deal. It’s not illegal and it is definitely not the first time this has happened either. PACs are started all the time to support issues and back certain politicians, what’s the difference?

His PACs are set up to increase information available, help people have an outlet to support a cause, donate to, and also a way to donate to causes he believes in, ones that others believe in as well. All of his PACs are geared towards specific issues, such as education and tax reforms.

The Show Me Institute does research on various issues, which back Sinquefield’s strong beliefs. While reading a few of these studies, it has become apparent to me that school choice really can make a difference in education and we need to give it a shot. It is obvious to me that Sinquefield does not want to “harm public schools”, as some people are putting it. Sinquefield really wants to help our schools and knows the only way to do that is through dramatic changes. We should all be jumping on the bandwagon and supporting such a worthy cause. The schools have not improved, so why do people think more money will help. I know that we need to do something radically different…Rex has got the right idea.

According to School Choice for Missouri, children who receive vouchers have statistically significant gains in test scores. Graduation rates increase, which leads to more successful and productive citizens, not to mention lower crime rates. Dropouts increase the unemployment rate, cost the state money for incarceration and Medicaid, and have other harmful effects on Missouri.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Education Alternatives

Submitted by: Diana

I think the public education system should be able to effectively educate all children in Missouri. Sometimes, there are cases in which the schools in a district may not be best suited for a child, such as the case with a special needs student. That student should still be able to get an education that will be catered to his or her needs. In some cases, there may be a school in a neighboring district that could do that, however, sometimes that is not the case. That child should be able to attend any school, even if it’s a private school. The state should allow credits for situations like this. Some may have a problem if the school is religious, but you know what, either the state spends some money to send a child to that school, or that child will not get a quality education.

It seems like a very easy problem to me…plain and simple…educate that child, whether it be by monks or nuns, every child deserves to learn.

Unaccredited School Parent

Submitted by Anonymous:

My child goes to a school inside the St. Louis Public School district. We have recently been unaccredited. I am at a loss for what to do now. The law says that my child can go to another school in a neighboring district, but there is no law that says any of those schools has to accept anyone new. The SLPS have told the other districts not to accept any of these students. What are we supposed to do now? And to make matters worse, I hear of a lawsuit going on around the state that is suing the State of Missouri for more money, and using taxpayers’ money to do so! Obviously, if we have schools that are being unaccredited, there is a much larger problem than money.

Call your superintendent, call your principals, call the State Board of Education and ask them to fix these problems without wasting any more of our money.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mayor Slay Tells It Like It is on Charter Schools

So many people in St. Louis are tired of hearing about excuses for failing school districts. That’s why it is refreshing to hear our officials like Mayor Francis Slay demanding better performance from all institutions, including charter schools. Bottom line: parents remain victims of the system until they have and can exercise good choices for their child’s education.

Rudy speaks out on School Choice…

"I would give parents control over their education…”