The Federal Government only funds about 7 percent of the cost of public schools. Most of this money is meant for school lunch programs and special education. The latter is a particular bugaboo for schools across the nation because originally the Congress had promised to fully funding it. But the full funding idea disappeared into a dark corner leaving a mostly unfunded mandate that is forced on local taxpayers to fund from property taxes.
I’ve written millions of words about education in the twelve years I’ve served on the Duluth School Board. In Duluth I’m best known for two things. Old time teachers have not forgotten that my school board invited a charter school into Duluth 20 years ago to bring in a school that might better address the needs of some of our lost kids. While some teachers have not forgiven me the community has generally been pleased with our Charters.
The other issue is the massive building plan authorized by the Board after my initial retirement from the Board in 2004. The So called Red Plan was put into place without a public vote and I raised hell about that. I saw “too-good-to-be-true” promises made in its behalf and scanty back up information supporting the promises. I took the School District to Court. There are two history books worth of day-by-day musing on that fight in this blog. I’ll just sum up by saying I was right and the School Board and the Unions and the Chamber of Commerce and the Duluth News Tribune have been proven wrong. The latter has never forgiven me for being proven right. Their editors love to call me a “perennial candidate” as a rebuke. No one likes an “I told you so.”
The buildings cost half a billion dollars. To pay for them the District laid off over a hundred teachers. Today almost all our local school taxes are going to pay off building bonds with very little left over for teachers. When I was on the Board we spent about 10 million more on teachers than we do today even though today’s school taxes are much higher. Now class sizes routinely hit 40 students per class.
Donald Trump has no monopoly on standing up for the voters. Sadly he is all hat and no cattle in the brain’s department.
Here’s one of several thousand posts on education. Its nothing special but it does express my deep reservations about Trump’s astoundingly rich Secretary of Education Betsy De Vos.