Monday, April 25, 2011

Vouchers aren’t Free.

For those of you in Pennsylvania that support Senate Bill 1, I hope you clearly understand that if you do not have children or your children are out of school you will still be paying taxes. In fact, your tax bill may increase with the passage of Senate Bill 1. Senate Bill 1 is a voucher bill. Easily explained, this bill would allow school children in any local public school system to take “their” state and local allotment of tax dollars and use it to pay for a private education. That’s it. No reduction in taxes is part of Senate Bill 1.

The reality of this legislation is that if you live in Williamsburg and pay taxes, you will continue to pay taxes. However, if a child in Williamsburg decides to leave the public school system and take “their” allotment of tax dollars to a private school, you (a taxpayer of Williamsburg) continue to pay taxes. Voucher programs are not funded by some magical pot of money. Taxpayers pay for them! Now though, you will be paying taxes for other people’s children to go to private schools. Your tax dollars will leave your community school system and be used to finance private schools. Your community school loses money that would be used to support educational and extra-curricular activities (field-trips, books, technology, athletics, etc.).

On top of the fact that community public schools will lose per-pupil funding is the fact that voucher programs have been researched extensively. Do voucher programs increase student achievement? No. Do voucher programs inspire healthy competition? No. Do voucher programs help alleviate the tax burden on property owners? No. Do voucher programs damage community public schools? Yes!

This is why we all need to stop playing for our political team (Democrat or Republican). Both parties are supportive of destructive policies aimed at gutting public education. It is now time to be a citizen of your community first. And as citizens of local communities we need to stop the dismantling of our community based public schools.

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