EDITORIAL: Public schools, public money

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This country was founded by people in tax revolt.

Our forefathers threw off the reigns of Mother England not because of human rights abuses, boundary disputes, political differences or religious views, but because they felt they were being unfairly taxed by a king thousands of miles away.

That righteous and rebellious mindset still runs in our democratic veins.

Let’s face it, no one wants to pay more taxes. But living in the greatest country on earth comes at a price – and part of that price is paying taxes. You don’t have to like paying taxes, but it is your legal obligation to pay them.

Now let’s apply this to the local situation.

All three school districts in Chickasaw County – Houston School District, Chickasaw County School District and Okolona School District – may raise taxes this summer.

After years of holding the line, public officers from each of these districts looked at the balance sheet and are now looking to you.

This newspaper also looked at the revenues and expenditures of each district and after watching trustees anguish over whose job to cut, what programs were to be deleted and how children would suffer, we have to agree this may be the year to raise school taxes.

Please don’t read us wrong. More taxes dollars don’t necessarily mean better schools. A tax-and-spend philosophy is poor business and poor stewardship of public trust.

School board trustees would be wise to remember that.

And to the taxpayer we say this:

Property values are down because the economy is down, so ad valorem revenues are down. The state cut funding drastically this year for public education. School trustees who are already pushed to the budgetary edge are being required to make very hard decisions.

Let us point out that schools are the identifying institution of any community. Good communities have good schools. And good school don’t come cheap.

Yes, this country was founded in tax revolt. But it was also founded by people who want a voice in taxation. Every school district in Chickasaw County will finalize their budget in an open meeting before this month is through.

Let’s take a hard look at the facts, the figures and then tell our school leaders what we want them to do.

 

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