Friday, June 10, 2011



  Wooly sheep penned outside a sheering house are unaware shortly of loosing their fleece as they enter the chute leading into the building. I suggest, there is an analogy between these sheep and the voting public, both are going to be fleeced : sheep lose theirs, the voters have it pulled over their eyes.
  This primary election cycle chose candidates to be on the ballot in November. Local school boards after that election will have to reorganize and, if the past is any indicator, new boards will undo many of the initiatives the old boards started.
  This happens often. Often, because if education was war, school boards would only be involved in local skirmishes when the need for victory rests with major battles. Major battles must be waged in Harrisburg. For years skirmishes have been won by affluent districts garnering favors from their state senators and representatives. Districts that are affluent are populated by richer constituents who make their desires known. Money is power in a state where "money talks and bull s--- walks".
  These elected state officials love an easily led herd moving along quietly, unconcerned. If you are uncomfortable about this, you may be a member of that herd. Or, if you're agitated, you may be just the right person to set up a battle plan that takes local school districts into war. A war that must be won. A war that must be waged in Harrisburg. 
  The spoils of this war is the guarantee of equity in paying for education. Once relatively equal, taxes on property provided an acceptable method to fund schools on a local basis. Over the last five decades the dynamics of property values has changed dramatically in Pennsylvania as the affluent moved from urban areas out into the suburbs. As with them heavy industry moved too, but they left the state for other states or left the country all together.
  State legislators, if not challenged, do not hear the individual school district's plight."Divide and concur" is their old trick which keeps local districts off balance. Each district figures and refigures the ever changing amounts of moneys coming from Harrisburg while they wait to the end to raise taxes. Just because it has always been done this way, doesn't mean, it has to continue to be done this way. 
  Your voice heard in Harrisburg is the best and only way to get state legislators acting on solutions to bringing equity into our education system's funding.

Ronald C. Downie

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