From the beginning of my public life I recognized that the future of a community is driven by its public schools.
Our schools are good, but we can do much better.
The success of a school system depends upon the quality of the teaching staff, parents’ involvement in their children’s education, and funding of the system. Within our communities we can control the first two. Our local board of education hires the superintendent who in turn hires the teachers. We need to continue to encourage and empower parents to be engaged.
Funding is another matter. The state has not kept up with shared revenues for our schools and our local property tax base can take only so much. We need to spread the cost of public education over a greater tax base – one that can afford to pay.
I will support an increase in the income tax at the highest brackets – that is what a progressive tax is about – or if necessary, an increase in the sales tax which will generate part of the revenues from all the visitors to our state.
These revenues should be distributed to our school districts based on enrollment and need – the poorest communities will get more than the wealthiest communities. There will be no strings attached. Local school districts will decide whether to spend the money on school safety, lower class sizes, athletics or cultural programs.
Grandparents hope their children will remain in the community and raise their family there. When schools are underfunded that will not happen. Better schools make children better prepared for whatever path they choose, for and that makes the community more attractive for families and the businesses that employ them.