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What price are we really paying?

Posted: Friday, May 07, 2010

To fund or not to fully fund education to the cap seems to be a complicated issue.

Our Borough Assembly has rightly asked our school board to "show us the money."

Answered accurately, with complete line-item transparency would provide a most revealing and shocking glimpse into the unnecessarily complex array of choices presently being paid for.

It is incumbent upon our School Board to explain how these various entities fit into the financial formula and why they are needed and the value received from each one.

For instance, how do we calculate the dollar cost of home-school, charter school, academy and the traditional public school? Which model is most efficient? Can we continue to purchase computers, pay Internet bills and provide up to $2,100 discretional per home school student?

Can we afford the extra cost of administrator salaries that were added when all these charter schools popped up? What does the low student-teacher ratio in charter schools really cost?

As these schools continue to shrivel the traditional public school populations, how does this negatively affect the monies allotted to them?

As our leaders on the Assembly, School Board and state legislators scrutinize the money allocation for each entity, the incredible and unaffordable overlap and duplication of services will become obvious.

Then, the task remaining will be to consider the value to place on each of these educational entities. Shall we keep paying the price for home-school and those cozy little charter schools because some people like them, they are financially lucrative to the district, they are academically superior, or the government has forced them upon us? If home-school and charters can really prove that they are far superior, keep paying. God bless. When they are unable to do this, you must declare that no amount of federal, state, or borough monies received or appropriated to operate these divisive experiments is worth the damage they are doing to the system as a whole.

Hopefully our leaders will conclude that the cost of education, just as any business, goes down when the schools we built are filled to capacity. That we cannot afford home delivery of education while buses drive on by or the sense of entitlement seemingly provided by charters must be stated.

It is time to consolidate services and create efficient, affordable and totally awesome public schools. Come on people, let's get together now.

One school. One people.

Paul Zobeck

Soldotna



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