Story Time

Not enough money?

Give me a break! The notion that we taxpayers aren't digging deep enough into our pockets to educate youngsters has as much merit as saying that Barry Bonds doesn't deserve to have an asterisk next to his name in the record books.

A group of educators and parents, calling themselves the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools, was scheduled to appear before a King County Superior Court judge this morning. They are arguing that Washington state does not spend enough money on public education.

Granted, this group isn't publicly advocating that our taxes be raised, rather that state legislators dish up a larger piece of the pie to public schools from existing and future state revenues. Still, if these educators and parents are able to convince some judge that the state isn't pouring enough education dollars into the pot, that would put us only one step away from the Democratic side of the aisle proposing a tax hike to pay for it all.

I can't speak to the funding levels of each and every school district in Washington state. What I do know is the extent to which the local school district, Sunnyside, is funded. And I can only assume that Sunnyside is on par with other school districts, in terms of receiving basic education funding.

This year, the Sunnyside School District will spend just a hair over $60 million from its general fund to educate roughly 5,475 students. The local district will also spend more than a half million dollars that will eventually be tucked away in its ASB fund, as well as another $700,000 from its transportation fund to bus students to and from school. Not counting the $1.8 million budgeted for the coming year in debt service expenditures, nor the $22.5 million for new construction out of the district's capital projects fund, Sunnyside will have at its disposal nearly $62 million to educate local youths this coming year.

Folks, Sunnyside is a town of less than 15,000 people. We're talking less than 5,500 kids that attend public schools. Yet, $62 million is currently needed to get the job done in the classroom...for just one year.

That's $62 million!!! And there are some yahoos out there who are saying it isn't enough.

$62 million for a town the size of Sunnyside? Break that down, and it figures out to $11,324 for each and every kid that will walk into a Sunnyside classroom next Monday. Heck, for $11,350, you could put every youngster in the Sunnyside School District into their own brand-new Rio sedan, manufactured by the Kia Corporation.

Maybe, pumping more money into classrooms across the state would be an easier pill to swallow if we taxpayers were getting a bigger bang for our buck. But speaking from the side of the aisle that pays for it all, it seems to me that throwing money at the problem of under-achieving students isn't going to solve anything. I believe we already have some of the nation's top teachers working in this state, as well as some of the finest curriculums that money can buy.

I believe, as do many educators if you get right down to it, the problem lies in the homes of our students. Until we can get parents to quit using the schools as a babysitter, and actually invest some time in their children, $62 million is more than enough to educate the children of Sunnyside.


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