To the Editor:
As a longtime proponent of school funding reform, I applaud the thrust of your June 30 editorial “Stop Quibbling at the Expense of Education.”
While the need for spending austerity is likely to remain, school budgets can be reduced only so far without impacting quality. Our statewide group is finding that parents of school age children are increasingly concerned that their kids will be the ones who pay the price.
At the same time, parents increasingly recognize -- as you do -- that the local property tax (an inequitable system to begin with) has reached an intolerable level of burden for the middle class.
Educators, parents, and taxpayer advocates now more than ever have a common interest in developing an alternative funding system that will ensure school quality but not drive residents out of their homes and out of the state.
As desirable as it might be, any significant increase in federal funding is likely to be problematic for fiscal, political and constitutional reasons, since education is basically left to the states.
On the other hand, New York's own constitution specifically includes the responsibility to educate the state's children -- a mandate Albany systematically ignores by pushing most of the cost down to local school districts.
We believe Albany should be the target of all who seek gradual change to a new system that will be better for the schools and the kids as well as middle class taxpayers.
John Whiteley, Ticonderoga
Legislative Affairs Officer,
NYS Property Tax Reform Coalition