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Seeking to restore education funding
As the 2014 General Assembly begins, I want to raise citizens’ awareness of a critical issue facing our legislators: new school funds to match the higher expectations for our students and our educators.
The students and staff of Elizabethtown Independent Schools and every school district in Kentucky have undergone significant challenges in recent years, primarily new federal mandates of the No Child Left Behind law and transition to a the new state assessment system required by Senate Bill 1. These changes have introduced greater academic rigor in teaching and learning. And our students and teachers have responded with test results lifting Kentucky up on several national scholastic yardsticks.
But the reality is that these activities have occurred during a period of reduced financial support from Frankfort and Washington, D.C. Mandates have grown, but money for teacher training and salaries, textbooks and computers, aid to struggling students and tools to make our schools safer has declined.
I invite my neighbors to help send our state leaders a simple message: Our kids can’t wait.
A student has one chance to obtain a quality education.
The agenda items specifically that we need to fight for are:
n Restore funding for the basic school funding formula to 2008-09 levels.
n Restore support for textbooks, preschool, safe schools programs, teachers’ professional development, and tutoring to 2007-08 levels.
n Provide funding for technology to increase capacity and speed so students can connect to the instructional tools they need.
Please join me and contact State Rep. Jimmie Lee at 502-564-8100, Ext 650; State Rep. Tim Moore at 502-564-8100, Ext 702; and State Sen. Dennis Parrett at 502-564-8100, Ext 645; and ask them to make a commitment to find the necessary funding to keep our students moving forward to the future every child in Kentucky deserves.
Member, Elizabethtown Independent School Board
Response to gambling editorial
In your recent editorial on gambling expansion you suggested that a “Public vote would settle the matter.” The problem with this is that the matter was settled by our legislature more than 100 years ago when it banned casino-style gambling via our constitution.
G.K. Chesterton once said that before removing a fence you should find why it was put there in the first place. The barrier against casino gambling was erected because of the fallout that unbridled gambling brings to many people, their community and the Commonwealth. Do we need to relive history to prove their point?
A strong argument for legalization is that surrounding states have legalized casinos and draw in Kentuckians. But just because another state does something doesn’t make it right. Nor does it make it sound public policy. Nevada has legalized prostitution. Anybody ready to promote that in Kentucky?
Further, bringing casinos closer to home will lure more Kentuckians to gamble and lose. In the end, the state will pick up the pieces from those who will develop a compulsion or an addiction.
According to University of Illinois Professor of Business Administration John W. Kindt, “Gambling has a zero-sum economic effect in its market and, like legalizing cocaine, the socio-economic costs of legalizing gambling overwhelm the benefits.”
Kindt says that for every dollar of revenue generated by gambling, it costs taxpayers $3 in increased criminal justice costs, social welfare programs, regulatory costs and increased infrastructure expenditures.
Your editorial suggests that the issue should be decided by the people. This is a half-truth. In order to amend the constitution it takes a three-fifths vote in the House and three-fifths vote in the Senate. In other words, the state legislature makes the first move to legalize casinos. If it passes there, then it goes on the ballot for citizens to reject or ratify. State government should be a firewall against predatory business, not flash a green light for exploitation of its people and worse yet, taking a cut from their losses.
Commonwealth Policy Center