Rock Hill: Public Money for School Politics

From a reader:

“…the email below was forwarded to me after being sent to every employee in Rock Hill (SC) School District 3. It was written by a board member and emailed by the district spokeswoman. I believe this may be a misuse of state resources not to mention factually incorrect.”

“Walter Brown, coordinator of advocacy efforts on the Board of Trustees, would like to share the following information with all employees:

“In an article published yesterday in The Herald (1/4) titled “Q&A With the Governor,” Mark Sanford outlines his agenda for his final two years in office. If you have not read it, you may want to locate it.

“As we all are aware the State Budget has been slashed several times since passing. We may not have seen the final cut! Sanford states in the article that he plans to press for reforms that include eliminating state income tax on businesses. He has given up on eliminating the state’s income tax on individuals.

“Sanford also will revive the debate for school-choice, better known as vouchers. He plans to push a plan to give parents tax credits if they send their children to private schools. He feels that some of the new members of the General Assembly give him hope of new support for his plans. His latest reasoning is that with the downturn in the economy, if 10 percent of the kids now in private schools go back to the public schools, it will end up costing the taxpayers. He says do the math!! It would appear that, on the other hand, if 1,000 students receive a $2,500 tax credit (voucher), this would be a $2,500,000 hit on the budget that is already in shambles from ACT 388. Where is the savings since the schools these students would attend must remain open with staff in place?

“It is not too early to begin contacting your representatives to let them know your stand on vouchers and other issues involving public education. Please do not let them go to Columbia and be able to say they did not hear from the voters in their districts.

Thank you.

Walter Brown

Not only is this type of publicly-funded politicking unethical, the details of this email are false.

Time and again, the Voice has explained:

school choice will help public schools;

school choice will save the state millions of dollars;

school choice will encourage and reward responsible and engaged parenting;

and school choice already exists for college and prekindergarten students.

Still, despite another year of low SAT scores, widening achievement gap, and an increasing high school dropout rate, the publicly funded educrats again insist on spending your tax dollars to mislead you and block much-needed reform.


5 responses to “Rock Hill: Public Money for School Politics

  1. Walter Brown

    I believe a close reading of the article will reveal that no one was asked to fight or support vouchers. It brought out statements from Mark Sanford that were in the media.
    I challenge you to show how school choice (vouchers) will save the state millions of dollars.
    I stand by my comment that any form of vouchers will cost the state dollars from an already stressed budget. You might also detail any portion of the e-mail you refer to as being false. There are no false statements in the e-mail and I challenge you to prove otherwise.

    Walter Brown

  2. Mr. Brown,
    1. Wordplay: You try to equate “vouchers” (which are direct government appropriations to independent schools) with “tax credits” (which is a reduction in the liability a citizen or corporation has to the government for actions that lead to lower government spending). This is inaccurate and deliberately misleading
    2. Cost Savings: Children transferring out of public schools (or simply not returning to public ones as families tighten their budgets) would not be a “cost” to public schools. That is a static analysis. If total public spending per child is $11,480, and most of the money is allocated for programs and through grants, a $2,500 credit would result in a huge windfall to public schools who would receive tax money for students they don’t have to spend money on! Almost $7,000 per child comes from local and federal sources tied to district demographics, not the number of students sitting in public school classrooms.
    3. Property Tax Relief: State revenues are down (and school spending down 10 per cent on the year) because of unsustainable growth over the last decade, which out paced personal income growth 3-to-1. The reason lawmakers felt the need to pass Act 388 (a poorly crafted piece of legislation) was to try and reign in the outlandish spending by county councils and school boards.
    And 4. Impropriety: yes, using your title and email lists to blast out political emails like this is inappropriate. No doubt you can demonstrate to us it was not sent through taxpayer-financed resources?

  3. For a school board member, W. Brown doesn’t seem to be very well-versed in funding and policy; I guess he is too busy spending other people’s money to waste time learning!

  4. Wow, how is …

    “It is not too early to begin contacting your representatives to let them know your stand on vouchers and other issues involving public education. Please do not let them go to Columbia and be able to say they did not hear from the voters in their districts”

    …NOT asking employees to fight school choice?!

    This guy is snake oil salesman who got caught peddling his swill through official channels!

  5. Your efforts on behalf of school choice are most appreciated by those of us who are concerned for the welfare of our children and the future of our society. Children are suffering daily in many our nation’s schools. We need to come to their rescue now. There is truly no need for us to defend our position that parents should have the right to raise and educate their children in a free society. Opponants need to defend their position that in a nation founded upon individual and religious liberty, government has the right to financially compel parents to send their children to government run schools.
    This inalienable right is outlined primarily in the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, and the 1st and 14th Amendment. Denial of parental choice in education is in fact the greatest government-sanctioned violation of civil rights in today’s America, and society suffers in multiple ways.
    As with any system gone awry, just follow the money. The only way to fix this misguided system is to return control to parents, where it rightfully belongs. Our top-down system, where the provider holds the purse rather than the customer, is like shopping with no money, with the understanding that the store will provide for your needs.
    As summarized by Wisconsin State Representative Annette Polly Williams, who led the ten-year voucher battle in Milwaukee, “We were putting power in the hands of low-income parents to make sure they really did benefit. This entire parental choice struggle is about who can control the educational dollars.”
    Sweden, among the most “progressive” of nations, instituted parental choice in education in 1992. They have improved education, and increased satisfaction in both private and public schools, without the predictions of doom coming to pass!
    Free enterprise is the engine of a free society. Just as it is essential in driving a successful economy, so too with education. Our nation came to recognize the importance of equal opportunity in housing, employment and public accommodations, and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We need to sponsor and pass the Civil Rights Act for Equal Educational Opportunity. This would mandate equitable funding for children in non-public schools, while respecting the liberty of schools in hiring and provision of services. In accordance with the 10th Amendment, educational standards and means of funding would be left to the states.
    Support for this measure is building at the grass roots level. As recently reported by Evelyn B. Stacey of the Pacific Research Institute, “Forty-four years after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a new rights movement is gathering steam as ethnic groups are increasingly joining forces to press for school choice.”
    Implementation of this legislation would surely bring innovative advancements in education by force of competition and substantially reduce bureaucratic waste. Please call or write your representative and write to President-elect Barack Obama at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s