Parents: YES on 3 Is the Best Thing For Your Children and Their Future

by Carla Howell

You know the old adage: Children learn more from what we do than from what we say.

The Teachers Unions have convinced many parents that towns are constantly in need of more tax dollars. They push for property tax overrides to raise local taxes. They oppose every statewide ballot measure to cut taxes, including Question 3 to roll back the sales tax to 3%.

They claim that schools direly need these additional tax dollars to properly educate children and that any reductions would be devastating.

But is that the truth? Are they really hurting for funds?

Consider these facts:

1. Despite claims of “painful cuts,” spending on K-12 schools in Massachusetts has gone up every year during this recession. Total K-12 spending was $11.5 billion in 2008. It is $12.3 billion today. An additional 3/4ths of $ 1 billion more thrown at schools – while families have had to cut their spending, on average, by over 20%.

2. K-12 employment has gone up during this recession too – while the private sector shed hundreds of thousands of jobs. For every one of the (few hundred) school employees who actually lost a job, there were two more hired into K-12 jobs.

3. K-12 workers’ pay and benefits have also gone up during this recession. In recent labor negotiations, the Teachers Union demanded another pay increase of 28%.

More school spending, more hiring, pay increases and bigger benefits – in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Do the Teachers Unions have no shame?

Is this the kind of behavior you want your children to learn is good, fair and proper?

Should we be teaching kids, by example, to roll over and succumb to every threat that is used to manipulate taxpayers into handing over more money?

Or should we be teaching them, by example, to stand for what’s right?

That’s not the only manipulation that the Teachers Union is perpetrating on taxpayers. They’re grossly misrepresenting the impact of Question 3 on aid to cities and towns.

They claim that if Question 3 passes, politicians will be forced to cut aid to cities and towns. False.

They claim that it would be bad for schools and for you if that aid was cut. False again. The truth is, rolling back the sales tax to 3% is a great deal for cities and towns!

Teachers Unions also claim that more money for schools makes them better. But is this true? Is it possible that continually throwing more money at schools actually makes things worse?

Where politicians can and should cut spending

One way to allow for cuts in state spending is for the legislature to repeal unnecessary and destructive local mandates.

Hundreds of mandates imposed on cities and towns force up local costs, especially the cost of schools. This forces up property taxes, too.

Repealing hundreds of mandates will lower local government costs substantially, including the cost of running schools. State lawmakers could then reduce local aid – with no impact on school funding.  This long overdue reform alone will make up for a good portion of reduced sales tax revenue from a Yes on Question 3 vote — with no down side.

Repealing local mandates will provide additional benefits.

Local mandates impose gobs of red tape on teachers. Mandates take away control from local parents, teachers and communities and hand it over to bureaucrats on Beacon Hill.

Removing these mandates will allow local educators to design school curricula, testing, and other policies around the real needs of kids they know and love. Schools will be more responsive to parents. Having the freedom to teach – rather than fill out forms for two hours every day — will attract better educators. Ones who yearn to be great teachers and whose priority is good education — not job security, early retirement, or cashing in on lucrative benefits.

Continually jacking up the price of schools is not what makes them work. Spending money wisely, and keeping control as local as possible, makes schools shine.

Your choice

As a parent, you have a choice with Question 3:

(1) Vote No, succumb to threats of cutting local aid, and allow the overspending to continue, or

(2) Vote Yes and demonstrate to your children that we can and must do the right thing: Reject the threats. Reduce our misbehaving legislature’s allowance. Demand that they cut waste and appropriate funds in ways that make schools better, not worse.

Voting YES on Question 3 is the best thing you can do this election for your children and for their future.

Please vote YES on 3.

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