I am watching in horror as reduced funding and a contracting economy cut into educational budgets across the country. This is not election year bleating about draconian cuts to future increases but real money.
Media headlines speak to school closings and teacher terminations.
In the real world money has a source and a limit In Volusia County, our school revenue are shrinking.
According to Richard Moll, deputy superintendent of financial and business services of Volusia County Schools, reports state funding is down $17.5 million. Expenses are choking with fuel and utilities at record levels.
I read the school system in Volusia is facing a $45 million shortage Certainly schools systems
can improve their spending habits greatly and immediately.
However, closing schools and firing teachers seems about as anti-education as we could get.
Homeowners and citizens also feel the weight of this economic contraction.
We are buried by governmental expense and I am sick of it. I supported the tax reduction put in place by Gov. Crist and Iwill support every tax reduction ever proposed.
You will find a majority of homeowners support me. Where is the money we paid in taxes to the county? For the past 10 years, I have seen a great increase in educational opportunities. At least that's what they are advertised and promoted as.
Ask what education is. What am I paying for? At age 52, the answer is easy for me -- reading, writing, science, arithmetic and history are education.
Spending for education has never been higher than it has in the past decade.
Plenty of money is still flying around. Why are the kids losing schools and good teachers? I submit people and organizations proclaiming themselves to be teachers are stealing it.
Most if not all of these folk carry environmental credentials. This educational dog-and-pony-show comes directly at the expense of real educators. People teaching reading and writing are losing resources to people who pet pelicans, study pottery shards and splash around in the water. Children suffer because of it.
Case in point: The old New Smyrna High School property had a valid offer of $15 million and somehow that money was thrown away for a fish farm proposed sometime in the future. Under the guise of eco-education our children -- my children -- lost benefit of fifteen million dollars that should have gone to the real educators in Volusia County. This was the result of a powerful political lobby with an anti growth agenda.
In the same neighborhood we have the Marine Discovery Center. According to their website, "Education is at the heart of the Marine Discovery Center's Mission."
That's not what most consider real education mind you but eco-education? They are sitting on a piece of land that would generate huge amounts of tax revenue for our children's education and help the local economy. Several hoteliers had shown an interest.
The Marine Discovery Center took a $500,000 grant from the federal government to set up two pontoon boats and the city pays them $85,000 a year to float their unsuccessful operation. Worse yet, the New Smyrna Beach City Commission voted recently to give them another $18,000 to build a kayak shed.
It is easy to presume that counting real estate value, federal and state funding plus city subsidy this organization has siphoned off more than a million tax dollars with no end in sight. How many math teachers could we get for a million dollars?
Tree mitigation rules for New Smyrna Beach are available on-line. This tax is taken under the mantle of environmental stewardship. One of the many earmarks for mitigation revenue use is community awareness and education. If you read the rules, our money is allowed to be spent on anything the city wants.
The city of New Smyrna Beach reportedly took $400,000 just from Home Depot. I can't imagine how much they have squirreled away since the law was enacted. One has to wonder how many new businesses considering opening here said "never mind."
Shall we assume it was enough to keep Samsula School open forever?
Once again environmental issues are hogging tax money. I want to get on record that I am not against conservation or the environment.
I switched to little mercury laden florescent light bulbs long before our Congress wasted tax dollars mandating their use. My own thermostat is set at 78.
No doubt we need to be aware of our natural surroundings. It's nice to be able to identify a pelican at 1,000 yards, but it's more important to be able to read.
Some of our schools have a drop-out rate approaching 50 percent and graduate kids who can't make change. Taking money from actual education is condemning our children to a terrible life.
I found approximately $17 million running a quick check just in New Smyrna Beach. I wonder if $17 million would save Oak Hill Elementary School. I wonder how much real money has been taken for phony education in Volusia County. Every dime needed for a top notch educational system is already paid by homeowners.
The problem seems to be one of definition. What is education?
Fiscal responsibility will be forced upon government if I'm lucky. Given the reality of finite resources I fervently hope School Boards, parents, teachers and others rise up. Stop stealing educational dollars from our teachers and school system. Let's fund reading, writing and arithmetic before we build phony educational facilities dedicated to squeezing sperm out of fishes.
Let's teach our kids to compete in the real world.
Let's keep our schools open. Citizens must remove educational impostors from the feeding trough of tax revenue. Environmentalists should not be permitted to masquerade as teachers or schools. Schools need to reassert themselves as true sources of knowledge. Mother earth promotes minimum wage -- good teachers and schools prevent it.