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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Opinion

Property taxes should not fund public schools


Property taxes should not fund public schools

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Everyone deserves a quality education no matter their economic background. In order to attain this, public schools should not be funded by property taxes.

Public education stems from the idea that the community should take care of its children’s education.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony started this because it saw so many new settlers were arriving who could not read. There was a want for kids to learn to read so that they could read the Bible. It was then decided that communities as a whole should fund education.

This idea of the community paying for education has continued to the point where on average, 45 percent of public school funds comes from local property taxes, 45 percent comes from state taxes and 10 percent comes from federal taxes. 

An intercity school may spend a certain amount of money per child while a nearby district will spend three or four times that amount. This is because property values differ based on where one lives, so taxes differ as well.

Therefore, in neighborhoods where the houses are more expensive, the schools get more funding.

Some people may think this is only fair. They may think that you should get a better-funded school if you pay for it. However, it’s unfair for poorer kids, who have no control over what economic status they are born into, to receive fewer funds for their education.

More funds for public schools allow for more money to hire more teachers, to have newer and up-to-date textbooks, and to have more after-school programs.

Having more teachers means smaller class sizes which allow teachers to spend more time with each student, giving them the attention they need. Smaller class sizes also result in better student performance.

Funds also go to after-school programs like tutoring, sports and performing arts. These programs can help kids stay enthusiastic about school, improving attendance and performance. Studies have shown that after-school programs often prevent juvenile delinquency, keeping kids on the right track in life.

When kids don’t have access to these things because of low funds, they struggle. They lose enthusiasm and motivation for school. The kids are less prepared to go to college than kids who were supported and helped by their school.

The system of funding for public schools needs to be changed. A person’s zip code should not determine how good their education is. It should not determine whether they can join an after-school club or not. Every child in this country deserves to learn and have the same opportunities. 

Public schools would still have to be funded by taxes, just not property taxes. Funds should be divided amongst schools based on what each school needs, not based on how much money the houses nearby cost. 

This would make things fairer for kids in underserved communities. They would then have the same opportunities that kids who live in wealthier neighborhoods have. Public schools should not get their funding based on property taxes.

Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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