Let's hold our schools more accountable
- Portland Tribune - Opinion
I think few Oregonians would disagree that the times we face today are challenging.
When everyone's finances are tight, both government and our public school system advocates are seeking to increase taxes as a way of generating more revenue for their causes.
I refer to a letter by Xander Patterson, "Raise property tax rates above Measure 5 limits" (May 24), when he writes, "Amend the constitution to allow local jurisdictions to raise property tax rates above Measure 5 limits whenever the state's contribution to school funding is inadequate to maintain school funding levels that existed when Measure 5 passed in 1990."
The main reason funding is down is because the economy is struggling to recover and so many people are out of work. If jobs were being created, more people would be working and paying taxes for both government operation and school needs. Right now, raising taxes is not the answer.
The very reason taxpayers voted in favor of Measure 5 was to tie our politicians' hands because the spiral in cost of all these different tax needs was having an adverse effect on property owners threatening their livability. There seemed to be no end to the spending, and the constant cry was for more spending.
Just how much money does Portland Public Schools need to perform? It appears to me the need is never-ending, while at the same time students are not receiving the tools to compete in today's society.
Somewhere, accountability has to come into play in all of this. We as taxpayers need to know where the money is going, such as salaries vs. restoration of facilities, etc.
Lew Scholl's letter, "Bond worth it to improve schools" (May 24), concludes his letter by stating, "If you think schools are expensive, compare that to the cost of ignorance and dead children," which I find a bit overstated. No one wants ignorance, or dead children, but likewise, we cannot continue to pour tax dollars into what seems like a bottomless pit without some accountability based on per-student cost, so that our tax dollars are actually accomplishing their goal.
Louis H. Bowerman
Schools can't be underfunded
How can the schools be underfunded (PPS needs to fix its finances first, May 24)? There are 837 PERS recipients who make more than $100,000 each year in taxpayer payouts.
Revising measures not the answer
In response to letters concerning school funding, "PPS needs to fix its finances first" (May 24), it is hard to find exact figures, but Oregon funds each student in this state an average of more than $10,000.
Wanting to revise measure(s) 47/50 is not the answer. Accountability with taxpayer funds is the answer.
Remember School Superintendent Ben Canada? Took more than $250,000 for his "Golden Parachute." Former human resource consultant for PPS, Neil Goldschmidt, was paid $282,000 to go away.
These examples happened years ago, but have things changed? No.
Don't tax me more, demand more accountability from this incredibly wasteful school district.
David P. Minato