Monday, June 22, 2009

"Chicken Little"s of Parental Choice

"Chicken Little"s of Parental Choice

Now that Croydon is taking measurable steps towards reviewing the AREA agreement with Newport, the "Chicken Little"s are coming out in force. Discontent with the results of a survey showing a large majority of residents favor parental choice, they seek to rewrite history, asserting that the public would never support choice "if they only knew". They want to keep repeating the question, hoping that a campaign of fear will eventually provide the answer they're looking for.

To claim most respondents hadn't considered modifications to the AREA agreement when supporting parental choice is absurd, if not downright dishonest. The resident survey came from the Long Term Planning committee, a group whose sole task was to determine what, if any, modifications should be made to the AREA agreement. The survey was simply a tool to gauge public sentiment.

Nothing can change unless the AREA agreement is modified or scrapped. This year in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Newport granted raises and benefit increases totaling roughly $600,000. Under the AREA agreement, Croydon taxpayers are legally bound to cover a portion of this cost, even though we had no voice in the spending decision. At the June 8th informational meeting, speakers used eloquent terms to describe this. I prefer the old classic - Taxation without representation.

As long as we maintain our monopoly AREA agreement, we will remain indentured servants of the Newport school system, a system not known for fiscal responsibility. The $67,000 budget cuts, which the board already voted to partially undo through increased spending, cannot hold the line on property taxes alone. Real reform means gaining control of our educational future, not caving to manufactured fears from education power brokers.

Jim Peschke
Croydon School Board

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