From Jansen Robinson
Tea Party Republicans through their actions said to the president/democrats and the nation that unless we get our way, we are going to allow the government to shut down and the country to default on its financial obligations (resulting in harmful impacts on this nation). Their goal was to pressure the president/democrats into giving in to their demands.
Harford County Board of Education (the majority of whom are appointed by a democratic governor) through their actions have said to the County Executive/Council and taxpayers of Harford County that since we did not get the funding that we’ve asked for, we are going to inflict certain harmful impacts on children and parents. Their goal is to elicit outrage and pressure the County Executive/Council into giving in to their demands.
The Tea Party Republicans failed in their effort to extort concessions from the president/democrats and it appears that this is a failed tactic on behalf of the Board of Education. But there is way forward provided the Board of Education is willing to take it.
First, both the school board and the county executive/council have acknowledged that because of the state of our economy, revenues will at best remain flat-the county is not going to take in much more that it did last year. In addition, both the Board of Education and the county government acknowledge that the county will be picking up additional costs to fund the school system’s personnel retirement program.
Second, by all accounts, to include the school system’s numbers, Harford County is growing older. The school-age population is gradually decreasing while the non-school age population is increasing.
With flat lined revenue projections at the state and local level, coupled with a declining school-age population, and increased obligations, there seems to be a few options available to use public funds to fund the school system at the requested level: 1) County Executive/Council would have to reduce or eliminate funding provided to one or more of the remaining county agencies; 2) raise property taxes or 3) work with the County Executive/Council to reduce costs and seek savings/efficiencies within the school system’s budget by doing business differently.
If funding is reduced or one county agency is eliminated, then other county functions/communities will be adversely impacted. In addition, it will be extremely difficult for elected officials to encourage taxpayers, who may not have children in Harford County Public schools to incur higher property taxes to pay for the same services that they are already getting-especially under the already heavy tax burdens we all find ourselves.
So let me suggest to the BOE that the best way forward starts with option 3. And, if the BOE wants to start shaping public opinion behind their efforts to obtain additional local funding then they need to stop pissing-off the very people (parents) that they need to help make their case.