Wednesday, August 29, 2007

TIF districts good, school vouchers bad

We can always count on certain local media and press to challenge the issue of school vouchers because they claim that if the State of Missouri authorizes or approves the usage of school vouchers they are in essence "abandoning" the public school system.

Yes, how many stories have been penned by journalists or editorializing newspaper representatives who want to make certain teacher's unions recognize their righteous support of public schools?

That's why it seems disingenuous when the same paper issues favorable reports on TIF revenue being used on pet city projects.

In a special report about the incentives included in the city's deal with McGowan Walsh on the Heers agreement, the News-Leader reports that the developer can request Heers be designated as part of a tax-increment financing (TIF) district and, apparently, it raises no cockles:

"- A tax-increment financing district. Property tax revenue collected on new development in a TIF district can be used to pay for projects that will benefit the public. Without a TIF, that additional revenue would go to the city, county, Springfield school district and city-county library system." (emphasis mine)


The duplicity leaves one questioning whether it's okay for funds to be pilfered from the Springfield school district to offset costs incurred by the developer in the restoration and remodeling of the Heers building (since I'm not aware of the News-Leader taking issue with TIF in the past) but please, it's out of the question to pilfer revenue from the Springfield school district if it means the revenue will be used for the actual purpose of educating children (part of its original intended use).

I guess it depends on who supports the pilfering. If the politicians in the City of Springfield wish to use revenue which would otherwise go to the Springfield school district for the purpose of revitalizing the downtown district, for restoration of the "crown jewel of Springfield," Springfield Public Schools be damned. If the purpose is for tax paying citizens interested in school choice who would like a voucher system put in place to offset the cost of educating children via other options, well, that, apparently isn't good use of the ciphoned revenue....

And why wouldn't the teacher's unions be as up in arms about TIF districts "abandoning" the public schools as they are about those nasty parents who would prefer to educate their children in another manner? Why the difference? Why no outcry when funds are siphoned from public schools and libraries for redevelopment and revitalization of TIF districts all across the state but such railing and rallying of newspaper editorialists when that siphoning includes a bit of competition being thrown the way of the teacher's unions?

Is it really the revenue loss that teacher's unions and their supporters are upset about or is it competition that has them up in arms?

13 comments:

Vincent David Jericho said...

GREAT blog and further evidence to my statement that you, my dear, are BY FAR, the best blogger in SW Missouri.

I Was going to say state but I hear you having been having trouble finding hats big enough lately.....write on!

Best

Vince

Jacke M. said...

Yeah, well, I'd been thinking of asking if I could borrow YOUR hat.

;)

Vincent David Jericho said...

Mine would be way to big! I custom order.

Momma Twoop said...

Is it really the revenue loss that teacher's unions and their supporters are upset about or is it competition that has them up in arms?

It's BOTH, with conditions, of course. Teachers' unions have a monopoly on education and the dollars sunk into it, which translates into power. I doubt I even need to tell YOU that. :)

Anyway, they're loathe to share ANY of it with anything or anyone else, as long as they can scream "You're taking money from the children!!" and inhibit any kind of choice in education. Funny how that predictable screeching only happens when someone introduces the idea of competition or school choice, isn't it? Otherwise, they're predictably silent.

If they cannot create a way to scream the above-mentioned phrase, the pilfering of education money doesn't register on their radar and isn't worth their time. The only time they're concerned with it is when they feel the money might take away some of their funding base - the students.

Many states have had great success with online charter schools, a public education, and all the oversight that entails, that takes place with the child at home over a computer. In Arizona, for instance, half of the top ten performing public schools are charter schools! And even though taxpayer funds pay for computers and internet service for charter school students, the cost of educating each student is much less than the cost of educating a student in a brick and mortar public school building.

You would think that teachers would support charter schools. You would think they would want what is best for children, and desire for them to obtain their education in the most successful, fulfilling way according to each child's needs. After all, children learn in many different styles, as all teachers know, and some of them do better in an environment completely different from that found in public schools. Alas, you would think wrong. Teachers' unions have come out against charter schools without fail....even though they've proven successful.

It's a two-pronged hit to the teachers' unions. One, people will see how much more cheaply an education can be had, even at home, which always alarms teachers' unions; and, two, they view charter schools as competition because, even though it is still public school, it takes children - the basis for their funding - out of the brick and mortar school building.

The screeching of "it's for the children!" is nothing more than a cover-up for the truth - It's ALLLLLLLLL about money.

Great blogpiece, Jacke (as always)!

Love ya!

Jacke M. said...

How wonderful that you had the time to comment, Twoop! I hope it gets to be more regularly and that you are going to have more time to blog as you had hoped, people will find out that the one deserving of the "big hat" isn't Jacke!

Much love back atcha!

Anonymous said...

But... but... WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???

Sorry, my sarcasm valve is stuck in the "open" position this morning.

Anonymous said...

Could there be a JackeHammer radio show in the works ??

Great job Jacke...

Momma Twoop said...

The screeching of "it's for the children!" is nothing more than a cover-up for the truth - It's ALLLLLLLLL about money....and maintaining their monopoly.

I forgot to add that last part. Duh.

Momma Twoop said...

How wonderful that you had the time to comment, Twoop! I hope it gets to be more regularly and that you are going to have more time to blog as you had hoped, people will find out that the one deserving of the "big hat" isn't Jacke!

I snuck away from my Momma Twoop duties a time or two to write that comment, Jacke! Just like tonight....I've taken to running away whenever possible from the harsh work of cookin' - slavin' over that hamburger and those boxes of Hamburger Helper at the stove tonight...why, it's almost more than a momma should have to bear! And the green beans and sliced 'maters....don't EVEN get me started! It's slave labor, I'm tellin' ya! :)

I'm still working on the time for bloggin'. It hasn't happened yet. My work load has decreased with the older ones since we made some changes, but I haven't found a way to keep 3 year old twins stop acting like 3 year old twins. My work load with them has increased mightily. I've maintained all along that the Terrible Two's is a myth, and I'll be darned if every child I have hasn't proven it! The Terrible Two's really come when they're THREE.

One other thing before I have to go resume my slave duties, a.k.a. "stirring occasionally"...

I will never - no matter how hard I studied, practiced or tried - be the writer or blogger you are. Writing is in your every fiber and is a part of your make up, and it shows. :)

Back later if possible!

Jacke M. said...

Anonymous said...
Could there be a JackeHammer radio show in the works ??

NO.

You guys are embarrassing me. Stop it.

Jason said...

Unfortunately, it's all about the power. It's not just in Missouri, either. I've lived all around the country and I've seen cases where the teacher's union was so strong the adminstration was handcuffed to do what needed to be done especially for bad teachers.

Now, I really respect many who teach because I know the sacrifices that are made by them. Most of the time the great teachers aren't the ones who are in lock step with the unions. This is not a shot at teachers themselves when I say it's all about power.

Jacke M. said...

Jason wrote:

"This is not a shot at teachers themselves when I say it's all about power."

I hope it didn't appear that I was taking a shot at teachers, per se.

My focus was intended to be the false argument posed by teacher's unions and editorial writers that anyone who might support school vouchers wants to "abandon" public schools and I think the questions I asked are legitimate.

I too know a few teachers who are very dedicated to their jobs and personally sacrifice a lot out of concern for their students.

Anonymous said...

Re: JackeHammer Radio show

I guess Vince could always get that good ol' Billy guy while he is gone...