Textbook example: Slighting public schoolsThis is an economic incentive to parents to withdraw their children from public schools and send them to private and parochial schools...or not to send them to school at all. The State of Indiana, by allowing this deduction, as well as providing vouchers, is using public money to pay for private and parochial schools.
Some taxpayers received an early bonus with a new private school/home school tax deduction for textbooks....[which,] according to Chetrice Mosley of the Indiana Department of Revenue, has cost the state $2,649,091. About 44,000 tax filers have claimed $77.9 million in textbook and fees incurred at private and parochial schools and in home-schooling...The key here is that the deduction is not available to families who send their children to public school, even though Indiana is one of just a few states that allow textbook fees. (emphasis mine)
The $325 million which has been stripped from the public school budgets over the last couple of years has not been replaced despite the $2 Billion surplus the state is now sitting on. The surplus, which came from cuts to the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Education, the Department of Child Services, the Family and Social Services Administration, and elsewhere, is going to be returned to the taxpayers. Instead of using the money to pay for essential social services, the state is giving it back.
Instead of helping financially strapped public schools get through difficult times, the state is going to return the money to the taxpayers (who, by the way, pay their taxes to support public schools, child services, veterans affairs, etc)...and those people who withdraw their children from the public schools get an added bonus of a tax deduction for private and parochial school textbook expenses.
My local school system closed 4 elementary schools last year...and have plans to close two more...because of budget cuts. Teachers are being laid off. Programs are being cut. School systems around the state are cutting essential services for children. Meanwhile the state increases financial resources for corporate charter schools, private and parochial school vouchers, and tax deductions for private and parochial school patrons.
It's public money. It should go to public schools.
Diane Ravitch published Five Steps to Destroy Public Education in her blog entry of June 17, 2012.
1. Under-fund/STARVE the schools financiallyI think it's time to edit #4 in that list. It should read,
2. Overcrowd the classrooms, reduce programs, supplies
3. Fail the public school using NCLB and/or Race to the Top laws leaving the public school in death-throws
4. Sell the school to private charters
5. Public school, Dead On Arrival
4a. Sell the school to private charters
4b. Pay parents to move their children out of the public schools.
Stop the Testing Insanity!