Our Public Schools Are Under Attack
Article nine of the Idaho Constitution recognizes that public schools are essential to democracy. “The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.”
Yet despite this constitutional mandate, most parents know that Idaho schools rank last among states in per pupil funding and as a result they must resort to local levies to fill the financial gap in their annual budgets. These levies fund the repairs and updates of mechanical systems, plumbing, roofs, flooring, fences, parking lots and security measures. In addition, they offset the cost of employee expenditures, textbooks, classroom supplies, student computers, sports and extracurricular activities, transportation, and custodial services.
You would think that serving our children’s educational needs would bring people together. Yet, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee is using fear tactics and misinformation to bring public education to its knees.
If they succeed in choking off funding of free public instruction, the KCRCC will turn our fine public schools into institutions of last resort for children without the means to gain admission to private schools. These efforts to undermine free common schools are both immoral and unconstitutional.
Assessing the March 14 School Levy Elections
Unfortunately, the right-wing succeeded in leading a campaign against our public-school levies. Although they failed to hold off affirmative votes in Post Falls and Kootenai Jt. School Districts, they did block a victory for the Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland Jt. Schools. In other words, their fear tactics succeeded in motivating enough of their supporters to turn out and defeat the levies in these two school districts.
Fortunately, there will be a second chance to win public support. Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland Jt. Schools will be rerunning their Levy Elections on May 16th. So, help spread the message about the importance of supplemental funding and help get out the vote for our schools. Otherwise, if these levy elections fail, these school districts will face severe budget shortfalls. It is that simple.
For example, in the Coeur d’Alene School District, the levy represents 25% of their needed annual funding. Without this financial extension the district would need to make the following cuts.
- Closing 4.5 schools.
- Eliminating all sports and extracurricular activities.
- Eliminating school resource officers and security.
- Eliminating mental health services.
- Reducing 73% of nursing staff.
- Ending the development of new curriculum
- Eliminating nonessential graduation electives.
- Deferring needed repairs, mechanical updates, and security measures.
Therefore, it is imperative for all of us in the Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland School Districts who care about public education to speak out. Before the May 16th election, educate yourself and your friends about the threat to public education. Then, contact your elected representatives and demand that they support our public schools.
May 16 School Levy Election Redux
- Check Your Voter Record
- If needed, Update Your Voter Registration
- If needed, Request an Absentee Ballot.
- Vote in the May 16th election.
- Tell your friends and loved ones to do the same.
Join the Campaign to Block Fox
If you subscribe to cable television, you financially support the Fox News Network. In fact, Fox earns $2 of your cable fee whether you watch it or not. These service providers serve ninety-million viewers yet only 3 million watch Fox. Therefore, having Fox included in their standard service bundles forces eighty-seven million subscribers to subsidize Fox which garners this conservative network $1.8 billion per year in subscriber fees.
Now, here is the good news. Unfoxmycablebox.com is a new group formed to pressure cable and satellite providers to unbundle Fox. In 2023, Fox will be renegotiating a wave of big contracts with these cable and satellite service providers. If enough people join the campaign, we can force these service providers to exclude Fox. Now is the time to act.
Go to Unfoxmycablebox.com and tell your cable or satellite provider that you do not want to fund a right-wing political propaganda operation. Tell them to remove Fox from your service bundle.
Have a super week and thanks for being a Democrat.