Friday, November 19, 2004

Bail out hits hardest at --- take a guess --- those who don't vote.

The kids are getting crushed again. This time the blow comes from Harrisburg. The new bailout for the city, still in the wind, is going to hit hardest against the school district and the kids of our city.

The RAD tax has been an on-going source of $4-million to the PPS (Pgh Public Schools). Gone. Send that money to Mayor Murphy and the city.

The tax rates are shifting. For the consumer / citizens / taxpayers the rates are not shifting. Rather the shifts come in that the percentage given to the schools is less and the amount to the city and Mayor Murphy is more. This is a one-two body blow too as it hits in two different flavors. It's all in the mix.

Then comes the crossing guards. Mayor Murphy ran away from that duty. He fumbled to the school board. In the past this had been a 50-50 deal. Murphy went to zero as per the budget a year ago. Now the crossing guards are fully the responsibility of the schools. Wrongheaded.

Crossing guards need to work for the police department. They can write tickets. Or, they used to be able to have law-enforcement capabilities.

We just build a new school in Homewood and there are people pulling out of that place as it isn't safe getting there. The last thing we need are fewer police and crossing guards.

By the way, the Mayor's Commission on Public Education was shameful. The A+ Schools effort is still a joke.

Next we'll see a reverse on the reversal. Dr. John Thompson had expected to raise taxes. Then he took a reading of the board and got the message. He said this week that there won't be any new taxes in his 2005 budget. Now Harrisburg is smacking the schools on repeated fronts.

The Homeland Security grant for $3-million should be made to $8-million and given to the Pgh Public Schools. Is there some under-handed state money due to arrive to PPS's budget?

Then there are the foundation folks. They used to provide $4-million to the schools. The mayor pulled their chain and ended that to great fanfare three years ago. Well that money crept back to the schools recently. But, now they are being dragged in part ty Dr. Trueheart of the Pittsburgh Foundation to the table to pony up $6-million a year.

Everyone around here needs to get back the their knitting. The foundations need to do foundation work in nonprofit ways without a threat of taxes. They need to help in the schools and not run the city swim pools. The mayor needs to stop stealing from others (foundations, schools, Homeland Security, Harrisburg, parkers, suburban residents). The schools need to do their thing without getting yanked around.

This is a total mess. And, the fix is so easy. But we can't heal with these dunderheads.

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