Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Should County take back sales tax given to schools?

Imagine never weaning a baby off a mother’s breast. What you would get is either a really spoiled dependent kid, or a really weird situation. I have just described the portion of sales tax given to area school districts every year.
How did this happen? Years and many board members ago, sharing sales tax with school districts was an option counties across the state decided upon. As years passed, the counties following such a practice withdrew the sales tax from their school districts. Wayne County Board of Supervisors, lacking the balls to take any action, tried in vain to cut the cord with school districts, but were only able to cap the amount given each year.
Due to actions taken by a previous board of supervisors, under much protest by school administrators, the County capped the amount of sales tax given to school districts at $5.4 million per year. That was a year the Board of supervisors had some, but only a little testosterone floating around. By the way, Wayne County is the only rural (non-city) county out of 64 counties statewide, still bowing to the pressure from school administrators.

If Wayne County Board members had any backbone years ago, the area school districts would have received tens of millions of dollars more in state aid to make up for the missing sales tax contribution by the County. Unfortunately, that ship has now sailed.

Since the sales tax sharing by the County, school districts have built their budgets using these monies, while other school districts across the state did without. This is why we are in the current dilemma.

Are our kids any better off than others across the state with the shared sales tax dollars over the decades? Would they have been dumber without it?
Problem is the umbilical cord needed to be cut years ago, but as I expressed earlier, board of supervisor members lack the fortitude (balls) to take action.
Every time the issue of taking back the school portion of the sales tax arises, supervisors rally around the motion, only to falter once the school districts threaten their political futures.

Last year, the County had to lay off over 100 people. This year the county will dig into reserves and make more department cuts. The towns, who share the sales tax dollars with the county, have also had to squeeze the shit out of their budgets to make ends meet and hopefully stay under the 2% cap mandated by the state. By the way, the County Board of Supervisors has not taken a pay raise in seven years. How many school administrators can say the same? The Board will hear arguments by the school superintendents shortly on why the sales tax monies should not be taken back to plug holes in the county and town budgets and hopefully lower both county and town taxes. The Board will hear the arguments, the political pressure will be put on full alert with the yell …“for the sake of the children”. In the end, the Board will buckle, and the umbilical cord will be firmly affixed.. until the next round.

Just for shits and giggles, below are the salaries for the area school superintendents and administrators. Just once I would like to hear them say they will forgo a annual pay raise “for the sake of the children”.