Sunday, April 10, 2005

We CAN give our teachers a pay raise without raising taxes!

Here, in Louisiana, the teachers' pay ranks 45th on the national scale. Everyone agrees that our teachers need a pay raise. The problem is how to pay for that increase. Governor Blanco has estimated that she needs to generate about 70 million dollars to give the teachers a $1000/year raise. She has floated a few ideas all of which are some kind of increase in taxes.

WELL, NOT SO FAST! There may be a way to raise more than 180 million dollars a year without raising anyone's taxes. "How?", you ask. By spending 65% of the educational budget on... (drumroll, please) THE CLASSROOM.

The idea, which will face its first referendum in Arizona, is to require that 65 percent of every school district's education operational budget be spent on classroom instruction. On, that is, teachers and pupils, not bureaucracy.
Nationally, 61.5 percent of education operational budgets reach the classrooms. Why make a fuss about 3.5 percent? Because it amounts to $13 billion. Only four states (Utah, Tennessee, New York, Maine) spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in classrooms. Fifteen states spend less than 60 percent. The worst jurisdiction -- Washington, D.C., of course -- spends less than 50 percent.
Under the 65 percent rule, Arizona, which spends 56.8 percent in classrooms, could use its $451 million transfer to classrooms to buy 1.5 million computers or to hire 11,275 teachers. California (61.7 percent) could use its $1.5 billion transfer to buy 5 million computers or to hire 37,500 teachers. Illinois (59.5 percent) would transfer $906 million to classrooms (3 million computers or 22,650 new teachers). To see how much money would flow into your state's classrooms, go to

I would encourage you to contact the Governor's office and provide the link to the above article. She needs to be made aware that there are other ways of improving our education instead of raising taxes.

Thank you for this valuable and informative post!