Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why can't we just ask the parents of the school children to donate what they can?

Asked by Dutchess_III (38415points) March 21st, 2011

Senator Brownback cut $50 million from the education budget here in Kansas. Then I read that it works out to about $50 a kid. Why not ask the parents to donate $50 per kid they have in school? All in all, that’s a helluva cheap way to get a good education for the kids.

Yes, I know some parents would have a very hard time coming up with that money but other, more affluent families could pitch in a little more. Grandparents could pitch in. Really, what is $50?

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20 Answers

tedd's avatar

Generally that’s what a school levy is, except it asks for the money from the entire local populace.

Its unpopular and levy’s often fail, because it is seen as simply another tax.

Senator Brownback is a moron.

Supacase's avatar

I think a better way is to ask parents to purchase or contribute to something tangible so they know how their money is being used. Sending $50 in does feel more like a tax – it can get lumped in and spent on who knows what.

jca's avatar

what makes something like that hard to administer is what happens to families that don’t contribute? It would be illegal to kick the kid out of school, so what would the punishment be? It would unfairly be taken from parents who complied, and parents who did not comply would get away with it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jca It would be a voluntary thing.

Mariah's avatar

Maybe it makes me cynical, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to make anything important rely on voluntary donations. :\

geeky_mama's avatar

I don’t know about other folks..but around these parts we do at least 3 or 4 fundraisers per year and then we pay for field trips, in-school events and other miscellaneous expenses well in excess of $50/year. Only because I recently did my taxes do I know that for my son, in 2010, we spent over $3,500 in extra education expenses – for him to attend PUBLIC school.
(Part of that was funding his all-day Kindergarten…which our in our area is offered by a lottery…and then parents have to pay to fund the all day program.)

From the same pool of kids that my kids go to school with I have a Girl Scout troop with 14 girls.
In my Girl Scout troop 25% of the girls are on “scholarship” – that means their parents can’t afford the $12 sash or $5 entry fee for us to go to the museum..we have to apply for Girl Scout grants for each and every activity we do as a troop (other than our community service outings..where we’re out raking leaves or cleaning up a park..).

So – let’s say 25% (though the number might be higher) of the families at my school not only couldn’t come up with that $50/kid…they actually need ADDITIONAL funding throughout the year (for each of those activities/field trips/school supplies, etc.). What do you do then?

And, in my area families are LARGE. (We’re considered a ‘small’ family and we have 3 kids.) So..a large (let’s say 6 kids) lower income family should try and find additional money (6 x $50) so their kids can attend public school? Not gonna happen.

So..here’s where I think a school levy is a better option. Sure, you could ask each parent with a kid in school to pay an extra $50… OR you could spread that expense across a larger pool of taxpayers and it would come down to a far smaller number (say, an increase of $5 in taxes annually) per household.

Would some of those households have retired folks or people without children in school? Yes. And I’m sorry if you’re on a fixed income—but that’s life.
I’m paying Social Security which I’m never gonna get to collect..
I’m paying taxes for services I’ll never take advantage of…and sometimes even for wars I don’t agree with, but..that’s life.

The problem is many voters just see a levy as a tax increase and don’t take the time to see what education services will be cut (or what number of teachers will lose their jobs). It’s one thing if you live someplace where you can see that there is mismanagement of funds for education (we once lived in a school district that gave EACH child a laptop in 1st grade. Yes, every kid in the whole school system got a brand spanking new Apple laptop. Our taxes were very expensive and that seemed a bit excessive to us…)...but that’s rarely the case.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well…. @Mariah. It’s not like the school budgets will be funded solely by personal donations! If they were they’d be called “Private schools.” I’m just referring specifically to the recent funding cuts that works out to about $50 a kid in Kansas.

geeky_mama's avatar

@Dutchess_III – On thinking about it a bit more.. I’d pay $50/kid to not have their school budget cut.

But then..I decided just yesterday that I would have happily written a check for $300 to have skipped the entire Girl Scout Cookie selling process this year, too.

Mariah's avatar

@Dutchess_III Ahh, I reread. So the system isn’t dependent on the donations, it’s just that any extra added just makes things better? Well I think that’s a good idea!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Mariah it’s just that….$50 millions sounds like such a huge amount to strip away from the budget, but $50 a kid is tolerable…..that just sounds like something we could handle ourselves…

Jeruba's avatar

When my kids were in elementary school in California, the teachers routinely asked for donations of materials: a ream of paper, a box of pencils, craft items, etc. Teachers were buying supplies out of their own pockets. One teacher asked every student to bring in a box of tissues. Even parents who weren’t well off could help a little.

sakura's avatar

when we lived in New Zealand we had to pay a fixed amount for our daughters schooling a year to help towards costs of paper, books etc… it was just a regular school not private…and we had to but her exercise and texts books… over here in the UK they are provided but the school! They also had fundraising days.
We have fundraising days in schools here in the UK

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Jeruba Yes, teachers buy the supplies for their class rooms out of their own pocket.

john65pennington's avatar

Normally, I would agree with you all the way. BUT, how would you know that the collected money would not be spent on something frivilous and not something that all the students would benefit from?

I am sorry, but honestly, I just do not trust some people that have a lot of money suddenly thrown their way.

Would there be a watchdog over the collected money? This would be the only way I would agree to your suggestions.

Your heart is in the right place, but you can’t say that about some other people, if you know what I mean. jp

Supacase's avatar

I would pay $50 if I didn’t have to do those selling fundraisers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know @john65pennington. I’ve kind of thought about that too…how could you track it?

12Oaks's avatar

Anybody is allowed to volunteer to pay more in taxes if they wish. Very few, if any, actually do.

casheroo's avatar

They should be using the taxes properly. Maybe he should take a pay cut.

jca's avatar

Is it Senators or Congressmen that get to keep their salary for life? Maybe that should change and there’d be more money in all of the budgets for everything.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@12Oaks If I volunteered to pay more “taxes” I would have no idea what they were allocated for. Plus they’d just send it all back at the end of the year. I’d just as soon donate $200 on behalf of my grand kids specifically to the education budget.

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