Amelia Morrison Hipps is advocating the idea of giving School Boards taxing authority.
It’s a good idea and one which can certainly be handled in such a way as to build in accountability. For example, setting a maximum amount taxes can be raised before a public referendum is required.
Letting School Boards set policy and establish budgets WITHOUT also giving them the ability and responsibility to raise revenue creates tension between two governing bodies that should be working together to better communities.
In other words, the people held the school board members accountable for the whole kit-and-caboodle. In Tennessee, school board members can hide behind the shield of county commissioners when they “mismanage their finances” by saying, “We had no choice. They only gave us so much money, and we had to spend it on X instead of B like we said. The children needed it.”
I urge Tennessee’s leaders to be courageous and bold. Open up a true and honest dialogue about our schools’ funding mechanisms. A saying I hear a lot in Wilson County is, “He who holds the gold, makes the rules.”
It’s an idea that’s been discussed and debated before — but also one meriting more attention.
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