Public education advocate Kim Henke writes about the tax game going on in Williamson County as the state’s wealthiest county “struggles” to fund schools.
Here’s some of what she has to say:
I’m embarrassed that last summer, WCS had to cut $6 million from the operational budget because the County Commission wouldn’t do the right thing and raise property taxes ahead of an election year. There is no reason that the 7th wealthiest county in the nation with the lowest property tax rate in Middle TN and the lowest in the state among communities with >100,000 residents should have to cut new teacher positions, counselors, and special ed staff. We shouldn’t have so many portables. We shouldn’t have kids in overcrowded schools eating lunch at 9:45 in the morning. We shouldn’t have roving teachers with carts teaching class in hallways and closets. We shouldn’t have principals mopping floors because the roof leaks. We shouldn’t have underpaid teachers and support staff who often work two jobs and can’t afford to live in Williamson County.I’m embarrassed that WCS is in the bottom 10 of Tennessee’s 141 school districts in per pupil expenditures in a state that’s in the bottom 10 of PPE nationwide.This is a fake funding crisis.
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It’s not a fake crisis per se but it is self inflicted. The county commission is to blame for lax zoning that has led to rapid influx of residents without charging developers enough for the burden they have created. Residents too need to get over the fact that taxes have stayed low for a generation. It will not be pretty in the next downturn when reliance on sales tax bites then in the butt.
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