Parents’ group lobbies for higher taxes; Barve seeks to oblige

Parents are the most highly subsidized group in Montgomery County.  They get an annual gift of over $20,640* per child from the taxpayers (Okay, it’s not really a gift if I am forced to give it to you, but let’s leave that aside for the moment).  The Gazette reports on a group of parents who thinks that isn’t enough.

They are complaining about small fees charged by schools for extra expenses, supplies and equipment associated with certain activities.  These fees are generally charged for workbooks (which can’t be shared with the next year’s students), , materials for art and photography classes, food costs for international cooking classes, calculators, and other costly “extras.” Right now, these are considered to be incremental activities (beyond the school curriculum and resource base) and students are asked to pay for these additional expenses – if they can afford it.  If they can’t, the school system provides these add-ons for free.  The charges are generally small (less than fifty dollars), but these parents aren’t complaining on the basis of the burden.  They insist that everything provided through the school system should be completely paid for through taxes.   One parent showed up at a school board meeting to request a refund of $8 in towel fees paid for her high school teenager.

Montgomery delegate Kumar Barve seems to have been inhaling the populist air from Denver and St. Paul.   He is seeking to propose a bill that would make it illegal for school systems to charge students fees.  His rationale: “The purpose of public school education is to allow each child to get a great education regardless of their economic background.”  But since everyone gets these services, whether they can afford it or not, no one is being deprived right now.  The only issue is whether parents should bear any portion at all of the costs of extra activities for their children.  For some parents – and for Delegate Barve – the apparent answer is “no.”

*That’s a school operating budget of $2.067 billion, plus capital budget of $778 million, serving 137,763 students this year.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Budget and Taxes, County government, Education

Tags: , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

11 Comments on “Parents’ group lobbies for higher taxes; Barve seeks to oblige”

  1. Freemarket Says:

    I thought Howard County was bad. When I read in this post that the operating budget for the Mont. Co. public schools was over $2 billion, I thought that had to be a mistake- until I checked the Mont. Co. website. Add another $778 million for capital construction and you are getting close to $3 billion just for schools. Holy crap. All of Howard County’s budget is less than $2 billion (half of which goes to schools), which is entirely too much.

    Those kids could go to the best private schools in the country for $20K per student. And parents complain about $8 towel fees. Amazing.

  2. freestategal Says:

    You’ve got it wrong. The fees amount to hundreds and hundreds of dollars for parents and they are NOT for ‘extras’ they are for science; for math; for foreing language; for art class. The MD constitution GUARANTEES a FREE PPUBLIC EDUCATION to our children. MCPS has an annual budget of over $2BILLION. There is no oversight on that spending. Check out the credit card logs for Frieda Lacey. Where is your outrage that she has a ‘business dinner’ every other week at Il Pizzico, Addies, or Timpanos? Where is your concern that the superintendent laughingly refers to our kids as ‘the cream of the CRAP.’ So, in addition to taxing us to death, the county can’t make due with the $2.2B; they have to tax us further with illegal fees.

    Freemarket , you don’t get the point either. The fees are illegal. and they are one aspect only of the gross misuse of our money.

  3. freestategal Says:

    You’ve got it wrong. The fees amount to hundreds and hundreds of dollars for parents and they are NOT for ‘extras’ they are for science; for math; for foreign language; for art class. The MD constitution GUARANTEES a FREE PUBLIC EDUCATION to our children. MCPS has an annual budget of over $2BILLION. There is no oversight on that spending. Check out the credit card logs for Frieda Lacey. Where is your outrage that she has a ‘business dinner’ every other week at Il Pizzico, Addies, or Timpanos? Where is your concern that the superintendent laughingly refers to our kids as ‘the cream of the CRAP.’ So, in addition to taxing us to death, the county can’t make due with the $2.2B; they have to tax us further with illegal fees.

    Freemarket , you don’t get the point either. The fees are illegal. and they are one aspect only of the gross misuse of our money.

  4. FACTS Says:

    Extras? Math, science, social studies, english, report cards and diplomas? These are extras? Those are the classes and items that come with a price tag these days in Montgomery County. If you think MCPS is spending $20,00+ on each child – think again. Try $6,000. You can’t check the math because MCPS no longer publishes budget data for school on its website! They don’t want you to see the truth.

  5. FACTS Says:

    http://www.parentscoalitionmc.com/GuidetoFees.php

    How about if you read the law and then check your article? See what the Maryland law guarantees and then write an article about that.

  6. Zinzindor Says:

    FACTS — you need to have a conversation with FreeStateLegal, who correctly cites the budget for MCPS (as I did in the post, along with the school population.)

    I’m not making any judgment about whether the state constitution requires taxpayers to subsidize these costs.

    But both of you are conceding my point: However ridiculously the school system spends their money now, they don’t budget the money for SAT preparation, food and uniforms for an international cuisine class, photography supplies, etc. So if you want the taxpayers to subsidize these things, then I repeat:

    a) You are asking for an even greater subsidy than the $20,000 per year per child you already get, and
    b) taxes will have to be raised. And that’s just ridiculous, too.


  7. […] at Leviathan Montgomery, has a beef with a group of parents who want a free lunch, so to speak, to go with their children’s free public […]

  8. freestategal Says:

    Zinzindor and 41st carnival, there is no reason to raise our taxes and that is NOT what the Parents Coalition, the group that exposed the fee scam has ever said.

    What has happened is that with this council and co. exec and BOE, there is NO accountability in the school system at Carver; there is NO oversight; there is NO legal redress because according to MCPS, they don’t fall legally under the county IG OR the state AG.

    No one has suggested taxes be raised. In fact, just the opposite. What the Parents Coalition has exposed is the blatant misuse of existing taxpayer funds. The money Frieda Lacey spends on her ‘business dinners’ alone would pay for the workbooks, art supplies, science materials, etc. that we are being taxed for now. The thousands and thousands of dollars Weast spends belonging to organizations that in turn give him ‘awards’ would pay for those SAT classes and the PSAT tests. The $10MILLION Carver spends on its internal PR department so they can churn out the good news about MCPS would pay for who knows how many new teachers in our schools. The fees ARE taxes. They come out of the taxpayer pockets and go directly into Carver’s behemoth hidden budget. WAKE UP.

    Zinzindor, the point is, the school system in fact DOES have the money to pay for the education of the kids in this county. As I have said, they have $2.2BILLION annually. How they choose to spend that money is that they prefer to subsidize the higher ups personal lives instead of spending the money on the public education of the kids.

    When the Council and Leggett state that they are ‘forced’ to cut funds for libraries, public health, housing, fire and rescue, remember they have already decided to spend that money instead on the high life style of the admin at Carver.

  9. FACTS Says:

    Zin.
    You can correctly cite the budget all you want but that money doesn’t go to students. It goes to a bloated central administration that has no idea what kids look like. MCPS isn’t spending anywhere close to $20,000 per kid. They may be spending that on MCPS credit card bills for dinner and travel, but not on kids. Again, too bad you can’t see what actually goes to the school children, those numbers have been deleted from the MCPS website.

  10. Gtoz Says:

    I love it. Maybe these liberal, union supporters, will soon catch on. Hope they increase our taxes again, in order to enforce my belief. Maryland seems to be incapable of electing anyone other than a tax and spenders. If our schools are not working, just throw more money at it (or add another layer of bureaucracy). We cannot seem to get anyone into any office in this state with the ability to control spending. Well, there is only so much money to go around and our politicians have squeezed almost as much out of us as we have. I mean we have to eat and have a place to live.

  11. DKB Says:

    and here we go again. MD’s tax burden now 4th worst in US(only 3 states worse:NY,NJ,CT)Higher taxes, more fees, the peoples republic of md never met a tax it does not like and its bastard child montgomery county even more so. Coming soon, large deficits as those of us who have had enough head out of the county and possibly the state and take our money with us. Lots if folks feel the way i do according to my accountant(who does many small businesses in mont co) and many are on a 2-3 year plan to say “see ya Montgomery county”as we head to much greener pastures that arent being taxed to death. Plenty of states to chose from-a wide open country out there(first choice South Carolina) good luck to those who chose to stay-no change coming soon with o malley and legget in charge. DKB


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: