Your editorial “Fix the school funding system” [July 14] on school funding in Long Island said wealthy districts like Roslyn and Smithtown get only $2,000 to $4,000 per student in state aid, while poor districts like Wyandanch and Brentwood get $15,000 per student in state aid, but need even more because they can’t raise property taxes.
We have a serious problem today requiring “wealthy” districts to raise 90 percent of their funding from local property owners. But you think “poor” districts need even more state aid. I think differently. Offer the students in “poor” districts the right to select a state-accredited private/religious school funded by the state with 80 percent of the current state aid provided and this will improve educational quality through competition, while providing poor districts with even more money per student while at the same time saving taxpayers money. All the property taxes in poor districts can then go to the kids remaining in public schools, resulting in a higher amount per child, and the 20 percent saved in state funding can be split between taxpayers and public schools in the poor district, increasing their funding per student even more. Students win and taxpayers win.
But public school teachers unions want to protect their educational monopoly and not allow parental choice, and they control Democrats, falsely labeled as the “party of the poor.” No, Democrats are the party of the unions, and poor parents deserve the right to choose any state-approved school for their kids, where they also will get taught the moral values they want.
Frank J. Russo Jr.,
Editor’s note: The writer is president of the American Family Association of New York, a group concerned about the effects of modern culture on families.