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Comments about ‘Letters: Funding for class-size reduction’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 29 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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The Hammer
lehi, utah

Decreased school size. school district size and class size would recruit better teachers, create a better environment for kids especially in inner cities, and increase positive parental involvement in the students academics. Great letter.

Sal
Provo, UT

Fund smaller classes only as you cut administrative fat. Also, let's not punish parents for having large families. Large families should be encouraged at a time when there are not enough children produced to sustain Social Security benefits.

trekker
Salt Lake, UT

I agree schools need more money at the teacher level not in admin. However i would rather see the money come from a source other then eliminating the child tax deduction as this senator is proposing.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Open the books. Open the books. Open the books.

Utah spends a great deal of money on education. Where is that money going? Open the books. Show us where every dollar is being spent. Why would administrators be paid more than teachers? Aren't teachers the "front line"? Why, then, have an insentive to get teachers out of the classroom?

Show us exactly why each administrator has a job. If teachers have 40+ students in each class, why not double the workload on each administrator?

Teachers make more money than most of the taxpayers who pay their salaries. That may come as a major shock to some teachers who think that they are underpaid. The median household income in the United States is $63,000. Utah's is $56,000. In a two income family, that comes to $28,000 per wage earner or $14.00 per hour. Family size in the US is 3.00, with Utah having 3.56 people average per household.

Open the books. Let those who pay the taxes see where their tax dollars are being spent.

Steve Cottrell
Centerville, UT

Please note that the administrative costs for Utah public education are much smaller (about 2/3) of the administrative costs for education systems around the country.

Compare public education administrative costs to your own employment situation. Where else does one person have supervision responsibility for about 50 teachers, about 40 school foods, secretarial staff, and custodial personnel, and 500 teen agers? This is the situation as present today in large Wasatch front high schools of 2500 students. This assumes that the principal shares the l

isrred
South Jordan, UT

"Also, let's not punish parents for having large families."

Large families are the ones causing the strain on the system. It is not punishing them to ask them to pay more of their fair share for services they are using. Republicans always say they want a flatter, more fair tax with fewer deductions that are give aways to special groups--well this proposal does exactly that and Utah Republicans hate it, even though it's their own policy goal.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Great letter!

There is a correlation between class size and student achievement. The smaller the class size the higher the achievement will be. There is, however, a strong relationship between per pupil funding, class size, and student achievement. The higher the funding, the lower the class size is, will increase the achievement.

Which doesn't bode well for Utah, where per pupil funding is dead last, class sizes are highest among the nation, and student achievement is now slipping.

There are those on AM radio that like to deny this, and insist that funding doesn't mean better results. Then again, there are those who deny evolution, global warming, and believe that Noah put dinosaurs on his ark. Lets stick to being smart and use common sense here and ignore the loud static that is being played on AM radio.

We need to fix education. Better funding (and yes, higher taxes) needs to happen.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

@ Sal

"Fund smaller classes only as you cut administrative fat."

Have you even attempted to calculate the cost of this? Lets assume that you got rid of an entire school district's leadership. With more than 70 schools in many school districts in Utah, you wouldn't even be able to add one teacher to every single with the "savings" you'd gain by cutting administration.

Even if you cut one administrator from each school you'd only be able to add maybe 2 teachers per school. That makes absolutely NO difference in class sizes.

@ Trekker

Gotcha. In other words, do what our legislature has done for decades: Refuse to address the problem and keep kicking the can down the road.

"Also, let's not punish parents for having large families."

It's called ACCOUNTABILITY, something that many Utah families refuse to accept. If you want to have a large family, that's great! But be accountable for your decisions and not force me to subsidize your decisions.

Besides, it's all in the way you look at it. Does the Lord "punish" us when he asks us to contribute 10 percent? Nope, it's accountability in order to keep his church running.

open minded
Lehi, UT

Schools are under-funded in Utah. Large families are a huge part of the problem- the amount a family pays in property taxes and bonds in no way covers the cost of a large family being educated. It's just a form of socialism Utah is willing to accept. I pay for your kids to go to school. I have no problem doing this if the money is being used to create a good education system- but we don't give schools enough money to even come close to having what it takes to have a good education system here. Schools do need more money, I'm willing to help pay for other peopele kids but we shuold all be paying more.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

@Mike Richards,
The books are open. Every single dollar spent by public education is public money, which by law is accounted for openly. All you have to do is click, my friend.
This is in high contrast to private schools, which often hide their expenses. Caveat anyone who pays money into these private chain schools.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

In the bizarre world of Utah, the more children you have, the less you pay to educate them. I guess taking responsibility and paying your way doesn't apply to Utah's big families.

trekker
Salt Lake, UT

The Real Maverick, Why don't we impose impact fees for new subdivision that is built. It is not just Utahns having large families, we have a lot of people moving into the state due to they want a better life here. People on this board claim Admin costs are lower here, still one has to ask why a few years ago Jordan Districts Superintendent at the time was paid more than the Governor? When that district split by nearly 40% should the admin been cut by that much? you would think but instead they kept them all on board even with a smaller district and now wonder why they have no money.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I know you're not supposed to ask this but... why don't we ask the teachers to take less pay to teach less children?

If each teacher is going to be teaching less children... doesn't that make sense?

Usually you ask for more money when you also promise to do MORE work (in this case that would be teaching MORE students, not less). For example... if I were an employee making widgets, I would ask my boss for a raise when I was able to show him my PRODUCTIVITY had increased and I was making more widgets than I used to (or more widgets than other employees make). Making the case that my increased productivity would justify him paying me more.

It's hard to ask the boss to pay you more for making LESS widgets (or teaching LESS students).

I mean if I told my boss he needed to hire more people so I could do less work... how would that work out?

Now before you go there... I know teaching students is not the same as making widgets. I'm talking about the general concept.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

I have no problem with new monies to reduce class size – as long as that is where the new money goes and it is not absorbed by some administrative overhead boondoggle.

Mike Richards,
I generally agree with what you say, but dividing Utah’s median household income by 2 to get to an average per wage earner is not appropriate. There are many single-income households that your formula does not account for.

isrred, Maverick
So a wealthy, single person should pay less in taxes than a family with 5 kids? Yep, THAT’s progressive!

Maverick,
You speak of static, then throw out you own. Tell me, is 43% a majority yet?

Concerning administrative costs – maybe we don’t need fewer people in administration, but why should the superintendent make more than the governor? Maybe we are paying the administrators more than we should??

ugottabkidn
Sandy, UT

I know, let's quibble more as we watch our education system continue to sink toward 3rd world levels. Every well educated child in America can pay back multiple times the money spent on them if we will just quit speaking out of both sides of our mouths. Heaven help us if a teacher earns a few dollars more than you each year. It's time to invest in America again and I am talking about the big picture not the typical U.S. business model of fiscal quarter to fiscal quarter. You can't cut down all the 'trees' and then wonder why in 20 years there is no shade.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

Sal, since when is paying for what you consume a "punishment?" I know that many Utahn's claim to be capitalist, meaning they pay for the goods and services they consume, but for some reason they cling desperately to the socialist tax formulas as evident in the child tax credits and deductions. There is no difference between a crack addict mom having more children to get more in food stamps and state assistance and those who have more children to get child tax credits. The fact remains that someone needs to pay to educate those kids and under the current "redistribution" tax formulas, those who have the most children are the very ones paying the very least into the treasury. This has got to stop. People need to start taking responsibility for their actions and that means the number of children they choose to have.

2 bit
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Kings Court,
Who would have a child just so they could get the child tax credits???

I don't have any young children, so I don't know what the child tax credit is, but it's like $600 a year isn't it? Who would have a child just to get $600? That doesn't even cover the birth, much less cloth and feed them for the year and leave you a little on the side!

Now the crack addict you compared them to, or somebody who can get on public assistance IF they have a child... now THATs a different story. They don't just get a tiny tax credit. They can get food stamps, medicare, unemployment, other welfare benefits, even SS in some cases, thousands of dollars each month (vs few hundred $ credit on what you pay in taxes at the end of the year).

Now you can see how apples-to-airplanes your caparison really is.

I don't know ANYBODY in their right mind that would have a child just to get the child tax credit.

RedShirtMIT
Cambridge, MA

To "The Real Maverick" part of the problem lies at the school level with the number of adiministrators, and non-teaching staff, but you also have to consider the District level administrators and non-teaching jobs.

For example, at the elementary school that I went to, when I was there it had 3 teachers per grade 1 to 6, and 2 Kindergarten teachers, 1 librarian, 1 special needs teacher, a janitor, and 2 or 3 lunch ladies. That same school still has about the same number of students, possibly less, and they have added a computer specialist, multiple paid teacher assistants, a second secretary, and councilors to the staff. If a school has not grown in the past 40 years or more, why do they need a larger staff? What has changed that now requires more people to teach the same number of kids virtually the same things?

That is where you the waste has gone. Assuming that Utah is like the rest of the nation, we are only getting 60% of school funding to the classroom. The rest is sucked up in administration.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

@ Mike Richards

If pay is so great why are people not leaving their jobs to go be a teacher? Why did I choose not to have any part of that profession in college or any of my colleagues in the business school who were the top of the class in the accounting dept.?

Teacher pay is poor. Very poor. Nobody wants to be a teacher becuase the pay is bad and the environment to teach in is worse. The only reason why on paper it looks like they make more is because of health benefits which have inflated their actuall wages by 18% each year.

RedShirtMIT
Cambridge, MA

To "The Hammer" if the pay is so bad why do they have anywhere from 10 to 600 applicants for each teaching job that opens up? See "K-5 teacher overload: Too many trained, not enough jobs" in USA Today.

The evidence shows that there are many people who want to be teachers, so many that districts have to reject most applicants.

How can it be that "Nobody wants to be a teacher becuase the pay is bad and the environment to teach in is worse" when some states have 600 applicants for each teaching position that opens up?

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