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Letter to the Editor

Thursday, October 18, 2012

To the Editor:

Not all taxes are evil. I'm gonna lose about 80 percent of anybody reading this issue of the Tribune with that statement alone, but facts are facts. Reading the article "FSCC board hears opposing tax viewpoints" in Tuesday's Tribune, I was incredibly pleased to see that a fellow Bourbon County resident, particularly someone with a lot more on the county tax rolls than I have, had the courage to attend the most recent FSCC board meeting and make known her disagreement with the board's recent decision to keep their mill levy flat this year.

I've been hoping somebody would attend attend a USD 234 board meeting and express similar sentiments ever since the news of the county's valuation error broke.

The fact is that resource-wise our local school districts are already stretched about as tight as they can be right now, and in some cases well beyond that. While people are rightfully caught up in a discussion about the federal government's waste, they should not be quick to paint local taxing entities with the same brush. I would encourage anyone who feels that the local schools are spending extravagantly to sit down with one or more board members and go over their budgets,which are public record.

I guarantee someone from any of the local school boards would be glad to do so.

The economy has been slow to recover (as someone who spent most of 2011 unemployed for the first time in my life, believe me I know), but it is recovering.With the recent budget passed in Topeka,funding from the state level is going to be even more reduced in the years ahead than it is today.

At some point we've got to make a choice -- are our local schools worth having? If they are, then they are worth giving the resources they need to educate effectively. The days of making it anywhere on just a high school diploma are over, and for the children and teens of Bourbon County to succeed in this new economy and this new status quo, they are going to need the best education we can give them.

For that to happen, we need more taxpayers like Jamie Armstrong and more board members willing to make the hard and not always popular choices to increase the mill levy if it truly needs to be increased.

I know "taxes are evil" is a popular sentiment today, but as an IT guy I am reminded of another phrase we live by in the world of computers and technology -- "You get what you pay for." Speaking as the father of two, aren't our kids worth the investment?

Nick Graham