August 11, 2009

Asserting Local Control in School Districts

Justin Katz

Although it's a travesty that circumstances have come to this, the school committee in North Smithfield is absolutely correct to do what it believes to be necessary for the community that it serves despite instructions from micromanaging bureaucrats on high:

The School Committee unanimously approved a plan to restore middle school and junior varsity sports Monday night by requiring students to pay to participate in the programs. ...

The vote flies in the face of a letter from Commissioner of Education Deborah A. Gist, who told the committee that charging students to participate in sports is against state law. Gist noted in the letter that as far back as the 1800s, the state has held firm to the position that fees should not be charged for educational activities. She also pointed to legislation passed this session by the General Assembly that allows districts to accept donations earmarked by the donor for specific purposes as a way to plug waning budgets.

What better example of the "logic" of government operation could there be than the demand that families should not be required to pay extra for something that otherwise would not be available? The illogic can't be missed, and the next step is for parents and taxpayers alike to begin querying where the money that they're already paying in state and local taxes is actually going.