In a recent open meeting of the Board of Carroll County Commissioners, Commissioners, Richard Rothschild suggested thinking outside the box in an effort to reach a compromise in funding education.
At a commissioner-hosted education forum Monday night, approximately 700 people came out to weigh in on the topic of education funding in Carroll County.
Commissioners Richard Rothschild and Robin Frazier presented their position that education funding should not increase when student enrollment is declining. The two have advocated for funding Carroll County Public Schools at Maintenance of Effort (MOE), the minimum allowed by state law, in FY14.
In a Tuesday night board of commissioners meeting following Monday's education forum, Rothschild offered what he called creative ideas to help address the issue of funding education.
"In the course of discussion over the [education] budget this year and last year, people said that they don't mind paying more taxes," Rothschild said.
Rothschild was referring to individuals who said at Monday night's forum, and in other public meetings, that they would rather the county fund education than offer a tax cut in FY14.
Rothschild's first "out of the box" idea includes giving citizens the opportunity to waive a county tax cut or rebate. The Board of Commissioners has mentioned both a property tax decrease and a tax rebate as possible options for FY14.
"Why not create a tax break where citizens have the option of waiving it and assigning it to be earmarked 100 percent for education," Rothschild said.
According to Rothschild, approximately 50 percent of every dollar taxed by the county goes to education. If the tax waiver is offered and those waived tax dollars are earmarked for education, then 100 percent of the dollar goes to education Rothschild said.
"Even if only 50 percent of the people did that it would result in just as many dollars to education," Rothschild said.
Rothschild's second idea involves setting up a "fiscal sponsorship" for public education whereby county government would set up a fund and residents and businesses could contribute dollars that would be matched by the county.
Rothschild added a second, "smaller component" to this idea that included setting up a nonprofit to assist families whose children do not attend public schools.
"There would be a small amount of grant money available for the nonprofit to help out parents who have put kids in private, parochial or homeschool," Rothschild said.
Rothschild said he is looking for compromise to meet the demands of those who want education funded at a certain level as well as those who want taxes lowered.
"These two things [ideas] would be creative," Rothschild said. "They might not solve the problem but it puts us closer to having a prinicpal compromise among the Board of Commissioners and closer to having the solution that fulfills some of the request of the public school system."
There was no discussion of the ideas after Rothschild's brief presentation.
What do you think? Are these ideas worth consideration? Tell us in comments.
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