Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Gov. Pawlenty, would you like to buy our school supplies?
Dear Governor Pawlenty and your GOP friends,
Please quit stating that you've balanced any kind of Minnesota state budget without raising taxes. This is a complete lie and you know it. All you have done is shifted the cost of education and public services to the small business people and the homeowners. On top of that, you've committed the unthinkable by tossing hundreds of folks off state-funded health care. What you've done is placed any spending "cuts" on the backs of the lower middle class and the poor, whether they be your supporters or not. Our property taxes have steadily climbed just to keep our schools from completely hemorrhaging. We have ratios of 35:1 in some classrooms, even with levy after levy.
Strangely however, you raised taxes with lightning speed on voters in Hennepin County when the Twins franchise wanted a new baseball stadium. So this "no taxes" pledge seems quite flexible and arbitrary.
Here is one shining example of increased cost to the little guy: our school supply lists. Please take this under consideration. And the list below doesn't cover our two High School students!
For a 4th grade student, the required supplies are:
4 spiral notebooks
1 large eraser
3 pocket folders
1 composition notebook
1 three-ring binder
Clean gym sneakers (nope, the sneakers they wear everyday won't cut it)
Scissors (you read that right - the school no longer supplies scissors)
Calculator (the kids in our school must all have the same multi-function calculator at $15 apiece)
Facial tissues (again, you read correctly!! Schools can no longer afford kleenex! The families must supply the classrooms)
1 box of colored pencils
8 black felt tip pens (these are for the teachers! The school no longer supplies our teachers with adequate office supplies)
Post-it notes (again, for the teachers)
4 glue sticks (these last about 4 months, then we buy more)
4 Odorless dry erase markers
A large supply box
Antibacterial wipes (nope, the school doesn't supply these)
Hand sanitizer (to share with the classroom)
Also, our teachers are buying quite of bit of their supplies from their own pockets!! Our PTO encourages families to review a Teacher Holiday Wish List rather than the usual holiday gifts for instructors. These wishes include reams of construction paper, glue, tape, pens, gifts cards, books, and more kleenex. Why should the taxpaying families have to provide these basics?
So stop working only for the advancement of your party, and start working for the people of Minnesota. The majority of us have no clout and no power, but you have sworn to serve us and need I remind you that we pay your salary and provide you a house? Get some real work done.
ADDENDUM: I've been thinking about this all day. I propose we ask our legislators to provide their own health care coverage, pens, kleenex, copy paper, tape, etc. and that they be fed EXACTLY what most school kids are receiving in their hot lunch program. Also, that their computer equipment only be upgraded as often as the poorest school in their district.