05 April 2006

More on denying access to Recuritiers and losing money to public schools

So, yesterday I talked a little about I-86 an intiative in Seattle to ban military recruiters from schools. I talked a little bit about my own problems with college and how I feel forcing every student to attend college right out of High School is a waste. Digging around the portion of the No Child Left Behind Act that really makes this issue important to everyone, not just military members and thier dependents is the Solomon Amendment. Before the No Child Left Behind Act there was the Impact Aid law.
First off Impact Aid is designed and was written to provided payment to the local school districts which have federal property in portions of their coverage. Basically, depending on how many students actually attend the schools in the district there is a math formula that defines how much money the US Department of Defense and US Department of Education will pay out for that child's parent or parents living and working on said federal property. This was done to make up for the lost of property tax on the federal installation and those members that lived in federal housing and don't have to pay property taxes.
In other words, let us take the fictional town of Mayberry. If the Marine Corps depot that Gomer Pyle worked on was in the Mayberry School District and he had a child in the Mayberry Schools then a precentage of money from the DoD's operating budget and the Department of Education's budget would go to Mayberry specifically ear marked for that child to the Mayberry School District, let us just say about 5 dollars. If you multiply that number by let us just say 30,000 students and say that 10% are dependents of military members then we actually have about 3000 kids that the school district is receving aid for in just the K-12 grades. Those 3000 kids mulitplied by the 5 dollars a head then we have $15000 coming in to the school district just for having a warm body in a seat. Hmmmm, 15000 with having to pass a bond or raise taxes in anyway coming in every fiscal year from the federal government that is ear marked just for your school district. Who wouldn't want to lose that money?

Now the Solomon amendment is written to talk about higher education institutions as it is laid out here from the header of the amendment title,

Sec. 983. Institutions of higher education that prevent ROTC
access or military recruiting on campus: denial of
grants and contracts from Department of Defense,
Department of Education, and certain other
departments and agencies
So it seems to say that those places of higher education (which some could draw to mean college) that deny ROTC and military Recruiting access will be denied federal funds for thier schools. I am not a legal eagle by training at all. So I have to go with my understanding of the rule of law and the english language. This portion of NCLB act can be amended again and the wording of this section of Title 10 (title 10 of the US Code covers the military and defense department), to included general public schools. So think about that one just for a minute. If enough congressional critters get annoyed about the way that a PTA (or PTSA), a school board, or school administration denying access. Then they could pass another amendment within another bill (which senators and representatives do all the time). That will pull all sorts of money out of public schooling. What sort of money? Well, to start with Impact Aid can be pulled, then could be help for low-income students, various grants, basically any dollar that has been given to the school district by the federal government for education.
So back to real world loses:
Taking our Mayberry example again, if the PTA or even the school board decided they didn't like the military recruiters there and passed a resoultion to ban them from the schools as a show of support for the military using animals. If the Department of Defense decided to try and use the Solomon amendment, then that 15K that Mayberry got for having a USMC base in town would disappear, the money to provide a free breakfast and cheaper lunch meals to low-income students, money that is provided to offset migrant workers passing through the county, etc. Let us just say about 5.5million dollars all disappeared cause of this. How would this district make up the money? Well they would have to pass bonds and raise taxes. We all know how the average American hates to pay taxes and if the county is a credit risk then the number and amount of bonds they can issue will be limited. Overall, it will start a death spiral for the school district and cause of other provisions of the NCLB then that would allow more and more students to leave those schools and head to charter and private schools on vouchers.

Long of the short of it is this folks. To deny access to military recruiters to any campus whether it is public high school or any college campus. Is asking for problems in thier wallets. Espically in the K-12 arena since that is a way to cut the schools throats and create a serious education crisis in that city or district. If you hear your school district, PTA, or even city council attempting to do so, protest it. You are just hurting your children not the federal government because you don't agree with a policy of the federal government.
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