May 2, 2001
I remember as a child keeping pumpkins on our porch for decoration. Some were eaten and others became Jack-o-lanterns for lighting the way for "trick-or-treators." Most of them rotted. To the casual observer, everything seemed fine because we turned the pumpkins to hide any signs of the rottenness. However, no matter how we tried to hide it, they were still rotten.
Most recognize that there are problems in our school district.
However, throwing money at the problem is nothing more than turning the pumpkin. It will make us feel good as we, to quote Jim DeMint in support of the tax increase, "step outside our party roles and figure out how to help the children." I can only take that to mean we can only show how much we care with our pocket books.
Amazingly, some of those pumpkins stayed looking pretty good right through to the first frost, but they were still rotten. We can build new schools, hire the highest paid teachers, and have the best bureaucracy money can buy. Will that really solve the problem? Will that really show we care?
How do you solve the problem of a rotten pumpkin? You go back to the basics. Plant a seed. Cultivate a vine. Get rid of the weeds that would choke its growth. Greenville County will always have poor schools until we end the bureaucracy, focus on education and not social engineering, empower not overburden the teachers, involve the parents and have the courage to deal with the problems-not just the symptoms.
The pro-referendum forces would paint those opposed to the tax increase as more interested in money than the children. I, for one, am not opposed to a tax increase if there was a real need. I am greatly concerned about increasing funding to a mismanaged system. Such a move exacerbates the problem rather than solves it.
I will vote no. The pro-referendum crowd lives in a fairy tale. However, it will take more than money to turn this pumpkin into a carriage.