Letters to the Editor

Ripley letter: Education

The League of Women Voters of Idaho believes all children should have equal opportunity to an education that prepares them to be productive citizens.

During the past decade, the Legislature passed tax cuts totaling $1 billion. To make up for that revenue loss, Idaho school districts ran supplemental property tax levies to try to retain good teachers and manageable class sizes. Those levies have totaled $1.6 billion in property tax increases. Currently, 93 school districts have supplemental levies totaling $194.7 million. The dependence on levies places students at a disadvantage in districts that cannot pass one.

Now the Legislature is looking at limiting districts to running only one bond or levy per year. The situation is no better for university students. In 2001, the state started cutting taxes, and college tuition increased. Seventy percent of students graduate with an average of $26,000 to $36,000 in student loan debt — in Idaho it’s estimated at $5.7 billion. Tax cuts are not so great if they are at the expense of our children’s education.

Contact your legislators and ask them to think beyond their fealty to tax cuts and consider supporting a strong education system — it’s worth the investment.

Susan Ripley, president, League of Women Voters of Idaho, Moscow