Many levies pass, but politicians need to stay out of schools’ pockets in the future

Not even the assurance that residents’ property taxes wouldn’t go up if the Marshall School District’s proposed referendum passed Tuesday was enough to win over the majority of voters. The school did what it could to let residents of the school district know that not only would taxes not go up, but that those with a home taxable value of $150,000 would see a net property tax decrease of $17 per year on the school property taxes payable in 2014.

Marshall residents weren’t buying – at least not enough of them to get the referendum passed. Marshall’s was not the only request that failed Tuesday, but it was in the minority compared to the rest of the state, as 50 of 57 requests to raise taxes for operating expenses went through.

So what happened in cities like Marshall and Worthington (its referendum failed, too)? It’s tough to say, but because schools have been forced to continually rely on taxpayer money more often to update things like technology and student safety, we fear the Marshalls and Worthingtons of the world – schools that didn’t have a good night Tuesday – will become more the norm than the exception in the future, that eventually, more and more voters will stop endorsing millions of dollars of taxpayer money to help schools continue to operate and/or keep up.

We have our politicians to thank for that because of past funding shifts that took money out of the pockets of our schools. And although investments in education were made during the last session, they fell short of making up for a decade’s worth of underfunding schools. In the end, that means schools have had to continue to seek money from the taxpayers to protect their students and keep up with the Joneses in terms of technology.

We don’t pity the schools that were unsuccessful on election night, but we empathize and, like our schools, we’re concerned about our students and their education.

Our society dictates the need more stringent safety measures at all our schools. The ever-changing world of technology dictates the need for the updates in that area. These are things that need to happen as we move into the future. Yet, these things cost money.

Are you listening politicians? No more funding gimmicks. The damage done by previous shifts is still being felt.