Rosenthal: Budgets should focus on childrens’ needs

Published 10:05 am Friday, June 2, 2017

As the school year ends for students and teachers, the next year begins on July 1 for those working in state and federal education offices as well as those in local education offices.

All program reports are due June 30 and the budget is closed that same date for end of year balances.

As one who worked with most of the federal and state funds, I always closed and at the same time set up the budget for next year for each program.

The budgets for each school were determined, and the whole month of July was used for this purpose.

What made me think of this was the Washington Post and later the Herald-Leader editorials on the Federal Education budget that is being proposed by Betsy DeVoss, the head of the education department in Washington, DC.

Here are some of the things that are going to change, which goes along with the charter school legislation I have written about many times.

There will be significant cuts in the federal work/study program that allows those who work to also be able to get an education while doing so. This program would be cut by half.

The second, and I see as the most important to our state, is ending loan forgiveness for graduates who take public service jobs such as rural physicians and public defenders.

Additionally, after school programs that service poor children, gifted education, art education, career and technical education, mental health services, advance placement, math and science programs and even Special Olympics programs would be weakened by a total of $10.6 billion.

Finally, it would hurt many college students as the federal government would no longer pay the interest on loans for those students enrolled in school. Students are now facing higher tuition rates,and thus higher loans, and must spend the first 10 years after graduation paying off their loans.

Where is this money going that will be taken from these areas? Federal funding for charter schools would increase by 50 percent; $250 million dollars would be spent to promote vouchers which puts public tax dollars into private and religious schools; $1 billion would be used to encourage public schools adopt pro-choice policies.

This is what Betsy DeVos has as her priorities and she wants to fulfill her agenda.

What she does not have is any background or educational expertise in public education. Coming from a wealthy family, she only attended private schools.

What will these cuts mean to Kentucky?

Those rural areas who need doctors and lawyers will not be able to have a pool coming to their area.

College students will not be able to pay back their loans with interest compounding each year they are in school.

Finally, public schools will lose funding to charter schools and vouchers.

The question to keep in mind when developing a budget is, ”How will this budget benefit children?”

If there is no answer, then it is an adult-centered budget.

This is what we can expect for the 2017-18 federal education budget.

Budgets that move toward policies not people is not good for students.

Pat Rosenthal is a former teacher and administrator for Clark County Public Schools.