What could be
Try to imagine a Vermont:
In which a Democratic governor and a state Legislature with overwhelming Democratic majorities actually encourage local school boards and voters to provide our kids with excellent public schools, our most important infrastructure.
In which our state’s leaders understand the importance of excellent public schools in preparing our kids for productive and satisfying lives. And understand that an investment in public school education now would pay enormous dividends in the years ahead by instilling confidence and developing competence in our children as they face a challenging future. And understand the prohibitive cost to society when our schools fail.
In which these leaders understand that we need a state funding formula for education that places a greater reliance upon income tax revenues in order to reduce the crushing burden of property taxes. A formula that is designed to support communities in their quest for better schools rather than one that compels citizens to vote against school budgets by greatly exaggerating the small budget increases that are proposed by their school boards.
In which these leaders are aware of the threat that income and wealth inequality pose to the future of our state and nation and are unafraid to use higher marginal income tax rates, if necessary, in order to encourage an admirable instinct on the part of our communities to improve our schools.
Those are the values that I would imagine a Democratic governor and state Legislature with overwhelming Democratic majorities would bring to this school funding crisis. And the actions that they would take on behalf of our kids.
Hard to imagine, but we must try.
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