4-25-16 – Pre-Property Tax Increase Propaganda….

by Rob Roper

A couple weeks ago we wrote about a VT Digger article highlighting the fact that a $33 million federal grant that is allowing eight supervisory unions in Vermont to implement full day, public school preschool programs for four year olds is set to run out of money in three years. The machine is already laying the groundwork to make sure when that money fountain goes away the Vermont property taxpayer will get saddled with the bill going forward.

This week the propaganda war continued with two more Digger articles: Early Education Survey Highlights Public Private Differences, and Education Board Asked to Offer Fix for Concerns About Pre-K Law.

The first article basically trashes privately run childcare facilities, citing statistics from a poorly participated in survey such as,

Nearly 80 percent of Vermont’s public school survey respondents hold higher degrees, with 23 percent having a bachelor’s degree in early childhood or a related field and 45 percent holding a master’s in the subject.

In contrast, the majority of family providers have a high school degree or a GED, while 23 percent of respondents said they have some college.

Who wants to send their kids to a childcare center run by poor, poorly educated trash? Forget the fact that before Vermont kids had widespread access to these “high quality,” public-school-run pre-k programs and small, home based childcare was the norm, kids actually scored better on benchmark tests when they reached the fourth grade than they do now.

The second article is perhaps even more alarming. The Speaker of the House, Shap Smith (D-Morristown), has asked the State Board of Education to investigate and recommend fixes to the Vermont’ universal pre-k law, which mandates all school districts make ten hour of “high quality” preschool available to all three and four year olds who wish to access it. According to the article:

The main concerns are that some working and impoverished families can’t take advantage of the vouchers the state provides for 10 hours a week of pre-kindergarten for every child, because they can’t pay for the rest of the week.

Families may also lack transportation to get their children to a center or pick them up after the voucher hours and move them to day care for the rest of the workday.

Yup. Ten hours a week of property taxpayer funded pre-k is not enough. We need forty hours a week of property taxpayer funded pre-k to make it “fair.”

To recap what we’re being fed here… privately run childcare providers stink and parents really should be looking to better paid, better qualified public school systems to proved pre-k services. Ten hours of “free” preschool isn’t fair for poor parents because the rich can afford to pay for more than that if they want or need to. And, these full-day, public school, pre-k programs are already being tried out in a handful of supervisory unions and, hey, let’s get real, you’re not going to take these programs away from anybody. That means, the only option is to expand the programs for everybody! Because equity.

So, let’s do the back of the napkin math here. The federal grant is $33 million over four years and is funding programs in 8 supervisory unions. That’s about $1 million per supervisory union per year. There are currently 63 supervisory unions in Vermont. And then, of course, you can double the price when they inevitably add three year olds into the mix.

The legislative session will end in a couple of weeks and your representatives will come home to hit the campaign trail, no doubt spewing rhetoric about how hard they are working to keep down your property taxes. In a family friendly word, baloney.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

H. Brooke Paige April 25, 2016 at 11:41 pm

Come on Rob, they’re just payin’ their dues to their VT-NEA masters – give ‘um a break ! On the other hand, we could just vote ‘um all out and with new residents under the Golden Bubble who wouldn’t be beholding to the teacher’s (or administrator’s) unions maybe we could stop this foolishness before it gets out of control !


jim bulmer April 30, 2016 at 12:35 am

Brooke, Right on!!!! For the umpteenth time, the value of pre-K lasts all of TWO years at best. The kids then are NO further ahead of their piers!!!! And the Dems with the coertion of the NEA want to continue this marginal program at OUR expense????? Wake up Vermonters, throw these clowns out in Novenber!!!!!


Jan Clarke April 30, 2016 at 5:14 pm

It seems that the all-powerful teachers’ union has control of this state. They are forever weasling in their ideas of adding more students onto the dwindling enrollment by starting the children at a younger age. Very few VT taxpayers are complaining, as 2/3 of the state gets a property tax rebate, (some rebates are very large), and here, in the northeast kingdom, the property tax rebate is an even larger percentage of taxpayers, because of the high rate of poverty. But, for those of us that have to pay the full amount of property taxes, and especially owning businesses (or commercial property), where the rate is even higher, there is NO relief. And we have to make up the difference for high percentage of residents that receive the rebates. One more reason why a minority of folks are fed up with today’s government.


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