Opinion: Strong schools worth the investment

Commentary by Terry Anker

Spendthrift is one of those words, like military intelligence, that means something different than one might imagine. It does not indicate that one “spends thriftily” but, instead, that one is extravagant.  As Tax Day has finally come and gone, most of us will settle into another year of the daily travails of modern life. If we are lucky, weekly paychecks will come – and go – with very little notice. They may be scant enough, but we soldier on making ends meet as we did before.

Certainly, we support the needs of good government and our fellow humans. Yet, rarely do we dig deeper into our own monthly budgets to make others’ flow more easily. Rightly, we challenge tax increases and push for fiscal prudence when spending our hard-earned income, property and other assets. We demand thoughtful and strict management – not for our convenience or greed, but from a well-placed expectation of those elected and selected to work on our behalf.

So comes now, the new phenomena, in our home state, at least, of the school referendum.  Some demand steep increases or threaten dire consequences. A district a few short miles to the north of here is already divesting itself of buildings, teachers and programs to stay afloat. But our own local schools are working to prove value as they hope that we taxpayers consider a reinvestment in their work – and their outcomes. Carmel Clay Schools, for example, is proposing a replacement for an expiring rate without increase. They have made due with what’s in the account to build a top-rated academic program. We all benefit. Our citizenry is among the best-educated in the nation. Strong schools can ensure that we keep it that way. Supporting these referendums seems both affordable and essential. Spend with thrift, yes, but spend as necessary.