Thursday, August 11, 2005

Private funding for public schools

More and more these days, schools rely on private sources to pay for critical programs. The grant writing process requires school resources in the form of time and money but, increasingly, districts faced with rising costs and flat revenues are forced to go after them.

The Twin Falls Time-News ran an interesting piece yesterday featuring the efforts of Idaho districts to rustle up a little extra cash for things like reading and after-school programs.

The article doesn't touch on it, but it's important to note, that many private sources give for than charitable reasons. They have an agenda-- sometimes political, instructional, or both. And they are completely unaccountable to the public. By shortchanging our schools in this gilded age of low taxes, we are opening up public educational institutions to influences they -- and we -- don't fully understand.

It's a dangerous trend. And as the Idaho newspaper points out, where private grants used to be a source merely for funding extras, they're fast becoming necessary for basic operations.

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