I feel we need to reduce the number of school districts in our state; we have over 200 districts with less than 500 students. Some opponents will say that a best-case scenario would only save 50 million dollars. I say that’s a great start! Sure, not all schools with less than 500 would be able to be consolidated because of the distance from one another, but many CAN and SHOULD. I want to propose that the state gives the money allotted per student, be instead given to all 77 counties and let the county decide how many school district they need. If the county wants to raise their property tax or sales tax to further fund education, they can do so.I want to take this same approach with many of the state agencies within the budget. There is a duplication of efforts that can be consolidated and should be. This way we can pay teachers more and not have to continue to raise taxes at the state level. If we can find just a 1% savings to taxpayers, it would equal 200+ million dollars, to be spent toward education.
I also would like to propose a bill that would allow teachers, police officers, firefighters and other civil servants (public facing and who are under a determined minimum salary) of our community to be state income tax exempt. This benefit would minimally affect our state income but would provide an 8-10% take home increase for these individuals.