Ask questions, seek answers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2003

Pike County won’t escape the debate over education funding.

In fact, the issue will rise to the surface on Monday, when the Pike County Commission hosts a special work session to open a dialog over allocation of the 1-cent sales tax.

The tax currently goes entirely to fund education in the county. But county commissioners would like to take a portion of that tax - up to 25 percent - for funding county projects.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

And that request will open some serious debate about both the needs of the county and the merits of allocating sales tax to the county commission.

The county is struggling financially. For more than two years, commissioners have complained about a lack of funding. For the past two years, commissioners have eliminated funding for various agencies and organizations throughout the county. Constant struggles with waste management contracts and an inability to collect fees from residents continue to plague the commissioners.

But commissioners will be hard-pressed to convince the public that they are not &uot;robbing from Peter to pay Paul,&uot; as the old saying goes.

Education’s funding woes are as evident as the county commissions’ woes. From a state level to the local level, education is struggling under the looming threat of proration. If revenue won’t stretch to meet all the needs, activities and programs must be cut. Services must be reduced. Education - in turn the students and the state - will suffer.

And taxpayers, who ultimately must approve any reallocation of the sales tax, likely will be asked to make a difficult choice.

It’s a debate and a discussion that we need to have as a county. As taxpayers, we need to be engaged and involved. We must ask questions; we must seek answers; and we must reach decisions that we agree are in the best interest of our students, our communities and our future.