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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Free means free

A lot of people are asking this question: Should state pay for students' textbooks? Some say no, for this reason:

Some lawmakers expressed concern about finding enough money to provide free textbooks and still afford state-funded full-day kindergarten.

“As a former school board member, I am used to unfunded mandates and having to borrow money for things that the state has set,” said Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte. “I believe we need to focus first on the free- and reduced-lunch kids. Right now, the state isn't even covering 100 percent of that.”

I say yes. Schools can already offer full-day kindergarten if they choose. There is conflicting research on its value, so the local option seems like a decent idea. The state constitution, however, requires the state to provide students a free education. As long as parents have to pay for books, that constitutional requirement isn't being met.

Posted in: Our town


Kevin Knuth
Mon, 01/15/2007 - 8:47am

Leo, as you know I am a BIG proponent of open government. I think it is vital to insure that all governmental process are as open and honest as possible.

In this case, however, I agree with you.

And it is really no different than the "public" swearing in that took place for other elected officials a few weeks ago. Even though that event was open to the public, the public was not really "invited".

Steve Towsley
Mon, 01/15/2007 - 9:31am

I agree this business was harmless and generous on the part of those who approved the variation, and I'm not arguing the point.

But I have no trouble imagining how some event as benign as this could be pointed up as precedent in future by someone far less savory who might need an excuse to justify far less acceptable closed-door swearings-in.

Trouble is, as much as we'd like to, we can't usually make policy for the best of us; we have to make it with an eye toward potential misuse by the worst of us.

Still, I hope they enjoyed the ceremony and got some nice photos for the family albums, this time around.