User-fee frenzy


Photo by Steven Depolo

For some districts in Ohio, stretching the school dollar is no
longer necessary. Neither are layoffs and other expense reductions. Thanks to a
neo-Marxist initiative by Governor John Kasich (meant to reallocate the
financial burden of schools to those who most benefit from them), entrepreneurial
districts now charge students for sundry perks, such as lockers and bathroom
usage, and also provide various “upgrades”—all for the right price. At Lincoln Penny
School near Toledo, for example, 90 percent of students
now store their books in coin-operated lockers; some students pay a premium
above the fifty-cent basic-access fee for an air-conditioned version; and a few
even drop $200 per month to rent walk-in lockers, each equipped with an Xbox Kinect
and shower. Access to school restrooms requires a Sacagawea
dollar; for five of the same you get a private stall. When asked why the school
is nickel-and-diming its pupils, Penny’s principal replied, “Well, let’s be frank
about this. We’re not nickel-and-diming them. We’re quarter-and-dollaring them.
Education is expensive, and someone’s got to pay for their lifestyle.” Buckeye native John
Boehner teared up
when discussing Kasich’s bold new plan: “I’m just
happy that children today will have the same shot at the American Dream
as I
had.” And Akron
industrialist David Brennan—who won the bid to manufacture and lease out
the new-fangled lockers,
first to districts and charters, and then to private schools—expressed
pride in the ambitious initiative. “My only goal in life,” he said, “is
to ensure
that every Ohio
child gets a top-notch education.”

Schools finally
stop being a total drain on the taxpayer
,” by Tommy Aught, Cleveland Wheeler Dealer, April 1, 2011.