Shorter day concerning
Our first thought about Fairmont Area Schools reducing the school day by any amount of time is one of concern. The school board voted this week to cut 15 minutes from the school day at both the junior/senior high and elementary.
That said, the change is being made to give teachers more professional development time, five days per week, either before or after school. If that makes them more effective, the shorter school day will not matter. We hope, however, this is closely watched. It's shortchanging the students we're worried about.
Some more freebies?
On the heels of serving free summer lunches, regardless of need, at Fairmont Elementary, the school district is adding free breakfasts in every elementary classroom this fall. As with the free summer lunches, this too is disturbing.
The argument is that some students are not getting the nutritional start they need to do well in the classroom. So the breakfast program will provide it. But with each step the government takes to be mommy or daddy, it is one less responsibility that real parents will fulfil. Our society is coming to accept the notion that parents "can't" instead of admonishing them that they should.
Looking for savings?
Well, Martin County commissioners this week opted to approve a $10 per vehicle?"wheelage" tax. The fee will be collected when people register their vehicles. The estimated $200,000 collected annually will go into county road repairs, which is not the worst thing to fund.
Not everyone is happy about this new tax. It comes on top of new federal, state and local taxes. We hope county commissioners remember this as they begin work on their 2014 budget in coming months. Maybe they could look for some cuts to help out the people paying the bills?
Tax reform is a must
A U.S. senator and congressman - from opposite political parties, no less - visited Minnesota this week to jointly pitch federal tax reform. We support their effort.
The goal of tax reform is to lower everyone's tax rate, squeezing out savings by reducing or eliminating special interest deductions that have no place in a fair tax code. Simpler, easy-to-understand tax laws would encourage more economic activity and make the United States more competitive internationally.
Tax reform is overdue. It's time to act.