Money doesn't always buy good education
Once again the Moraga School District wants a new tax measure on the November ballot. As a Moraga property owner, I am getting a little tired of the school district looking to me as a cash cow whenever they want more money for district programs.
Moraga has some of the highest student test scores in California, and this year revenue from the state has increased. Research has consistently shown that throwing money at schools doesn't ensure high test scores. If this were the case, students in the Washington D.C. and Oakland School Districts -- both of which spend considerably more money on students than Moraga -- should have higher test scores than Moraga students. They don't. And, there is no evidence that Moraga teachers are better trained than teachers in other school districts.
What keeps our student test scores high are well-educated, academically demanding parents and academically motivated students -- not money. In these fiscally demanding times when resources are limited, all public institutions have to learn to live within their means, and the Moraga School District should not be exempt from this requirement.
No tax money if BART shuts down
Tom Barnidge wrote that BART's labors unions and management "haven't bargained since Aug. 10" (Times column, Sept. 2). He added that, "When most of us do nothing for a month, it's called a vacation ..."
The people who really need a vacation -- a tax vacation -- are the individuals who subsidize BART through the sales tax.
In Contra Costa County, one-half of one percentage point of the sales tax goes for BART. For example, in Concord, where the sales tax is 9.0 percent, that tax would be 8.5 percent if there were no extra dollars going for BART.
On Aug. 17, I wrote the California State Board of Equalization, the body responsible for collecting sales tax, asking for an appropriate sales-tax refund for the period from July 1-5, when BART was on strike.
The board wrote me on Aug. 29, saying that "there are no provisions in the legislation authorizing the imposition of the BART district sales and use tax that allow for refunds of the tax due to suspension of BART service."
There may another BART strike in October. If there is, the BART sales-tax subsidy must end.
Richard S. Colman