|Back to July Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 246||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||JULY 2006|
|Regional Vocational School Districts Increase Taxes and Bureaucracy|
The U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor have endorsed School-to-Work curriculum and national skills standards initiatives that are being promoted in the United States as a result of international agreements and declarations.
State commerce departments have developed regional economic clusters that figure prominently in anticipating what skills will be needed in the workforce, and determining what corresponding changes in school curricula and training are deemed essential, including industry certification, for example.
More taxes, more bureaucracy
In Oklahoma, these are called "technology center school districts," and pursuant to Article X of the Oklahoma Constitution, "such districts are authorized to become indebted separate and apart from the indebtedness of any school district included in the technology center school district up to five percent (5%) of the net valuation of taxable property."
In Ohio, a similar entity is a "joint vocational school district," and Kansas has "area vocational-technical schools."
The Joint Technological Education District (JTED), permitted with laws enacted in 1990 in Arizona, encountered scrutiny when the Joint Legislative Audit Committee asked for a report from the Auditor General, to analyze a rural and an urban JTED.
Still vocational education
Triple dipping; overstating ADM
Besides triple funding, the JTEDs studied also overstated ADM, costing the state additional millions of dollars. Vocational courses were "being converted to JTED Satellite courses, with significant cost implications for the state." According to the Auditor General report, the JTED funding method "is less efficient than directly funding the districts' vocational education courses."
In 2002, Arizona legislators placed a moratorium on the formation of new JTEDs and limited the ability of new districts to join existing JTEDs. The sponsor of the bill to impose the moratorium, Laura Knaperek, R-Tempe, said that districts were receiving extra state funding "for keeping the students right on campus and in some cases providing the same services to the child as they had originally." The moratorium has been amended and extended.
Legislators enacted changes in the law that became effective in August 2005. Total ADM for a student enrolled in satellite courses provided by a JTED on a campus or in a facility owned by the school district in which the student is concurrently enrolled cannot exceed 1.25.
In spite of the moratorium, JTED ADM has more than doubled. In the spring of 2005, Arizona legislators lifted the moratorium only for Pima County, so voters there will be asked in November to approve a JTED, which would encompass twelve more school districts.
Raising tax rates