To the editors:
[Re: "The Education Amendment," October 23]
Maybe, from the academic sterility of the Heartland Institute, there is a question whether Chicago schools need more money. People who actually work with local schools, however, see unmet needs every day.
North-side elementary schools are overcrowded and schools citywide are behind on repairs. Schools beg private funders for a few hundred dollars to buy paperback books for the Reading Is Fundamental program. Schools lack even sufficient quantities of ditto and photocopy paper--so much so that the Teachers' Store stocks it for teachers who buy their own.
Opponents of the constitutional amendment have suddenly discovered that Pershing Road is wasting money. So they are; but ending that waste would not free up enough money to provide quality education in every local school. That's why virtually every organization and leader who fought to cut the fat from board headquarters supports the amendment.
The people who work to improve the schools overwhelmingly supported the amendment. The opponents, for the most part, have no program to improve the public schools, and no record for helping the schools. They wait until there is a proposal, see that it might cost them money, and then say: "This isn't the way; there is another way."
Mike Radzilowsky Parent Representative Hayt LSC
Bryan Miller replies:
The problem is not one of whether the Chicago schools have enough money; according to the standards established by the state task force on education, they have well over the minimum $4,000 needed per pupil. The problem is one of distribution. Chicago's public-school headquarters is a vast rat hole for funds; most of the bucks go to bureaucratic waste, not for needed items. Until that hole is stoppered, there is absolutely no point in throwing more money at Pershing Road.