The DeHavilland Blog

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The education funding crisis - one step closer

I've mentioned the anticipated funding crunch in education a few times (here and here in particular). One of the primary reasons for this pending crisis is the aging of the baby boomers. As they get older, their support for public education will wane, since they'll have fewer personal connections to the system, and they'll have less empathy for a student body that doesn't look like them demographically. The pool of available money will also begin to shrink substantially, since their retirements mean that money stops going into the system and starts going out, and their needs (in terms of social security and medicare) will eclipse those of the schools. And don't think their voices will be ignored: the elderly are historically the most powerful voting bloc in the country.

This issue was brought to mind while reading the local paper over the weekend. Charlotte (NC) saw a bond referendum fail in 2005, and there's great anticipation over a new one to be voted on in November. The Charlotte Observer polled likely voters on the issue, and early responses are encouraging: overall, 65% state that they'd vote for the bonds. But here's the dark cloud on the horizon:

Some of the stiffest opposition came from voters ages 55 to 64 (35.6% oppose) and older than 65 (44.8% oppose). The latter voters are the only polled group where a majority said they'd vote "no" (42.5% said they'd support the bond, 12.7% undecided).

This is an early peek into what's going to be a major problem down the road - or an opportunity, depending on your point of view...

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