My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


More Thoughts On The GOP Rift

I was giving a little more thought tonight to the supposed rift in the Colorado Republican Party, as I wrote about last night. And another thought occurred to me:

The Party needs more than leadership and humility--it needs an idea. And as Ken Mehlmann talked about on the Hugh Hewitt Show a couple days ago, that idea needs to be a reformist idea. Hard to do, given that the GOP, current weakness aside, has basically dominated state politics for the last decade.

So here's my idea.

There is one issue that both sides want to claim as their own, and which noone has yet really gotten a hold of. Republicans want to reform it and put it out more to local control, Dems want to guarantee its funding and reform accountability expectations. Of course, the issue is education, and the funding for this is always a central debate in the state house.

Currently, schools are funded through a combination of many things, but mostly property taxes and state money. Unfortunately, this leads to a nearly perpetual state of funding problems for the schools--witness St.Vrain a couple years ago, JeffCO still working on cutting budget even though it passed a huge mill levy increase 14 months ago, and several other districts are looking at mill increases on an annual basis.

A couple years ago I had an opportunity to ask State Treasurer Mike Coffman a question about school funding--before he went to fight in Iraq--and he conceded that it was likely that we would have to re-examine how we fund schools in the future.

I think the future is now.

Somebody who's very smart about things like this ought to take a look at different models for funding the public school system, and start developing a new way to fund Colorado schools.

Let's face it--the biggest impediment to school choice (even charter schools, which ARE public schools) is the drain of resources out of the public system. At least, that's what the opponents say. And as long as property taxes--thus, property values--are a part of the equation, there will always be wild fluctuations and discrepancies in how different schools get funded.

So somebody ought to look at how we do this and propose a better way. That is the sort of radical change which could control the agenda and push the GOP back to its status as the majority party in the state. And, on top of that, it would be good policy, which always makes good politics.

And it doesn't have to be some far-right proposal which would exacerbate the internal squabbles of the party. Just something smart would do very nicely.

Sadly, I don't have time or expertise to come up with what that would be at this time. It would be fun to be part of that study group, however.

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