The Richmond Virginian
Published Every Morning in the Year By The Richmond Virginian Co. (Incorporated). Solon B. Woodfin, General Manager, Virginian Building, Seventh and Franklin Streets, Richmond, Virginia.
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Entered as second-class matter, January 23, 1910, at the Postoffice of Richmond, Va., under act of March 3, 1879.
Monday, February 14, 1916.
Needs of Public Schools.
Amid the multiplicity of issues which confront and sometimes divide sentiment in the Legislature there is one cause upon which all factions can unite. Adequate support of the public schools is not a question of party or creed, but it is a test of statesmanship in a democracy.
In 1870 the State school tax rate was ten cents on $100; and, although the enrollment has increased from 131,088 in 1871 to about 470,000 in 1915, the State rate is still ten cents. The State superintendent of education is authority for the statement that "'the public school system has increased its enrollment as much in the past three years as during the proceeding nineteen years." Yet the apportionment of the State school fund in 1908-1909 was on the basis of $2.46 per capita of school population. The rate per capita this year is $2.47, an increase of one cent per capita in seven years.
The Legislature has attempted to provide for this remarkable growth by means of special appropriations in recent years, but the development of the schools has been out of all proportion to increase in appropriations.
In the face of a threatened deficit this Legislature must guarantee adequate support for the free schools and this can best be done by an increase from ten to twenty cents in the State school tax rate. Failure to make this provision will result in the shortening of school terms and all growth will be hampered.
The actual cost of this increase in levy to the citizen taxpayers of Richmond will be about $130,000; by apportionment from the State on a per capita basis, Richmond will receive $40,000, and then would lose $90,000 instead of $185,000 as was stated in the Times-Dispatch.
But Richmond draws its citizens from all parts of Virginia and the expenditure of this money in the schools of the State will be a real investment.
Richmond will be repaid in terms of a higher type of citizenship among the home-seekers from the country districts. Broad public policy demands the undivided support of this measure.