Whenever public education is in flux, I feel the need to speak about vouchers.

Permit me some hypotheticals. Imagine I don’t use the public rec center and instead ask for my share of the recreation budget to join a health club. Or, perhaps I don’t use the library so I would like my share of the library budget to choose my own books. Or, I won’t be using the new I-25 Crystal Valley Park Parkway exit so please send me my share of that cost.

These hypotheticals are nonsense, of course. Why? Because tax money is gathered to provide a service to the community as a whole. There is no individual share of the recreation, library, transportation or any other budget.

Public education is no different. My education tax dollars do not directly pay for my child’s education. If that were true, a family without children in the school system would pay no education tax, and a family with four schoolchildren would pay four times more. The notion of an individual’s “share” of the education budget is no different than my other hypotheticals. The concept is contradictory.

Public services like education exist to benefit the entire community, and it is each taxpayer’s choice whether to use them or not, as it always has been. Any money taken away from public education hurts all of our kids. In a society where so many seem to be concerned about people receiving government handouts, I find it ironic that some of those same people want to put their hands out.

Use public education or don’t, but choosing not to does not entitle you to a government handout.

David Dole

Castle Rock