With abhorrently astronomical drop out rates, a phlegmatic school board, and dangerously derelict disciplinary policies, it’s no wonder that many thinking taxpayers abandon the sinking ship that is the Charlottesville City Schools.
The City of Charlottesville hates the fact that so many potential indoctrination hostages (aka eligible government-school students) opt-out of our deficient division in favor of a quality, private education. And now, the City has found a way to punish for their civic disobedience, those tax-paying citizens who choose to have their children privately educated, all in the name of City-compelled “fairness.”
Yes, if you want to buy a Summer Pool Pass at a discounted rate, you must be a “Charlottesville City Student.” What does that mean, you ask? Well, we did, and according to a May 12, 2009 email response from Charlottesville’s Chief Policy Defender, Ric Barrick, here’s who qualifies for the “sale” price:
Students currently enrolled in the City of Charlottesville School System and homeschooled children with Charlottesville addresses.
Hey, doesn’t that debar a huge number of Charlottesville kids (i.e. those attending private schools)? Why on earth would we exclude children whose parents pay copious city taxes, but don’t dun a dime’s worth of City public education resources?
Let’s hear the city’s official line via a May 14, 2009 Barrick email:
In effect, the difference in the rate for city student/home school students and private school students is $4 for the year at the pre-season sale rate and $9 per year at the regular rate.
Historically we don’t see a lot of traffic at the pools by private school students so we were targeting our largest users and those who we felt needed the assistance the most.+ The City is comfortable with our proposed pass structure and also feel it is very affordable across the income spectrum as compared to other cities our size.+ The reason we began this new approach was an effort to ensure that we provide access to those where income is a barrier.+ This is the first year for this structure and we are certainly open to expanding it if we see participation changes this summer.
Grammatical incompetency aside, let’s analyze, for any symptom of logic or coherence, Barrick’s tortured defense of Charlottesville’s blatantly discriminatory policy:
First point: The difference is small so that private school parents really have nothing to complain about.
This dismissive and specious argument portrays the wronged party (private school parents who seek the discount) as petty and unreasonable in their request to be treated equally. It is offensive at its core.
Second point: Not many private school kids use the pools, so we chose to target (incentivize) kids who already are our customers. (i.e. targeting the market you already have).
So, who’s the marketing “genius” that came up with this ruse? Targeting your existing, full-paying market with an unnecessary discount, while intentionally neglecting a substantial-sized, non-participating (and thus, non-paying) market shows that the City’s promotional department is “stuck on stupid.”
Third point: We’re giving the discount to those we feel need it most.
Beware a “feeling” government! What evidence backs this preposterous pretention? Many home-school families are economically comfortable. (Who else can afford a one-income existence in this tax-hungry metropolis?) And, many kids attending Charlottesville City Schools are from well-to-do “University” families.
In contrast, many kids attending private schools do so on a scholarship or after great financial sacrifice, and their families may in fact need the “help” withheld from them by Charlottesville’s progressive social engineers.
Fourth point: If more private school kids use the pools during the summer, we might consider offering them a discount.
To quote our sapient City Manager, Gary O’Connell: “Does that make sense?”
If this “discount” is really meant to help those the city “felt needed the assistance the most,” it should not be used to reward people already using the pools and to deprecate those who aren’t. But isn’t that precisely what Barrick’s response intimates?
So why did City Manager O’Connell and his merry band of policy wonks exclude (i.e. give the discount to) home schoolers (whom City government despises even more than private schoolers) from this blatantly discriminatory policy:
Because private schoolers do not have a legal defense association;
Because private schoolers do not constitute a vocal or visible constituency that might make trouble for City Council;
And because, in their infinite arrogance, City officials thought they could get away with it…
You don’t have to be a private school family to be outraged over this prejudicial policy. If you want to be a voice for real fairness, call City Manager O’Connell at (434) 970-3101 and tell him to STOP DISCRIMINATING against private school kids and their tax paying families.
About the Author: Rob Schilling is founder of The Schilling Show Blog and News; host of WINA's The Schilling Show, heard weekdays from noon to 2 PM; husband; father; and community watchdog.