Fiscal Leadership for Parochial Schools



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  • Introduction
  • Important Info

Please take 30 second to watch this video about my school and it’s system:

  • Some History
  • Some Information about the Finances
  • Please take 3 minutes to watch this video and get a sense of the common purpose in Lutheran education.
  • Where will Concordia High School, Sylmar go from here?
  • Personal Connections and Concerns

An Educational Irony… those with the most contact with the students have the least contact with the money…


According to Brimley, Garfield, and Verstegen (2012, p. 114-116) there are Six Criteria for Evaluating Taxes.  Some other economists look at political/social criteria such as transparency, but these six are generally considered important factors for evaluating taxes.  An interesting paper (though not this one) might be to evaluate a school, a district, or even a state based on these criteria.  Maybe a taste of the same medicine would reveal some of the festering problems with our educational system?

  1. Fairness or equity
    • “Taxes are considered fair if they contain feature of progressivity with a larger percent falling on individuals with higher incomes.” Based on this philosophy, the tax burden should fall to the greatest extent to those persons with the highest incomes and the greatest ability to pay.
  2. Adequacy of Yield
    • A tax system should not be peppered with nuisance taxes that provide very little revenue while still antagonizing the tax base. “It is therefore important that taxes be applied to productive sources” like income tax, property tax, and sales tax.
  3. Low costs of collection
    • The cost of collecting taxes should be relatively low to protect the revenue they create from administrative absorption. For the most part, personal property taxes are too costly to collect with the exception of large items that are easily identifiable like boats, cars, and homes. While homes are generally not going anywhere, boats and cars must be licensed at the point of purchase and each year they are used. “Such a system provides considerable revenue to government.”   New cars come with a high burden of taxation for the buyer, but over time, the registration and license taxes reduce quite considerably.
  4. Impact/Incidence
    • Shifting taxes should be minimized. This means that the persons who are supposed to be paying the tax are indeed paying the tax because they are able. One example of shifting tax away from the point of impact to a point of incidence might be when a tax is levied on a particular business or product, and then that tax is merely passed on to the consumer. Perhaps the business was the intended point of impact, not the consumer.
  5. Neutrality
    • “The intent of taxation is to divert private funds into the public sector to produce necessary goods and services, rather than to alter the behavioral patterns of taxpayers. A neutral effect is preferred.” The implementation of neutrality is easier said than done. “When taxes influence where and what consumers purchase, such as the home people buy and the location decision of business, they are not neutral.” One example of the lack of neutrality in the city of Los Angeles can be seen in the entertainment business. Known as the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles has lost portions of its entertainment tax base because of high tax rates that targeted production companies. In retaliation, productions have been steadily moving out of Los Angeles and out of California in search of lower tax burdens.
  6. Predictability
    • Since the purpose of taxation is to divert private funds to the public sector, it is important that governments can depend on the revenue coming in each year. “Consistent or stable revenue streams allow governments to predict future income and expenditures with some accuracy and assure that revenues will be available to meet their needs.” With consistent revenue, governments should not need to levy new taxes and propose new bonds. An exception to this idea is when expenditures rise without the tax revenues rising. At that point new streams of revenue must be sought or expenditures must be cut.

According to Brimely et al (2012), property taxes constitute almost all of the local tax revenue for schools. Unfortunately, the property tax, though historically reliable, transparent, and easy to collect, is less equitable than one might expect. One major reason for the unfairness of the property tax is municipal overburden. This term describes the fact that cities have higher education bills with more students, higher urban costs, more pressure to pay for more government programs, and more students with higher educational challenges including language issues and poverty repercussions. Yet, with all of these escalated costs, cities tend to have an eroded tax base with a depleted middle class and fleeing industries. How could a city like Detroit, Michigan increase property taxes on a city that has been plagued with foreclosures during the last eight years? In addition, property taxes are inherently regressive, resulting in a higher tax burden on the segment of the population that has the least ability to pay (O’Leary, 2009).

A Sales Tax may seem like the fairest way to tax a population for a massive government service such as education; however, the sales tax is one of the most regressive taxes. According to the Oklahoma Policy Institute, “Almost any tax on necessities is regressive because lower income people must spend a larger share of their income on these necessities and thus in taxes” (“Characteristics of an Effective Tax System,” 2014). However, others argue that a higher, flat sales tax should replace income and property taxes because many purchases are voluntary, and people with more money will naturally spend more in taxes as they buy more high-end items (Fay, 2014). Unfortunately, in a state like California which has one of the highest sales taxes in the nation, when the Great Recession hit in 2008, the economic downturn resulted in detailing revenue. At the same time, government assistance, often provided through the educational mechanism, increased.

Without a one-size-fits-all tax, it appears that a mixed bag of taxes may provide the most reliable stream of income for education; however, now that the courts are legislating educational reform from the bench, school districts are going to need increased budgets. How will the state and the local leaders respond? According to the Laffer curve, there is a point where raising taxes will begin to result in a loss of revenue. According to Mitchell (2012), “Yes, the politicians usually can collect more revenue, but the concomitant damage to the private sector is very large and people have lower living standards” (p. 2). What’s best for education is a steady, transparent stream of revenue that invests in our students every year, year after year. Unfortunately, the people with the most direct contact with these students are the people with the least contact with the money and the budgeting.


Brimley, V., Garfield, R. R., & Verstegen, D. A. (2012). Financing education in a climate of change. Boston: Pearson Education.

Characteristics of an effective tax system. (2014). Retrieved November 1, 2014, from

Fay, B. (2014). Types of taxes and income, property, goods, services, federal, state. Retrieved November 1, 2014, from

Mitchell, D. (2012, April 15). The Laffer Curve shows that tax increases are a very bad idea – even if they generate more tax

O’Leary, M. (2009, February 28). Lawmakers considering tax options. New Haven Register. Retrieved October 30, 2014.

Analysis on Miss America Scandal Article


On September 15, 2014, Miss New York Kira Kazantsev won the title of Miss America 2015 (Press Release). In the aftermath of her coronation, an online website,, broke the story that the beauty queen was kicked out of her sorority, Alpha Pi, in 2013 for a hazing scandal (Ryan). The author of the breaking blog, Erin Gloria Ryan, is the news editor for the website. Ryan’s article employs a number of different rhetorical devices to establish a persuasive style. Specifically, Ryan’s credible research and detail compliment her strong diction produce an article that caught the attention of major news outlets and unleashed a public relations storm that the Miss America Organization and Miss Kazantsev must now address.
The detailed research in the article not only establishes the ethos of the author but also sets a logical tone that influences readers who might otherwise be uninterested in the happenings of a beauty queen. For example, Ryan includes information from Kazantsev’s press kit, corroborating interview quotations, and the exact hazing policy statement from Hofstra University. The impact of these seemingly unbiased details is to persuade the reader to trust the content and trust the author’s perspective. From an author’s perspective, hopefully the impact will lead to the effect of persuading the reader that this story is deeper than it appears and that the editors of are legitimately pursuing the full story.
Ryan’s diction drives the persuasive style as she cleverly weaves her bias into the reporting. Phrases such as “publicly passionate” and “standard sorority pledge stuff” illuminate an affinity for alliteration that catches the reader’s ear. Ryan also enjoys inserting parallel structure such as “squeaky-clean image and a squeaky-clean resume.” With cleaver phrasing leading to sardonic statements such as, “It’s missing one unflattering detail,” the author shifts the tone from one of objective but witty reporting to ironic commentary on a beauty queen with an unflattering past. Ryan’s expert manipulation of detailed research and witty style reveal her persuasive voice, and that voice has now been seen by a much larger stage thanks to this Miss America scandal. She may be a columnist worth watching for a fresh take on old stories.

Ryan, Erin G. “Miss America Was Kicked Out of Her Sorority for Abusive Hazing.” Web log post. Jezebel. 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <>.

“Press Release.” Miss America. Miss America Organization, 15 Sept. 2014. Web. 02 Oct. 2014. <;.

Do As I Say – Not As I Do


This is my first post in months, but I’m jumping back into the Blog pool because I’ve asked my AP English students to do the same. Hopefully, my students won’t look back at my entries (and lack thereof) and judge me too harshly.  I know they are probably thinking the same thing!  So, since this is public territory, I want to share with my readers and students that I have three goals for this blog project and I’m posting them here so that we can see whether or not we meet or exceed the expectations.  I think we will all reflect on these three goals at the end of October. Good luck everyone!  Your enthusiasm is contagious! Here they are:

  1. We will all increase our technological skills – not just in posting our blogs, but also in working with our school WiFi, learning about other devices, and incorporating links and research.
  2. We will become better researchers – not just because of our Follow a Columnist project, but because we learn how to seek out interesting content.
  3. We become published, public writers – not just because we have to for our class grade (I know how that feels, too!), but because we have a lot to say and we know how to say it in interesting, entertaining, poignant, and professional ways.

PKM Eval – Keep Moving Forward…


I feel a little funny about evaluating my PKM system because I feel like mine is worthy of an elementary school science fair…from 1997. Haha!

In the video that I’ve linked to this blog post (from Disney’s “Meet the Robinsons”), Lewis is applauded by his future family for his failure.  I think I want to be adopted by the Robinson’s, too, but I think I need to give myself a break and stop focusing on the parts that are still lacking.  I’ve grown… I am now on Twitter! I now blog! I now carry THREE apple devices with me on vacation.  That’s progress.

So, regarding my PKM system, I have definitely streamlined some of my elements and I believe I’ve equalized the “flow chart”. When I first designed my system, I chose a “funnel” method that resulted in A LOT of information coming in  (Capturing) through Twitter, Feedly, WordPress, EBSCO, Facebook, and other subscription services.  Those articles and ideas sat in the middle of my design (Curating) as I thought about the information and how it could apply to my life and my career.  Specifically, I employ Evernote to keep my reading organized and accessible.  Between Evernote, Feedly, and Easybib (where I store my references), my curation process is pretty well stocked.

The biggest change in the system is that I’ve opened up the bottom funnel… opening the flood gates?… and I’ve increased my creation of material through my blog with Word Press, my Twitter account, and my other writings for classes, my dissertation, and my other social media such as Instagram and Facebook.  I’m still a bit uncomfortable, but I am so appreciative of my cohort friends and professors who have read my thoughts and encouraged me with comments.  I think that has really been the key to this final stage of the PKM.  I really hope to teach this method with my high school students this year, giving them the support of an engaged peer group and an applauding teacher.  That has made all the difference in opening up my creation/sharing of information.

I’ll be redesigning my PKM graphic to much more balanced.  Just have to keep moving forward, right?Keep-Moving-Forward