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Vouchers Discounted as Huntington Beach School Answer

March 08, 1992

Re Mr. Mark Soden's letter ("Sorry State of Public School System Is a Case for Private Schools Initiative," Feb. 23): This letter has many valid points, and some not so well thought out.

I must agree that mismanagement of taxpayers' money has been, and continues to be, a problem in the Huntington Beach High School District, particularly with regard to the obvious imbalance in administrative personnel versus teachers.

On the other side of this coin, I must frankly state that the recently introduced voucher system is not, as now envisaged, the solution. There are far too many unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable, questions in the proposal.

The following are but a few:

1. Economically disadvantaged children would be hard pressed to even get to another school, as the cost of transportation alone would be prohibitive.

2. Children with physical or mental learning disabilities are not guaranteed that they will be accepted at all.

3. Many economically disadvantaged children now receive perhaps their two most nutritious meals at public schools. Vouchers will not provide for this.

4. The dollar amount of the currently proposed voucher does not meet the yearly tuition fees now charged by most of the existing non-public schools.

5. The separation of church and state notwithstanding, public tax money supporting private churches is, and should remain, illegal.

6. The proposition as worded would require a two-thirds vote of the eligible voters to revise or remove it. There are seldom, if ever, two-thirds of the eligible voters who actually vote in any given election. Thus, even when found to be a disaster, (a voucher system) could not be repaired.

In defense of Mr. (David) Hagen (Huntington Beach Union High School District superintendent), he inherited many of the current problems from his predecessors and is somewhat a victim of time and place.

The board and Mr. Hagen need to be more responsive to the needs and wants of the community, and not just rubber-stamp recommendations made by a limited number of self-serving special-interest groups. The alternative in this case is a painfully chaotic education system.

G.F. WINTERS, Huntington Beach

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