Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

May 27, 2014
A hidden tax

I take exception with some of the statements presented in Tim Gillie’s article, “Books may disappear from classrooms as district trends to digital.” 

For the record, building and district staffs collect the “Annual Student Fees.” Building staffs collect “Fines for lost and damaged books.” Building principals are required to forward all school book rental fee money collected to the district. Building principals have used the fines collected to replace lost, damaged, and worn out textbooks. The district has not purchased a single textbook for students or a classroom set in about 9 years. Some principals have resorted to using State Land Trust money to purchase needed replacement text books, basic reference materials and classroom textbook sets for their students.

In the mean time, the district has collected about $1.5 million in book rental fees. According to my sources, the money has gone into the district’s “General Fund” and used to pay salaries, services, and subsidize programs for students on fee waiver. The practice of “Bait and Switch”, i.e., collect a fee for one thing and use the money for something else, is a highly questionable, if not illegal, practice.

However, it has been an accepted practice by district superintendents and business managers for about nine years, to include the 2013-2014 school year. It has been a hidden tax. A burden paid by parents expecting their money was going to be used to provide up-to-date textbooks for their child. This has not been the case.

Keith L. Davis


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