How Much Will School Uniforms Cost The Taxpayer?
Uniforms for low-income kids
Each year, about 200 Penn Delco children were eligible for reduced-price school lunches. It has been suggested that these children would be given uniforms at taxpayer expense, through a combination of state and local funds. Low-income kids with disabilities may also need special shoes or other custom-made items. Currently, these 200 children are adequately clothed by their parents, who use a combination of new clothes, hand-me-downs, and clothes purchased in thrift shops or sewn at home.
Do we really want to create another taxpayer-funded entitlement?
In all but the worst school districts, existing school uniform policies are either voluntary or allow students, with parental permission, to "opt out" of the school uniform requirements. The US Department of Education warns that "A mandatory school uniform policy without an "opt out" provision could be vulnerable to legal challenge." Only in cases where "disruption of the learning environment has reached a point that other lesser measures have been or would be ineffective", certainly not the case in Penn Delco, have mandatory uniform policies been upheld.
Do we want to pay for expensive lawsuits challenging the policy?
Tuition for students who "opt out"
A student's right to a free, appropriate public education cannot be predicated on the student wearing a uniform. In cases where public schools adopt a mandatory uniform policy, the students must have the option of attending another public school which does not have a mandatory uniform policy. Since Penn Delco has only one middle school and one high school, students who "opt out" of wearing uniforms would have to attend an out-of-district school or receive homebound instruction at taxpayer expense.
Do we want to pay tuition to another district for children who "opt-out" of the policy?
The general public perception is that school uniforms are a last-ditch measure used by school districts who have lost control of their student body. This is not the case in Penn Delco, where our students are generally well-behaved and have appropriate respect for both parental and school authority. We all know that property values in an area are greatly influenced by people’s perception of whether a house is in a "good" school district.
Do we want risk our property values by giving the wrong impression about Penn Delco?
School Uniforms are a waste of taxpayer's money.
This Web Page by Pauline Harding for Art Nurk.
Contents may be copied if credit is given.