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Anyone want to comment about this? I think it is outrageous and am glad the state is going to crack down on this issue. As a taxpayer and a homeschooler, I am angry that this has happened. It really gives the HONEST homeschoolers a bad name.<br><br>
From the October 10, 2005 Spokesman-Review<br><br><a href="http://www.spokesmanreview.com/tools/story_pf.asp?ID=95053" target="_blank">http://www.spokesmanreview.com/tools...f.asp?ID=95053</a><br><br>
Read the article.<br><br>
Some of what the state paid out for Alternative Learning Experience programs, which includes homeschoolers:<br><br><b>Bible-based texts and videos, Private gym memberships, Horseback-riding lessons, Church repairs, Rafting and jet-boat trips, Summer camp, Hundreds of ski lift and movie tickets, Dozens of theme park tickets.</b><br><br>
Bible-based texts and videos? Church repairs? The <span style="text-decoration:underline;">STATE</span> paid for these? Private gym memberships? Movie tickets?<br><br><b>In school year 2003-2004, the auditors found that 96 percent of the school districts they examined had incorrectly calculated the number of student hours they submitted for state funding. The overpayments totaled nearly $800,000.</b><br><br>
$800,000!!! Yikes!<br><br><b>Deanne Cade, a mother in Elk, teaches her children under one of the programs. She was tired of the swearing and sexual harassment her young daughter experienced in public school. The Deer Park School District reimburses her for up to $500 a year, per student, in educational expenses.<br><br>
The money helps pay for books, fabric for sewing lessons, a tutor for her learning-disabled son. Horseback-riding lessons, she said, were educational: learning about grooming the animals, cleaning their hooves, and learning about horse illnesses.<br><br>
"That was money well-spent," she said. "They learn about people, science and biology."</b><br><br>
Sorry, I disagree with this. Horseback-riding lessons should come out of her own pocket, not the taxpayer's. They have nothing to do with the education the state requires. She's taking advantage of a system that isn't monitoring itself close enough. I'm all for her children learning about people, science and biology, but my paying for her kid's riding lessons is not cutting it.<br><br><b>Deer Park: The district paid for hundreds of dollars of books, videos, DVDs and software at two Christian bookstores, including curriculum materials described by the publisher as "Bible-based." The district also paid for ice skating, movies and piano lessons that auditors said were not linked to learning plans.</b><br><br><b>Chewelah: Among the alternative learning expenses that the auditor's office could find no educational purpose for were a hayride and pizza party, dozens of theme park tickets, hotel accommodations, ski lift tickets, ski rentals and lessons, and a jet boat tour for 84 people.</b><br><br>
Hotel accomodations? Jet boat tour for 84 people? ((I know Chewelah and doubt very much that there are 84 children homeschooling in that district! That money is supposed to be for the children, not the adults.))<br><br>
Superintendent Marcus Morgan – who was hired in the fall of 2003 – said that things that might sound frivolous are often legitimate. If students go to Silverwood theme park, he said, they measure the angles on roller coasters – and get some fun out of it. And all district students have a chance to take ski lessons, he said.[/B]<br><br>
This last bit cracked me up. Yeah, right, kids go to Silverwood to learn geometry. Obviously, Mr. Morgan is good at coming up with angles that explain away his district's negligence in following their own budget.<br><br>
And, good for them to be able to take ski lessons. But, again, the taxpayers should NOT be paying for them. Skiing is a strictly extracurricular and non-school-related activity (there is no ski team for the school).
 

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Well, that is an interesting system they have there. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="jaw2"><br>
This sounds like it is a confusing extension of public school more than homeschooling.<br><br>
Obviously there was a huge problem with the administration of this program not just greedy parents. They were partners in the fiasco I would say.
 

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When the charter schools for independent study first started in California, we could do all sorts of cool stuff with the money... ski trips, horseback riding, lots of fun stuff. In January of 2000 the law changed and things tightened up a lot, which I thought was a shame. The kids got the same amout of money as each public school student got... the parent basically donated her labor as a full-time "teacher", and donated their home as a place for "school", and donated use of their vehicle as transportation, and most parents didn't choose the expensive curriculums the schools use. That's all money that homeschooling families saved the school, enabling them to have more left over for stuff like horseback riding and ski trips (which some private *and* public schools do offer to students, for the record). Riding and skiiing are both good exercise, and do fit some of the goals listed in the California state educational standards for PE. Sewing is often twaught in middle school and high school; there are state standards covering this as well. And in California, at least one major theme park offers a "the science of roller coasters" day every year, during which they offer lessons relating science and math concepts to rides and many kids attend with their *public* school classes, as part of their public school education... so I can definitely see how homeschoolers could learn that way. We sure learned a lot at theme parks... I could give details, if you want.<br><br>
I do agree that taxpayer money shouldn't be used for religious texts, but as for the rest of it, I think it's great! I wish all homeschoolers could access some of the money that they're saving the state.<br><br>
Dar
 

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I tend to agree with Dar. I also know that when I took my kids to Six Flags that there were MANY school sponsored field trips there and they were likely not using the time educationally whereas many homeschoolers would have.
 

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Well right now we are considering signing up with one of these charter schools, so I have to take the OP with stride. I already have all the curriculum that I want/need now (paid out of pocket) and don't want to have to return good ones to the state given that I have two more little ones who can use them in the future. I also have no problem buying used stuff which saves the state a lot of money.<br><br>
Now, why the charter? The advice is a plus (when it is just that and not rules), and the money which I would have spent for curriculum I have no problem channeling into other activities. Probably if we do sign up and continue then I'll buy some curriculum through them, but I have no problem using it to pay for music lessons, French class or science class. It is a fraction of what public schools receive for kids. These are classes I can't do for one reason or another and that I feel enrich my son's mind and help him become a better self-learner. It is what I feel a good school program should contain.<br><br>
I wonder if the OP has a problem with the millions spent on extra-curricular special education with the purpose of improving speech, balance, etc. A lot of those expenses are also non-traditional, but totally paid by the state.<br><br>
Anyway, I'd love to hear additional commentary because we still haven't 100% decided to do this.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>grahamsmom98</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Sorry, I disagree with this. Horseback-riding lessons should come out of her own pocket, not the taxpayer's. They have nothing to do with the education the state requires. She's taking advantage of a system that isn't monitoring itself close enough. I'm all for her children learning about people, science and biology, but my paying for her kid's riding lessons is not cutting it.</div>
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I totally disagree with you. If the programs money could be used for PE, then riding lessons are acceptable ways to spend the money. Riding is esp. good for kids with special needs -- the movement of the horse is one of the best things for kids with sensory issues.<br><br>
(My older DD has mild special needs and SI issues and takes riding lessons. We pay for them, but it is totally a part of her homeschooling -- it's better than therapy and a heck of a lot more fun.)<br><br>
It sounds like the districts were collecting over 4K a year from the state and then giving the parents only $500. Did I read that right? That is much more distrubing to me than how the parents spent the money.<br><br>
And for the record, some public schools use their money (our tax money) to take kids to Sea World.
 

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The public high school I went to had a yearly Physics field trip to Six Flags Great Adventure <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> You went your Junior Year or maybe it was Senior year. Whatever year we studied physics, I can't remember. The teacher gave us worksheets and you were supposed to figure out the physics of some rides, but most of the day was just us running around having fun and getting sun burnt, :LOL<br><br>
I dunno <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"> I see your point about hotel accomodations and cruises I guess. Though, now that I think of it, they do have educational cruises out there. Semester at Sea I think it's called? It's not just for homeschoolers either. And even just a plain old cruise is pretty educational in and of itself. And the guy you quoted said "And all district students have a chance to take ski lessons" Wouldn't that mean the public school kids do too? I guess the pizza party is stretching it but then, they have pizza parties in school all the time. And piano, well, they *should* be having music lessons in school though a lot of them are cutting it nowadays <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> And ice skating could just be gym <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> (waiting for the homeschooler ice skating to start up in a few weeks!) I didn't get ice skating when I was in school but did have archery, gymnastics, square dancing and other stuff that you can get private lessons for if you want.<br><br>
I live in a state where we are on our own. We don't get regulated at all by the state (which I love) but that means we don't get any help either. If I *did* get monetary help I'd sure want the right to use that for something *I* thought was educational, not what the state thought was. Part of the reason I want to homeschool is because I have different ideas on what a good education is and I'd hate to be forced to follow someone else's rules. I am not religious but have no problem with people buying religious curricula or horseback riding lessons with homeschooling money. I'd be spending my money on ballet lessons and board games and I'm sure some would disagree with that. Though a cruise would be nice too <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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Just wanted to add that church repairs is really stretching it. I can see that one. I mean, unless you are paying for supplies and having the kids do the work on their own and calling it shop :LOL
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ShannonCC</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Just wanted to add that church repairs is really stretching it. I can see that one. I mean, unless you are paying for supplies and having the kids do the work on their own and calling it shop :LOL</div>
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If you read the whole article it states that the school district rents space from the church and so the repairs were to upgrade the building to meet school district standards. (FYI, my local public elementary school also rents classrom space from the church across the street -- they actually paid to build the classrooms on church land -- much better than busing the kids all over the city)
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dar</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
I do agree that taxpayer money shouldn't be used for religious texts, but as for the rest of it, I think it's great! I wish all homeschoolers could access some of the money that they're saving the state.<br><br>
Dar</div>
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<span><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: I agree!</span>
 

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I think if people homeschool and the state offers a stipend, it's up to the parents how they spend that money. At that rate the state is paying the parents like $2.00 per schoolday to teach.<br><br>
The state of Washington (actually the city of seattle) charged us $200 per car to build a monorail. Even though voters agreed to build it TWICE, it;'s being held up again. We spent $400 and the monorail is no closer to being built. If they offer me $500 as a homeschooler, heck yeah I'll take it.<br><br>
Do we think the government never spends our money on things we wouldn't find necessary?
 

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RSPS, thanks! I didn't click the link, just read what was posted here. In that case (what you wrote) then yeah, that's valid too.
 

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The state actually pays for my (autistic) dd's horseback riding lessons. It's considered therapy for her and we get the lessons paid for and transportation to lessons and back to our house after. Wouldn't things like horseback riding, gym memberships and skiing count as PE? i count them as that in our portfolio.
 

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I disagree with you. In high school I took the following PE classes: Horseback riding, golf, bowling, and skiing. In Physics we went to an Amusement PArk for a field trip and had to fill out worksheets. We launched rockets in physics, too. We to museums, IMAX movies, zoos, and to Broadway shows. I never spent a day in private school, so this all came out of the School District's budget........the taxpayer's pockets.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>3momkmb</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Wouldn't things like horseback riding, gym memberships and skiing count as PE? i count them as that in our portfolio.</div>
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absolutely , and most things that are listed in the article as being extravagant I consider being normal learning opportunities. I guess I have different views from the OP as to what education is and how children learn.
 

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Wow, I am so glad I got to see this article. My younger High School aged siblings attend the Mary Walker school district..and I know one of the receptionist at the Deer Park home link program.<br><br>
I also know that when I was in Jr High and a student in one of the 1st Charter School programs in our area (central CA) the school gave us vouchers for school supplies, art classes certain trips ect... and we could have all the texts used at the school for no cost as long as we returned them (and also vouchers to buy our own non relegious stuff). It was wonderful. I enjoyed it so much. In a charter program you are enrolled in the public school (I even went and took yearly tests in a classroom, school dances, picture day ect). But I am certain the school district still spent less on me that the regular day students.<br><br>
I know the Deer Park program mentioned in this article is supporting a thiving hybrid HS comunity. It is helping familys afford homeschooling who otherwise could not.<br><br>
I think it is a shame that things have to get harder and harder on any kind of HS family. I am glad they are checking into things to be sure rules are being followed... of course, if they make it too hard on HS familys (like our district) then the familes will just opt not to enroll and do without the $500 because it will not be worth the hassle. (cutting off their nose to spite their face so to speak).
 

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You can tell what's important to people, to a family, to a society by how they spend their time and their money. I'd love to see $700Billion spent on children, medical care, mass transportation, clean water for the 80% of the world that lacks it, ... rather than on destroying countries and killing people. I was happy to read the original article. I'm very happy to pay my taxes and always have been. I want to see them go to helping people and improving life rather than destruction and corporate cronyism. I'd be happy to pay more taxes for all children to get horseback riding lessons or whatever they need to grow, learn, and thrive. I'd be happy to pay $7/gallon for gas like the rest of the world does if the extra money went to reduce pollution, build clean train lines, and plant gardens. I love hearing about wonderful field trips that children take and would be sad to think that all of our per-pupil funding goes only to maintaining buildings and infrastucture. We need "bread AND roses," hermanas.<br><br>
peace,<br>
teastaigh
 

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i'm just curious why all the outrage isn't being directed at public schoolers taking advantage of the same opportunities.<br><br>
here, getting zilch as a tax break, paying everything out of pocket, no vouchers, no credits, the state stealing my taxes & not reimbursing a dime, this is better?<br><br>
oh, the things i could've done with my kids if i'd had the money the state keeps for 'educating' them.<br><br>
what offends me is that the state is requiring accountability for the reimbursed monies. that's where accepting anything from the government bites you in the hinder. someone sitting in an office deciding your dance lessons, whatever, aren't educational, but sending public schooled kids to 6 flags with YOUR money without a qualm. (not that i don't think 6 flags could be educational, or for that matter public school kids don't deserve a trip just for fun, but it ought to be consistant.)<br><br>
susan
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>suseyblue</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">what offends me is that the state is requiring accountability for the reimbursed monies. that's where accepting anything from the government bites you in the hinder. someone sitting in an office deciding your dance lessons, whatever, aren't educational, but sending public schooled kids to 6 flags with YOUR money without a qualm. (not that i don't think 6 flags could be educational, or for that matter public school kids don't deserve a trip just for fun, but it ought to be consistant.)</div>
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Ooo, there's an idea! I substitute teacher, and I'd love to see schools and tecahers having to justify all of the stuff they have the kids do. They had a band come in and do a concert at the middle school the other day, for all of the kids who had sold at least one magazine subscription for a school fundraiser. That was over an hour of listening to music - mandatory, even for the kids who would have preferred to stay in the classroom and study. There are also weekly pep rallies - how is this educational? Go wildcats, and all that?<br><br>
Some of the moderate to severely disabled kids end up watching sports center on TV for the last period of every day, too... it's supposed to be the teacher's prep period, so she just lines their wheelchairs up in front of the tv.<br><br>
Yes, your tax dollars pay for all of that! That's not even including all of the worksheets kids have to do long after they've mastered a concept, because the rest of the class doesn't get it... or the word searches they get to fill extra time... I could go on.<br><br>
dar
 

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Dar, you are brilliant. I agree with every word you said.<br><br>
Here, the state isn't interested in hs'rs unless someone calls cps or the truancy officer on you. I like that I can teach my children anything. I would LOVE to live in a place that not only encouraged hs, but helped pay for it. I mean, I pay for ps'rs school, what is the big deal with them paying for my hs'rs to school?<br><br>
If you want to complain about how the US uses their money, lets complain about still giving Carl Rove a paycheck. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">
 
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