OUR CHILDREN ARE A GIFT

      It does not seem possible to improve on Solomon’s wisdom regarding children:  “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.”  Psalm 127:3.  But that wisdom does not just apply to parents; it also speaks to each of us.  Children are our future – they are future creators of new wealth, our future culture, and invaluable future sources of new ideas and innovation.  We should all highly value them.

      But now take that from the abstract to the concrete - let's value our children.  Roughly 10% of our children live in rural school districts.  Most of the land in those districts will carry a greatly reduced agricultural valuation for property taxes, so that often those rural schools are maxing out their budget just to offer teachers a upper-$30,000 salary.  (If taxed at "market value", most farmers and ranchers would be driven out of business by the property taxes; the State wisely promotes continued agricultural use of the land by allowing farm and ranch land to be taxed at its much lower "production value".)  Meanwhile, urban and suburban school districts will have all or most of their land developed and fully taxed, with little or no agricultural valuation reductions.  Our rural school districts are doing an admirable job with limited resources, but they and our children deserve better.