Rebuttal- amongothers13

(Un)Justifying Property Tax Funding for Public Schools

Although property taxes for public school funding are commonly frowned upon, especially when concerning the low-income families struggling to obtain stability, most fail to see the importance of property taxes when it comes to funding schools. Property taxes contribute to a constant flow of income to schools. In a report published by The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy,  titled “The Property Tax-School Funding Dilemma,” it states that half of all property tax revenue in the United States is used to fund public primary and secondary schools.” This means that if property taxes were to be diminished or cut, in turn, the money would have to come from somewhere else- perhaps another form of tax under a different name than “property tax”. Another benefit of property tax is that those who do have a large amount of money inherited are able to pay more to the community, which would give the schools more money in the long run. People who own houses usually obtain more cash than those who rent homes, hence why homeowners are taxed more. If they make more money, they can give more back to the schools. Another reason property taxes fund schools is because the more money is put into a school system, the better it benefits the children. More money coming in will purchase supplies and books for the children that are vital to their education.

In a frequently asked questions tab on the National Conference of State Legislature website, it states that the property tax funding of schools is here, in use, and they plan on keeping it this way for a long time. If we were to eliminate the property tax funding, the funds would have to come from some other tax, whether it be income, sales or excise tax, which are more likely to change than property taxes. If property taxes were gone, sales tax would need to be increased more than just the 7% it is now. Everything would then be more expensive than what we pay now, and there is no say on how much more things would cost. It could be 15% tax, perhaps even a startling 20%. The property tax method is more stable and secure than the sales tax or income tax would be, and for that reason, people have a hard time imagining what it would be like if we were to abolish the property tax funding of schools.

The National Association of Home Builders Discusses Economics and Housing Policy(NAHB) website shows data that in 2009, $591 billion dollars were collected in the U.S used specifically for elementary and secondary education. These property taxes were accountable for 65% of the school revenues as well as 29% of school funding. The data shows that the more property taxes taken out correlates to the size and accomplishments of the school systems.

People can argue property taxes have many benefits when it comes down to a firm way to produce a constant income of money to the school systems. With that being said, I would like to introduce why property taxes do the opposite of good. The property taxes in different areas vary, higher-income areas give more money than low-income families simply because they have more money to give. They live in nicer areas, with bigger communities and nicer things. Low-income families struggle to feed their children, to put clean clothes on them in the morning. Due to property taxes being so high, they can only afford so much. These children, in turn, are sent to school with the least qualified teachers, with the least amount of history, and the least amount of school supplies. They then receive less of an education than those that live in high-income communities. This is exactly what causes the widening achievement gap- the difference in money going into schools. Low-income schools have less money to spend per student than high-income schools do. An article on Huffington Post titled “School Funding Inequality Makes Education ‘Separate and Unequal,'” states that 6.6 million students from low-income areas in 23 states are harmed directly by local fundings. It is said that federal funding could be used to help pay for schools, but it is not supposed to be used to balance the local and state funds. Instead, this method would take away from the schools. We need to realize that children from low-income families live a difficult life. Some, if not most, walk into school in the morning with an empty stomach and thin, tapered clothing. Most of them encounter abuse at home, and live in run-down neighborhoods filled with crime and drug use. Then, they are sent to a school that does not allow them to grow due to the lack of resources in said school. This is why property tax funding of schools needs to be eliminated. Children in high-income areas have more resources than they actually use and need at the schools they attend while low-income students, just as deserving of a full education, sit in old, rocky desks, struggling to get by with the materials they do have, which is very little. We need to realize it is time to give back to the children, and property taxes are destroying America’s youth and their chances at becoming successful.  

So, while others may argue that property taxes are “the only way”, I find it hard to believe that the only way to help students in schools is by taking away from them, by not giving them what they need. Arne Duncan states that “The children who need the most seem to be getting less and less, and the children who need the least get more and more.” There simply must be another way. These children deserve an equal education.



6 thoughts on “Rebuttal- amongothers13”

  1. REFERENCES section.

    AO, I’m not seeing any post in your stream that uses an APA-style References section with compliant bibliographic references. Does that mean you’re unfamiliar with the standards, or that you just haven’t gotten around to formatting your Reference Sections? Your papers won’t pass without them, but, on the other hand, they’re not as onerous a chore as they seem.

    I’ll be happy to help you if you need the help, but please ask.


  2. I’m disappointed that you didn’t follow the links from the Huffington Post article to their original sources and cite THEM in your argument, AO. The popular press sources are USEFUL to get you to the originals, but as secondary (or tertiary) sources that do their best to pass along somebody else’s conclusions (often misinterpreting them along the way), they’re not very reliable or credible for academic papers.

    They do, however, USE good sources, and you should too.

    The HuffPost piece offers a link to the National Center for Education Statistics. It also references several Washington Post articles that lead back immediately to important documents from the US Education Department. There’s a really useful chart in the Washington Post article called “In 23 states . . . .”

    If you did just a little bit more research, following your sources back one click to the originals, many claims would be easier to interpret. You appear to be having trouble with this one, from the HuffPost article:

    Federal education funding can help rectify state and local inequalities. But federal dollars aren’t meant to balance state and local funding, Duncan told The Washington Post. Instead, federal money is intended to help needy students, he said.

    “The point of that money was to supplement, recognizing that poor children, and English language-learners, and students with disabilities come to school with additional challenges,” Duncan told the newspaper. “This is about trying to get additional resources to children and communities who everyone knows need additional help.”

    What those paragraphs mean is that federal dollars have a specific purpose. They are intended, for example, to assist students with dyslexia or other learning disabilities. Those dollars would be available to students in all districts, rich and poor alike. Instead, those dollars go to basic education needs to supplement the shortfall of property tax revenues in poorer school districts. It’s hard to tell from your essay whether you understand that claim. I think it would have been easier to understand if you’d read the original.

    Is this making sense to you, AO?
    It’s a more stringent research protocol than you’re probably used to, but it’s an essential skill for all academic researchers.


    1. Yes, I understand now. I will edit this post as well after some deeper research. Thank you for your feedback!


  3. Now, regarding the purpose of a Rebuttal Argument.

    Your obligation to your reader is to find and refute the strongest arguments contrary to your own. You know you have opponents. You chose your thesis specifically because it’s controversial. That means not everybody agrees with you. Readers know this too, and they’re withholding judgement of your own argument until they see how you handle counterarguments.

    In the Rebuttal Argument, you present and refute those strong counterarguments.

    It’s essential that your readers DO NOT LOSE TRACK OF WHICH ARGUMENT IS YOURS. While you need to present your opposition, you have to constantly remind your readers that THE COUNTERARGUMENTS are weak, wrong, ill-informed, and insufficient to overcome your own.

    Let’s add some SIGNAL PHRASES to your own first paragraph to keep readers on track:

    Although property taxes for public school funding are UNPOPULAR WITH HOMEOWNERS BECAUSE OF THEIR HIGH COST, especially when concerning the low-income families struggling to obtain stability, LAWMAKERS INSIST THEY ARE ESSENTIAL FOR FUNDING SCHOOLS. Property taxes contribute to a constant flow of income to schools. A report published by The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, titled “The Property Tax-School Funding Dilemma,” states that “half of all property tax revenue in the United States is used to fund public primary and secondary schools.” OBVIOUSLY, if property taxes were cut, the money to fund schools would have to come from somewhere else—perhaps another form of tax. BUT THAT’S NOT A GOOD ARGUMENT FOR THE CURRENT FUNDING MECHANISM. Homeowners generally have higher incomes than renters, BUT RENTERS PAY PROPERTY TAXES TOO. IT’S FACTORED INTO THEIR RENT SO LANDLORDS CAN PAY THE GOVERNMENT. Higher property taxes put more money into local school systems, which certainly benefits the students with better equipment, books, and vital supplies, BUT ANY TAX THAT RAISED STRONG REVENUES WOULD DO THE SAME.

    In the above, you’re presenting the arguments that readers might consider to be counterarguments to your own, but you never let those arguments stand unchallenged. Instead, you offer the refutations only as opportunities to rebut your challengers. In the end, if you’ve fended off all challenges, your argument prevails both on its own merits and as the best alternative to all the other, less successful options you’ve examined.

    Is that helpful?
    Please respond. I appreciate the interaction.


    1. Yes, I understand where you are going. I struggled a little bit with my wording. Thank you for your feedback, I will get to editing this as soon as possible!


  4. Here’s a source that has what you’re looking for.

    From the Abstract: Local governments are viewed as municipal corporations whose shareholders are homeowners and whose collective property rights are protected by zoning. Homeowners are motivated to control local government because its services and taxes affect the value of their largest asset, their homes. The homevoter model implies that local property taxes are benefit taxes, that locally-funded schools are more efficient than state-funded systems, and that home-conscious ” NIMBYs” forestall an environmentally destructive “race to the bottom” in tax base competition.

    That’s a little cryptic, but the bottom line for this author regarding schools is that homeowners are willing to pay property taxes to insure that their local schools are superior IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE VALUE OF THEIR HOMES AND NEIGHBORHOODS. In other words, they know that if their property taxes are higher than the next town, their schools will be better funded, the students will do better, and the better schools will justify higher home prices. That’s WHY HOMEOWNERS SUPPORT the funding of local public schools through taxes based on the values of their homes. Does it mean that the quality of education is UNEQUAL from town to town? YES. And the richer communities are fine with that. They WANT THEIR SCHOOLS TO BE SUPERIOR. Which, naturally, creates the desired inequality.

    Do you see why that seemingly positive motivation to send your kids to “better schools” creates an entrenched unequal system . . . the very system you’re arguing must be changed?

    Anyway, be sure to log into your Rowan account before you click the link to the article so you can get free access to the full text.

    The article mentions the word “school” 35 times, but the section that most directly addresses your thesis is called WHY LOCAL CONTROL MATTERS FOR SCHOOL FINANCE. Author Fischel says what you need him to say: that people WANT school inequality and are willing to pay for it. And that states that try to level funding more equitably don’t get the benefits they hope for. His position directly opposes yours. Perfect rebuttal source.


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