Letter To The Editor: ‘Learning Dishonesty By Example’

By CHARLES BAYFIELD
Los Alamos
 
Most young people learn best by the example displayed by their parents, siblings, teachers and peers.
 
Recently the local school administration has been setting a bad example for the students demonstrating dishonesty and involving the student in that dishonesty. Let me explain:
 
In the state of New Mexico school funds are distributed by a process which depends on counting the number of students three times a school year. These are called the 40 day count, the 80 day count, and the 120 day count.
 
These one day counts of students determines the amount of money per student enrolled that comes from the state to the schools. It is a straightforward count which is hard to cheat on.
 
On the same three days the school is to count the number of school bus riders which also determines the state allocated money. This is meant to defray the costs of transporting students to and from school.
 
In Los Alamos we have an excellent public bus system which is preferred by a lot of students over the school buses.
 
So, for the past two years or more the school administration has embarked on a campaign to encourage the students to ride the school buses on the three counting days, 40, 80, and 120.
 
A year ago in the fall the school talked one of the local merchants into giving a free ice cream coupon to any student who would ride the school bus on the counting day.
 
This was fairly successful and resulted in an additional amount from the state of over one hundred thousand dollars.
 
This method of inflating the ridership figures is certainly unethical and dishonest and results in the local school district being paid for services not rendered.
 
The practice should be discontinued. I would not be surprised if the school administration started inviting the Los Alamos homeschoolers to attend three times a year so they could inflate the enrollment figures as well.
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