It’s school budget time and we hear, once again, the drumbeat of complaints over how the Legislature continues to shortchange education by failing to come up with their 55 percent of public K-12 school funding.

In my view, this 55 percent mandate is fundamentally flawed. No right-minded business would, and no public entity should, commit to funding 55 percent of an unknown number – a number derived each year by adding budgets from multiple school districts with multiple systems and widely varying priorities.

All we can predict about this number is that it will go up, usually by a percentage well in excess of inflation or any increases to the average taxpayer’s income. It seems to me that the Legislature does a commendable job determining what the taxpayers can bear and then funds education accordingly. If that reaches 55 percent, great! If not, then so be it.

It is time to change the law. Make it a fixed number, make it an indexed number, make it a percentage of the overall budget, whatever. In short, make it predictable.

I believe it is also time for school budget setters to recognize that the people paying state taxes and the people paying property tax are the same people and they do not have infinitely deep pockets. It is time for school districts to put their significant talents to work and find innovative ways to live within their allocated funds and stop faulting the Legislature for missing a moving target.

Joe Murray

Gray