NPR's All Things Considered did a good story on the Bush Admin's plan to sell valuable land in a one-shot budget trick for rural school funding here. It is one of the precious few news items I've seen covering this issue.
Unfortunately the audio isn't posted yet (try after 7:30PM) so I can't get the exact quote, but someone from the Sierra Club said something that bothered me. He said something to the effect that it's the Bush Admin's job to come up with an alternate method of funding, not his.
Is he right? Well, yes, I guess he is. Is this the attitude or the public face that's going to make folks sympathetic to the cause? Hell, no. That kind of public comment hurts the image of environmentalists, giving the opposition the easy option of painting the Sierra Club as caring more about unwanted scrubland than the education of children, and being a bunch of unhelpful whiners to boot.
Not that I want to appear an unhelpful whiner, but I must admit I don't know how they should pay for the funding of rural schools. I do know, however, a one-shot land sale won't be a permanent source of funding, and therefore is a sleight-of-hand, funding the schools for maybe a couple years. I'm sure the big environmental lobby groups- like maybe the Sierra Club?- must have a lawyer or policy wonk or two handy who can come up with a suggestion for funding, and maybe they should make it.
Another valid point mentioned in the NPR piece is the schools which will be benefiting are not necessarily in the states in which the land is being sold. That kind of stinks, doesn't it? As does most everything about this deal. Here's the info on how to make your voice heard. And if you have an alternate method of funding up your sleve, share it too. The comment deadline is the end of this month.