I haven’t heard anything about Boston kicking in for the portion of the school that is used by their residents. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/METCO says that the busing program was set up in 1966. At the time the suburbs were rich and the cities were poor. So it would have made sense for Lincoln taxpayers to subsidize the comparatively poor taxpayers of Boston by paying capital costs.Today the situation is reversed. A high-end parking space in Boston is worth more than a low-end residence in Lincoln (see https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenparis/2017/11/29/garage-condominium-sales-remain-strong-on-bostons-beacon-hill/#302ad30f1532 ). That’s a big switch compared to 1966 when METCO was established (the Forbes article says that parking spaces that sold for $7,500 in 1979 were up to $400,000 by 2017).https://boston.curbed.com/maps/boston-most-expensive-homes-for-sale-winter-2018 shows condos and townhouses in Boston from $6.3 million (2,517 square feet) to $16 million (5,703 square feet). So Boston has a lot more rich people than Lincoln and the rich taxpayers of Boston are much richer than anyone in Lincoln. But maybe the METCO funding concept hasn’t kept up with this change since 1966? Or middle-class people in Lincoln enjoy paying higher taxes so that people who own $16 million condos can pay lower taxes?[How do the $16 million condo owners run their own schools’ physical plant? Boston Latin School, the #1 high school in the state (see US News), operates within a structure built in 1922. It was renovated in 2001 and, apparently, a lot of the funds were raised through private donations.]
METCO students come from families with higher income levels than the Boston
population at large
I wonder if the income of METCO families is relevant, though. If Lincoln taxpayers did not subsidize each student’s education with roughly $18,000 per year (the difference between our per-pupil spending and what METCO reimburses), it wouldn’t be the METCO family that paid tuition elsewhere. It would be the Boston taxpayers who would pay for the student to be educated within Boston, including any costs for school renovation or construction.
Since it is the richest people who pay the most in property tax, wouldn’t it make sense to look at Lincoln’s spending on METCO as a subsidy to Boston’s richest residents? Essentially each METCO student that we pay to educate enables a wealthy Bostonian to enjoy a vacation with first class tickets to Paris and a stay at the Hôtel de Crillon. [Boston has a substantially lower property tax rate, both per resident and per dollar of property value, than Lincoln.]
Is this a good example of a general rule that every do-gooding program in the U.S. that is designed for rich people to subsidize poor people ends up becoming middle class people subsidizing rich people? The biggest property tax payors in Boston are the owners of downtown skyscrapers. Those folks could be billionaires in China or Manhattan, right? Why is there popular support for paying more in tax so that these billionaires can pay less?
- Social Security: How do you run a retirement system for people who spend like drug dealers? (it was set up as progressive, but no longer is)
- Lincoln School Improvement Committee (web site I set up after a town official banned me from the town mailing list following my questions about apparent discrepancies between a 2012 and a 2017 report on the condition of the existing school building)