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Addition Through Subtraction

Posted on: September 6th, 2011 by Larry

It’s back to school time again and some students will find the experience a little lacking this year. Because of budget cuts, class sizes may be larger, supplies may be fewer and the choice of courses or extracurricular activities may be more limited. To compete in today’s world, the United States can’t afford to skimp on education. But America appears to be in no mood for any more tax increases.

What’s a person to do?

The superintendent of schools in Fresno, California has an answer. Larry Powell says he is going to work another three years, but he is giving up his salary. The sum is more than $800,000! See the video.

Powell will have input into where the money is spent. He wants it to go into programs for kindergarten and preschool, the arts and a project to help B and C students learn better study skills to help them get into college. Powell says he and his family have everything they need, including a six-figure retirement income, and there’s no need to stockpile any more cash.

  • Most of us aren’t in a position to give away $800,000, but have you ever felt compelled to give away an amount of money that was substantial to you? What motivated you to give it away?
  • Powell says he doesn’t need any more money for the rest of his life. But his heirs may have other thoughts on that. Are children due an inheritance? How would you feel if your parents made a decision similar to Powell’s?
  • Powell could have taken his salary, then donated it to worthy causes and received a tax break, but he didn’t. Is it time for the government to stop footing some of the bill for donations?
  • The United States provides a free education to every child in America. Should the government ask something in return, like requiring students to perform community service?