Katie Couric's Notebook: School Budgets

The economic crisis is taking its toll on every corner of the nation, sometimes in unbelievable ways. One suburban Detroit school district is going to start charging teachers for electricity: 32 bucks to plug in a personal coffee pot – $182 for a mini-fridge.

Their schools, like so many others in America, are low on cash, and have already resorted to layoffs and hiring freezes. The reason: State budgets are strapped. Higher unemployment means lower income tax revenue, and empty stores mean less cash from sales tax.

Three-quarters of the states are facing deficits next year: six billion dollars here in New York, five billion in Florida, $26 billion in California.

This serious crisis calls for creative solutions, no doubt. I'd just hate to be that teacher paying $182 to chill the brown bag lunch I brought to work … in order to save money.
  • Katie Couric

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