Wrong side of the Tracks

school busEveryone has heard that saying right? So and so is from the wrong side of the tracks. Well our town has that when it comes to our schooling and the price of living. Our town has roughly 15,000 people in it now. I’d say in the last 10 years or so that’s up by 5,000. We had a huge boom in new construction about 6 years ago. Three years ago they built the 3rd elementary school. We have one on our side of the tracks and 2 on the other now. Since Bailey has started school we have lived on the same side of town and he’s always gone to the same school.

Recently we decided to move, we are on a busy street and there are no kids for Bailey to play with. And we wanted something a little cheaper. That last thing was our 1st mistake. Every single house I found that was around or under the budget we had in place was on the other side of the tracks. No big deal right? I would just drive him to school. Here, you go to the school you live the closest to. I figured just like everyone else figured that Bailey’s school was open enrollment. I was sadly mistaken!

The school funding for our district isn’t fair or even at all. It isn’t given to the district to be divided evenly, it is separately funded. Bailey’s school gets the most. I’m not sure why that is. Is it because the price of living is more expensive on that side of town? I need to get more involved and figure this out. Because Bailey’s school gets the most, they have the most teachers, all the extra programs and it’s NOT open enrollment…for all of those reasons. It would make sense for any parent to want their child to go to the best school. The other two schools don’t offer these programs because they can’t afford them so if your child needs them, what do you do? There are about 1,000 students between the two other schools and about 500 in Bailey’s. Out of that 1,000 kids, how many do you think need that extra help and aren’t getting it? To tell you the truth it pisses me off!

I have a girlfriend who is going through this. They moved to the other side of town and now her son who has learning disabilities isn’t getting the proper education he needs. She’s gone rounds with the principle and the superintendent. So now we are literally stuck on this side of town. We could move on the other side but then we would have to change schools and that isn’t even an option. We’ll pay whatever we have to to ensure a good education for Bailey. I do not think it’s fair though! If I had it my way the funding would be separated evenly within reason, or the kids that needed the extra programs would be bused to the school that offered them. I don’t understand how this is giving our children a fair education. My son is getting it but that’s because we live over here. What about all the kids that live on the other side of the tracks??? Why do they get the short end of the stick? We only need to worry about it for the next two years then they all go to the same middle school. But that’s not the principle here. I think it’s unfair and I don’t understand their thinking behind it.

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16 Responses to Wrong side of the Tracks

  1. SKL says:

    Interesting that it would be so different within a district. Here in my state, the property taxes fund education, county by county. We vote periodically to increase property taxes to fund increasing needs in our local districts. (The schools also get about half of our state income taxes as well as federal money, donations, etc.) But within a given school district, I don’t believe location matters.

    Some years ago, our state supreme court determined that funding the schools with property taxes was unconstitutional, for the reasons you mention. The inner city schools get less base money because most of the high-value houses are in the suburbs. (Of course, the inner city schools do get more money for targeted purposes because they have more kids with this or that problem, and the funding for that is on top of local sources.) In any case, the state hasn’t figured out what to do about the fact that the funding structure is unconstitutional, so there is no change on the horizon.

    I have to say, though, that money isn’t the deciding factor of the quality of education. It’s been proven so many ways. I do feel that the best teachers and administrators will usually gravitate toward the better schools, because the atmosphere is more conducive to actually making a difference and feeling successful at the end of the day. In our state’s big cities, there are “good” areas and “bad” areas within a district, and the school atmosphere and results in the “good” areas is so much better, even though the funding is not greater. For decades, most of the new, innovative schools have been built in the “bad” areas of the districts, and they have every special service you can imagine, yet things only seem to get worse. I could go on a whole rant about what causes these problems (which convinced me not to be a teacher) but I’ll refrain. I’ll just say that in most cases, a child whose parents have and instill a strong value for education will do well in just about any school in this country. When it comes to special services for handicaps and such, I believe every school is required to provide them one way or another, and there is federal/state money for this. The administrators need to be pushed to go after the resources available. Be the squeaky wheel if necessary.

    • nikki says:

      I don’t really think because Bailey’s school has the most money that they also have the best teachers. The other schools don’t offer the programs that certain kids need. Some kids need that more one on one attention or the after school math and reading programs. So in that case some kids aren’t getting the best education for their needs. The brand new school they just built 3 years ago, they can’t even afford to staff it properly. The friend I spoke about in my post had TWO teachers tell her that there was nothing else they could do for her child. WTH is that?? Teachers don’t give up and throw their hands in the air. Now I don’t think that is because of the money issue…I just think frustrated and aren’t educated enough to deal with a child like him. SO my best guess would be to put him back in the school that he had a speech therapist, a good one, and all the help he needed. But because she moved he gets tossed a side. I feel her frustration and thank my lucky stars I’m not going through that!!!! We luckily found a house on the “right side” of the tracks. I’m going to all the meeting with my friend because it’s just not fair. Thanks SKL!!!!

  2. Of course it isn’t fair. All schools should get equal and good funding – but that’s a dream that ain’t going to come true anytime soon. The schools for wealthier kids are always better and have more funding, and the schools that are in poorer parts of cities generally don’t get much funding at all, and definitely not enough to cater to all the children’s needs. It’s a problem.

    • nikki says:

      Oh a huge problem!! If the “poor” kids got the education that the “rich” kids got can you imagine how the drop out rate would go down??!! I’m not saying all inner city kids are drop outs, I’m just saying the rate is higher than outer city kids. It all starts somewhere!

  3. javajunkee says:

    same way in our town. We did have open enrollment. When we moved out here to ruralsville I refused to let my daughter go to the school they were bussed to. Luckily we did have open enrollment. That same school I was driving her to was the same school I ended up yanking her out of ..the last straw was one day I picked her up and the police were hauling out a kid from kindergarten for taking a razor blade to school and threatening students and teachers with it. That was one of the better schools in town. YIKES!
    Homeschooled her for 11 years. I think most schools are in huge trouble. I think they are having trouble finding GOOD teachers almost anywhere. They aren’t paid enough for what they are expected to do.
    So does this mean you aren’t moving?

    • nikki says:

      We are moving, we found a nice quiet house on the same side of town so we’re all good.
      You know I have thought about home school but it’s the social aspect too that Bailey needs. If it came down to safety I wouldn’t hesitate though! That’s horrible…a KINDERGARTENER???? WOW!

      • javajunkee says:

        LOL..ok I had a great big honking post here and then thought..nope I’m going to do my own post about homeschooling on my blog. I haven’t got much else to talk about right now so that might be a good topic…. 🙂

        I am glad you found a house that will work for you and the school you want to use…but don’t totally throw homeschooling out the window. I think YOU would be great at it. More on that later!

  4. starlaschat says:

    I guess I’m not sure of all the why’s, I do know that a lot of times things in life do not make sense and are not fair. Especially to the ones that really need it, and some times it is a money issue. And sometimes the people who have the most money win. I don’t think it’s fair when good things are based on affordability, it leaves out good people. I hope it all works out some how. I know it can be frustrating!

  5. Sue says:

    It doesn’t make sense and isn’t fair. The education system is in as much trouble as the health care system the way people talk these days. In every state, every area, there are problems and no one knows how to fix them. We were just talking this morning at work about education b/c one nurse was bitching how her taxes were going up by $65 a year on her lake home b/c that district just passed a levy last night. That district is also the least funded district out of all the surrounding schools, but no one knows why. They even get less $ per student than the school my kids go to and our school is in rough shape! And where do you go with questions or concerns? The school board? Your legislature? Ha! Not here, our legislature couldn’t even balance the budget in all the months they were at work, they wouldn’t be able to tackle the education crisis. How sad is that?

  6. SKL says:

    I’ll say it again, they’ve tried but they have never found a correlation between $ spent per student and educational results.

    It’s all about attitude at home and at school. No amount of $ can change that. If anything, the more money they pump into a bad-attitude school, the worse things get.

    The elementary school I went to had a lot less per-capita funding than the local public schools, including significantly lower teacher salaries, yet our results were stellar in comparison. Because the students cared about their academic performance.

    I support schools in India and Guatemala where they spend less on a whole classroom in a year than we spend per student in a week, yet those kids acquire knowledge far more effectively than even our kids in “better” neighborhoods.

    Nobody wants to take ownership of the results in struggling schools. Everyone points the finger at someone else. That’s the same as not caring.

    There are many times when I think home-schooling or parochial education is the way to go for my girls. But I really want my kids to experience a diverse school environment (not to mention use their ed. fund for graduate school, not 1st grade), so I continue to ponder the pros and cons.

  7. Just a Mom says:

    I have major problems with public schools. Trust me I have tried to figure out their thinking but I just can’t and it is designed that way. My oldest daughter has gone to public school K-3, Catholic School 4-5, public school 6-7 1/2, home school 7 1/2-8 and is now in public high school. She will tell you up front that she learned more from the Catholic school and from being home schooled than she has in public school.
    My youngest daughter has only gone to Catholic school. She is in the 4th grade and they are actually learning what the public school kids are learning in 5th grade.
    Our Catholic school says it costs $2,500 per student to educate them while our public school claims it costs $5,365 per student. Makes no sense to me!

  8. Joy says:

    Boy, I don’t understand this AT ALL. It stumps me all to hell that one school in a district has all these programs WITHIN the same district. Working in the system, I do know that they often times offer programs in the most needed buildings but if another child needs that service, they are bused to that school for that year. Like when Jason went for that year between Kindergarten and 1st grade, he had to be bused to the school it was located in. It wasn’t our neighborhood building.

    I’m with SKL on this, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and if you want your voice heard, you HAVE TO go to school board meetings. They have one each month and the public is always welcome to go. Round up people who are upset and go in a big group. They WILL listen to a group. Believe me, the school board hates those meetings and just want to get home. If there is a big turnout, they hate it and will bend over backwards to make those squeaky wheels go away. Trust me. The school board knew me and you know what, I’m damn proud of that. I fought hard for my kids and you have to also. If nobody is complaining about this, they may have NO idea that people are unhappy. If people just shrug their shoulders thinking this is unfair but don’t say anything, how do they know?

    But this is not fair and I also don’t think it’s about the money or the funding. They are simply doing what they consider, the easy thing to do because they may not know people are this upset if they aren’t told IN A PUBLIC meeting. I mean it is easier not to have bus schedules to change and keeping track of everyone, this is easier for them. Remember, those board members are voted in and if they want to continue, they have to try and make YOU happy to be reinstated.

  9. Gary says:

    It’s really not fair and we have the same problems here where I live. There is no open enrollment in ANY of the schools here and all the funding is given out evenly.

    We have decided to send our youngest to a private school and be done with it. 😀

    • nikki says:

      I guess we’ll just wait and see. So far Baileys school has had to cancel summer school but Bailey never went anyway. I just hope they don’t have to get rid of their after school programs. TWO more years then we’re golden…middle school and we only have ONE! Good luck with Logan, how does he like it so far?

      • Gary says:

        He doesn’t start school until this fall, but thanks Nikki!

        I’ll keep my fingers crossed that after school programs aren’t cut! That’s a real drag!

  10. SKL says:

    My personal pet peeve is that my kids’ future elementary school is over 3 miles away, even though there is another elementary school much closer (some weird way of defining districts). They could bike or walk to the closer school, but there’s no way they could get themselves to the further school safely. Some things just make no sense at all.

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