Doing what’s right for ALL the kids

I’ve always stood behind public schools. Maybe because I worked in one for so many years. Maybe because I’ve had pretty good luck with them and my boys were happy there “for the most part.” I’m not really sure. It was hard getting Toby through elementary school but that wasn’t the schools fault. I blame the people who “evaluated” him and put him in special ed without my permission and then wouldn’t let him out. That’s another post!!

We live in one of the poorest school districts in the state. It’s sad really. We recently voted to pass a referendum that the school desperately needed. The last time we voted for one, it got blasted down with a big fat NO and the school has been operating on the same amount of money since 2006. Since then here are just a few things that have been cut.

*Reduced office staff and /or frozen salaries* I have been a secretary in a building and I was one of 4. There is only ONE of them at the elementary school. ONE!! This ONE person has to answer phones, take lunch count, do all the principal’s work and many, many more things and she’s all by herself. To everyone, whether you believe this or not, the secretary runs the building and to me, ONE??? Can’t imagine.

*Cut the equivalent of 10 and one half teachers* This has left the younger grades of having 25-30 students per class. I feel that’s way to high for those young grades. It’s not so bad in higher grades but the younger the kids, the smaller the class size should be in my opinion.

*Started to charge for all day/every day kindergarten* This is the one that kills me the most. How can you charge people for this? I know someone who can’t afford this and her child can only go every other day. How does this make them equal to their peers when they enter 1st grade? How does this make the child feel? Most kids love school when they start and I’m sure they ask “do I go to school tomorrow?” I know Christopher does. He loves school days. Do these parents say they just can’t afford it? It sure doesn’t seem like a good thing to cut to me. How much does it affect the other kids who have to play “catch up” for them when they do go to 1st grade?

*Cut four paraprofessionals* I know a Para there and have talked to her and I’m not even getting into this one. The extreme special ed kids get the Para’s now and it’s the average students who’re going to suffer and maybe just get over looked. A child who may just need a little help with this or that is going to be ignored and hopefully they have parents who will take over this and help their children.

*Reduced supply budget* I’m going to let Sue tell you what she has to send with the kids each year/month.

*Increased student activities fees by 50% and increased ticket prices*

These are just some of the small things that have been cut in this school district since we moved here in 95. Well, the vote got a NO again. The vote was 49% yes and 51% no. I heard people say “I don’t want my taxes to go up.” “My kids aren’t in school anymore” and “I don’t have kids in public school.”

Don’t you feel we are all responsible for our young kids? Why is it people only seem to care when they have a child in a school? Paul and I went out on a cold and rainy night to vote YES. We didn’t have to. Yes we have grandchildren in this district but we would have done it anyway. How can we possibly make this world a better place if we don’t rank education right up there on top and want the best for the kids we are rearing? I don’t understand why people don’t seem to care about this. Whether you home school or go the private school route, what about the kids who don’t have the choice of that advantage? I feel we all need to help those that have no choice.

When we walked in and saw the people in line, we knew it was going to get a NO. The people were all seniors. We knew! Being the vote was so close; there may be another vote in a few months. I pray it will pass for the kids. Every other day Kindergarten for people who can’t afford to pay appalls me.

It wasn’t even like they’re talking a huge amount of money. Even if it was, if we don’t make our schools a better place, what will happen in the future? This district will close and the town will die off and everyone will wonder what happened.

Stop passing the buck and give these kids a break I say.

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40 Responses to Doing what’s right for ALL the kids

  1. SKL says:

    I feel that with the economy the way it is now, everyone has to cut corners. Households and businesses have to do it. I don’t understand why schools and other government-run entities should not have to do it too.

    In my job, I don’t have any administrative assistance. I have to do everything myself from copying to answering phones to taking out the garbage. Same is true of the most senior partner here. With more things being computerized nowadays, I don’t feel the same level of administrative assistance should be needed as was the case 10+ years ago.

    When I was a kid, we had 28 students per class and almost nobody had extra help. I really don’t think it hurt anything. The slum schools I support in India have larger classes than that, and they are achieving in 3-4 languages more then the average US public school kid achieves in just English. I just don’t believe class size is that big of a determinant, other than in intensive “special ed” classes.

    Materials. I just took out the garbage today so it reminded me how much is used by schools (yes, even my kids’ preschool class), and I think it’s a disgrace. With all the “green” movement and all, schools need to reduce the amount of paper and such that they use. I don’t need to see daily evidence that my kid is able to smear finger paint on a paper, or dozens of sheets of scribbling per week. Why can’t they reduce, reuse, and recycle like everyone else? It ought to be a mandate. And my kids’ teacher sends home these notes asking me to send in stuff like toilet paper rolls – yeah, I keep a ready supply of those in my closet, doesn’t everyone? Get creative, folks. Try using reusable materials, recycle within the classroom, write on the backs of the papers, etc. I bet they could save a lot of money if they really tried.

    Kindergarten. My kid sister was in a program that was 2 full days and a half day. That was for everyone. When I was a kid, I only went a half day. We all learned to read and do sums by age 5. Again, I believe there is a quantity vs. qaulity disconnect here.

    And finally, I don’t believe that every child needs to have whatever every other child has. It has never been like that anywhere, yet the kids “without” have managed to learn how to read, and that’s what matters. Schools, teachers, parents need to focus on the core goal of teaching those basic skills. The bells and whistles can and should be eliminated when the economy isn’t roaring.

  2. javajunkee says:

    the bells and whistles never should have got started because now the ones with bells and whistles can’t function without them.
    This is a tough one for me. I think the whole public school system needs a great big dump and start over. I just don’t know about this one as we homeschooled. I realize everybody doesn’t have that want or feel for it. I don’t think that I should pay to have joe smiths public schooled kids be in every after school program there is. Where we live they don’t even call it property tax because we rent the land we live what did they choose to call it? A school tax ..which has always rubbed me wrong…and I said..I don’t want to pay this kids aren’t in the school system..but guess what I still have to pay it every year so I look at it as we already do more as all the taxes out here where we live go to the school system.
    I just don’t know about this one. I guess I am on the fence and can see both sides of it.

  3. Joy says:

    I guess what I’m saying is with the increase of inflation, the school has been operating on the same amount of money since 2006. It’s not like they have “less” money, it just hasn’t risen and they’ve had to cut $788.450 out of the budget.

    It’s also my understanding that the district must use over $400.000 from other programs to finance unfunded special education mandates.

    I don’t want “more” for my school, I just want the normal things. My boys only went to Kindergarten half days every day but it was like that for all the kids. I just feel in all fairness, it’s the kids we should think about. Also, if you want to think about the parents, do you realize how hard it is to find daycare for people to work full time but the kids only go to school part time? Some daycare providers don’t want “part time” kids. This I realize is a choice a parent makes but there are more two working parent families now than not so I’m thinking this could be a real problem.

    I can see if you’ve never had to use the public school system that it would irk you to have a referendum pass but I’m thinking of all the kids who’s parent can’t or won’t home-school them. Also for the people who’ve already put kids through the school system, don’t you feel like they “owe” it back? The economy was different even 10 years ago and the money wasn’t this short so help out this time. I’m only thinking about the kids here.

    • SKL says:

      The thing is, most families have less money now, so how are they supposed to find the money for more taxes? Myself, I am doing OK but my sister has been unemployed for almost a year, so I am helping her out, as well as my ex-nanny who had to take a lower-paying job when I put my kids in preschool. And the charities I support have greater needs. And the federal government has made it very clear that I will be paying higher income taxes in the near future. Oh, and unlike income taxes, property taxes have to be paid even by unemployed and retired people. And most people kissed a lot of their savings goodbye in the financial disaster of the past year or so. So what I’m saying is, anyone who still has as much money as they had a few years ago is doing GREAT compared to many/most Americans. I feel the pie has gotten smaller, and it isn’t fair for the school to demand a bigger piece of a smaller pie.

      As far as the part-time KG goes, I think parents should be glad that they have the option to pay for the other half of the time, versus having to find alternative care (like most people do). People need to recognize that the free full-day KG is basically a childcare subsidy from taxpayers. Rather than focus on why this is being taken away, the parents should be happy that they had this luxury up until now. Half-time KG and daycare has always been a dilemma for parents. At some point, parents need to accept that there’s a cost to raising kids, and it’s their responsibility to work it out. When times are good, the community’s prosperity can spill over in the form of subsidized services, but that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

      I also think that people will be more willing to vote for a levy (i.e., essentially give a donation) if they see inspiring results from the school. Has the school been using its budget wisely and providing an above-average education, sending a high percentage of kids to good colleges, keeping drugs and violence and sex out of the schools? Do they maintain a positive relationship with the community? If not, how can they expect taxpayers to, in effect, throw more good money after bad – especially during hard times?

      I have to admit that I voted “no” on the school levies this fall. The levies were for “increases” and the things they said they would have to cut were luxuries in my opinion. Which means, my generation managed to get a good education without most of those services. Even if I personally could afford a couple hundred more per year, I couldn’t vote to saddle the whole community with that. If I personally want to support the schools, I can always write a personal check. (But more likely, I’ll do my part by making sure my kids know how to study, interact, and behave in school.)

  4. Nikki says:

    This is hard for me too because on one hand yes we are all being affected by this crashing economy. I can see why people who do not have children in school wouldn’t want to pay for it.
    Now on the other hand, I’ve always been more than willing to NOT eat to insured my son a good education and the right programs. Our district isn’t even close to as bad as yours but they are cutting programs, summer school is out, which is fine because when I went I can remember it being more of a daycare than anything! Lunch prices have gone up and I know the list of supplies needed was a whole lot longer than most years! I’m okay with that if it helps my son in the long run. I spent $50 alone on supplies and that didn’t count the backback.
    We have 4 elementary schools in our town and the one Bailey goes to is the only one that offers the extra programs. The other schools aren’t even willing to work with parents with kids with special needs. I have a friend who right now has her house up for sell just to move back across the railroad tracks! I’ve said this before, distric money should be fair to each school. When we were looking for houses I HAD to make sure we stayed on this side of town, in turn we pay more for our house.
    I’ve always and will always stand behind the children, they ARE our future. Mine, ours, everyones…they all deserve the same chance!

  5. Nikki says:

    The paying for Kindergarden is probably the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of! That is not fair to the parents that can’t afford it….it’s not fair to the kids. I really hope they vote again soon and it passes!!!!! I’d vote yes for ya if I could!!!!

  6. Just a Mom says:

    Great post Joy! I have one child in public school high school and one in private elementary/junior high so I see both sides of the coin.
    If they have not had an increase since 2006 then they really need one!
    I don’t have a problem paying more taxes for the school districts as long as it goes to educating the kids. A few years back we had a bond for $22 million for a new district stadium to be upgraded! Not even for a NEW stadium just for upgrades! That is when I get mad and vote No.
    Also I think it is very important to look at these issues whether you have kids in the public system or not. These kids are our future. They will be running the government, providing health care and teaching the next generation of kids, so they deserve the best we can give them in my opinion!

  7. SKL says:

    By the way, I don’t want you to think I don’t care about every child’s education. I have been an education freak since I was a kid. I would love to save the world, one literate child at a time. But I don’t think we are getting enough bang for our buck in the US public schools. Something is badly amiss and more money isn’t going to fix it. It never has, and it never will. In fact, it seems that every time they pump a ton of new money into schools, standards go down instead of up.

    We need a whole new educational philosophy.

  8. Joy says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking about this and Paul, Toby, Sue and I have talked about it endlessly since we were praying it would pass. It’s just that people get so funny about higher property taxes and so many people have the attitude “I don’t want to pay for it” so therefore, it doesn’t pass. We’ve gone to long without a cost of living increase.

    You know what else just kills me about this district is that the older people who live in town LIVE for the school activities. You should see grandparent’s day and all the school concerts. You have be there so early or risk walking for a mile. They all attend the Christmas concerts and special days they have and I doubt they even have kids in the school but they like to go. They like the socializing of it and yet they don’t want to pay for the things the kids need.

    I guess what bothers me the most about the Kindergarten program is the unfairness of it. I guess a big part of me feels that if some of the kids wouldn’t be able to go full time, maybe everyone should only go full time every other day. It just doesn’t seem fair to the kids who have to stay home because of money.

    • SKL says:

      I agree that they shouldn’t offer full-time “classes” only for some who can pay. That’s kind of at odds with the concept of public education. But I could see offering a half-day daycare service for pay, as long as the kids are not getting a different public school curriculum than the half-day KG kids get. Did I just make any sense? I mean, the kids with money shouldn’t be in a public school KG learning to read chapter books, while the other kids are in a different public school KG learning their ABCs.

      Maybe they ought to start charging the seniors more for attending the school programs. If they threaten to do that, do you think the vote would pass next time? Or, does the community want to subsidize the seniors’ social lives as well (an understandable desire)? We do have to remember that the seniors didn’t get a COLI this year either. And who’s to say they will get one in the near future?

      • Joy says:

        They don’t charge to get into any programs at school. Maybe they should.

        • SKL says:

          Yeah, they generally charge where my parents live. It’s a great way to raise money, because a lot of people are guilted into it – can’t say no to Little Johnny! It’s usually a nominal amount, but it adds up.

      • mssc54 says:

        Screw the seniors and their COLI! We already subsidize thier medications! Maybe they should just put a track around the local elementary school and tell the Olf Farts to exercise more because we are going to take their Rx money and put it towards the schools! Haha – But NOOOOOOOO, don’t take away THEIR free stuff.

        • SKL says:

          They already cut Medicare in favor of SCHIP or whatever the heck it is.

          Personally, I feel seniors need government help more than kids, because most kids have parents who can work harder to give them what they need, but sadly, a large % of seniors have nobody who cares enough to give them substantive help.

          • mssc54 says:

            Maybe if they had payed attention in economics class while THEY were being educated they could have planned better for their twilight years. 🙂

            I guess it gets right back to education. 😉

            I can’t believe you realize how pattently offensive it is for you to say that it is the children who should be penalized because their ADULT parents are slack. I quite imagine that there are many things children wish their parents would do better/differently. But sadly they just get what they can. After all not many 4-10 year olds have much say on their upbringing nor do they get to choose their parents.

            • SKL says:

              MSSC, you are talking about a very small % of kids, and I am all for helping those kids. The money that was taken from Medicare was to expand the programs to cover kids (and young adults) who are far better off than the ones on whose behalf you are so offended.

              Unless it is your opinion that all children in this country should be provided for by the government just in case they might have idiots for parents. (Well, all except my kids, who of course deserve nothing.) You are entitled to your opinion, but I’m pretty sure you are in the minority in this country. Not because we’re all selfish bastards, but because public assistance rarely improves lives – not even the kids’ lives. Again, it’s been tried, it’s failed; time for some new ideas.

              • mssc54 says:

                I guess it depends on what you mean by a small percentage of kids.

                While I may agree that the percentage of parents who are grossly neglectful I would, at the same time, argue that at least half (perhaps more) of the students come from either broken-homes, single (never married) mothers or blended families. These life styles bring with them a whole set of other challenges that children have to work through (emotionally, psychologically and perhaps even physically). All of these are brought into the classsroom and then we expect our teachers to be Social Workers on top of what they are already educated to do. We keep pileing things on to the teacher and then wonder why it is that they seem to need more.

                Incidentally, I’ll bet when you were in school there wasn’t a full time police officer at the middle and highschool.

                • SKL says:

                  MSSC, the problem you highlight is, as you say, “we expect our teachers to be social workers.” Whose bright idea was this? Is it a given or can we change it? If, as I believe, this is not ideal for the teachers, the schools, or the students, then is a school levy going to fix this? Or is a school levy just going to maintain the undesireable status quo? The answer is obvious.

                  And as for kids having to work through things – yes, and so what? My kids have to “work through” the fact that they were unplanned, relinquished for adoption, have no dad, etc. It’s complicated. But it doesn’t mean their school has to teach them differently. I think it would be worse for them if the school did that. (In fact, when I heard there is a “mandatory” ESL test administered to students who were internationally adopted, I about blew a gasket.)

  9. mssc54 says:

    Well I have alot of public school experience. Our children range in ages from 29, 25, 20, 7 and 5. So since we our first three girls are 4.5 yerars apart in age we got to spend 19 straight years in a row with a child in a public school. Now with our new kids we have one in K5 and second grade.

    Class size is crucial when it comes to an education. I agree with Joy on this point (especially with the younger/youngest students). Any class with more than about 20-22 students in K4-2nd grade the child’s education will take a hit.

    Sure, sure I know the ol montra “Well when I was in school…” Yeh right, but when the “Well when I was in school” crowd WAS actually in school I dare say that some of the biggest concerns were students chewing gum, passing notes and throwing spitballs. Also “back in the day” there were more homes with in tact birth mother and father in the home. Now a days it is more common for children to have either a single parent or be a member of a so-called “blended family.” Many parents today rely on the government to educate their children (after all that’s why they pay their taxes. Right?) They don’t view it as their responsibility. It’s the teacher’s/schools’ fault. These same parents also rely on the churches to teach their children values (after all that’s why they bring them to church. Right? These parents believe that they are supposed to be their kid’s friend. If they don’t learn moral values it’s the pastor’s/church’s faualt.

    The attitude of I got a good education when I was in schooo and we had less so therefore the schools today should do it with less too is so…. Juniorhigh-ish. Get over yourself.

    The fact of the matter is that children are not being educated 20 or 30 years ago. Today’s school climate is totally different. It IS up to each local community to educate their children. Period!

    Smart money will bet that the same people who voted NO on school funding are the very same voter/citizens who are bitching about the crime rate, high unemployment and “those people” who live in the “bad section” of town.

    How in the world do you expect young people to find a decent job if they can’t read, write or do basic math? What do you think these young people will do when they want something (much less NEED something). They are going to TAKE IF FROM THOSE OF US WHO DO HAVE AN EDUCATION AND A JOB!

    How many of those NO voters do you think have given any of their time or labor to their local schools? Likely not many.

    Now having said all that, I think there are places where schools can cut some fat. It certainly IS NOT in the classroom. Start with some of the paper pushers sitting behind desks in the District Offices. If you cut a few of those 100k plus annual salries you could buy a whole lot of supplies, fix a few roofs, etc.

    So, in closing, just climb up on your well educated high-horse, sit on your arsses and complain about how high your taxes are and the schools… yadda, yadda, yadda.

    In the mean time build more prisons ’cause you’ll need them.

    • SKL says:

      You know what, I have paid for the education of more kids who are not my own than the vast majority of people in this country. I have also volunteered literally thousands of hours in schools. I’ve donated money and books to schools and education-related programs many, many times. Don’t ask me to get off my high horse.

      Where are all these kids who are well-educated as a result of the small classrooms and extra teachers we’ve had in recent years? Why do fewer and fewer young adults show up at college with the ability to read and write grown-up material? Why has it been years since I received a resume and cover letter without obvious mistakes?

      I live in an area which has a high poverty level, yet the amount they spend on public schools is also quite high. At the same time, anyone who can possibly afford it (and I mean working-class people) are trying to send their kids to charter schools, parochial schools, anywhere but the public schools. Because the philosophy of the public schools sucks. Maybe it’s because of the unions – but that’s a topic for another day. We spend more per pupil than any country in the world. Yet the functional illiteracy rate in our high schools is scandalous. How can you seriously say that money is the answer?

      And furthermore, nobody is stopping you from donating money to (or volunteering for) schools and education-related projects. Go for it! But who are you to declare that everyone else can afford it, or should be forced to pay it against their principles?

      • mssc54 says:

        In answer to your secnd paragraph please see the third paragraph of my original comment.

        I think it is just reprohensable to REQUIRE a child to attend school and then not provide the NECESSARY staff, supplies and facilities in which to educate them.

        While there MAY be enough money in a specific school district to educate a student that does NOT mean that the money makes it all the way down to the end user… the student. (see the 9th paragraph of my original comment).

        And don’t try to throw that red herring “we spend more money than any other country on education” either. You may also be aware that we also have the highest standard of living than another country too. Are you also willing to give up your hot/cold running water, indoor plumbing, etc.?

        Now regarding the final paragraph in your latest comment. I have donated money, services and time for many, many years. I have “gone forit.” Although voting to spend more money on education is a bitter pill to swallow (even for me) it is better to spend money on schools than prisons.

        In the end BEFORE we vote YES or NO on school bonds we should at in the very least becme involved in how each of our local school districts are spending their money. If we just vote NO on the principle of “I don’t want to or can’t pay higher taxes” then why not stand on those same principles when it comes to ALL government so-called “entitlement” programs? Is it better to have taxes taken out of my check so women can live in public housing, have 4 children by 4 different fathers, get free groceries, internet and cell phones or would that money be better spent educating their children. If you are going to stick to your principles then stick to them. 🙂

        But like I said, in the mean time build more prisons. Just look at the crime rates.

        • SKL says:

          MSSC, maybe those of us who “could” afford to give more money to the schools aren’t voting “no” out of selfishness. Maybe we are voting no because we don’t trust the schools to spend the money the way they should – as you admit is a very reasonable concern. You don’t help anything by insulting others just because they don’t agree with your preferred method of addressing the problems.

          And no, I’m sorry, I don’t see how having a non-traditional family should make the cost of an average child’s education skyrocket. But if that is the case, by golly, I’d better start saving up, because my kids are in a heap of trouble. OMG.

          One of the projects I donate to is an Indian orphanage. These are girls who were dumped on a pile of filth at birth. They would blow American public school kids away academically and behaviorally. And they don’t have a fraction of the opportunity US kids have the privilege of working toward. You talk about getting over myself. I’m so sick of excuses in this country.

          By the way, when I went to school, most of my classmates weren’t children of the Cleavers, either. We look at the past through rose-colored glasses, but it wasn’t all pleasant and secure. But the adults handled things differently in those days. That’s not something a larger school budget is going to solve. Admit it, that has been tried and failed.

        • SKL says:

          Oh, and MSSC, I don’t think you’ll find me advocating more money for entitlement programs. Not sure where you got that idea. I think all in all, entitlements for able-bodied people AND THEIR CHILDREN ruin lives. Out of compassion, I am fine with giving the kids some healthy, inexpensive food to eat and maybe some second-hand clothes to wear. But nothing can possibly help them more than seeing their parents – and eventually themselves – held accountable.

          • mssc54 says:

            Well finally… some common ground. lol

            HOWEVER, what would holding these children’s parents accountable look like and how would it (in the short term) benefit their children…. if they retain custody that is.

    • Joy says:

      I agree that for me at least, things couldn’t be more different from when I went to school. Skipping school was the worst thing I could have done. There is so much on the teachers now with medications,special ed (the way it is now), violence, allergies and god forbid you try and discipline, then you’re dealing with the parents too of “perfect” children. It’s hard for them and unless you are in a school with any regularity, you’d see that one secretary in a building is unheard of and losing 4 para’s is a lot. I can’t really talk about the para’s. It wouldn’t be right under the confidentiality deal. But, sadly it affects the kids who don’t need them “as much.” Some kids just need a “little” help and sadly those are the ones who don’t get it. The severely handicapped kids will get those para’s.

      • SKL says:

        I understand your point about the para’s, but about what’s different in schools today, I don’t understand how any of that has anything to do with money.

        You know, maybe more people would volunteer in schools if the environment was more conducive to it. That’s what I did for most of those thousands of hours I was talking about – I worked with primary-age kids, mostly in regular classrooms, who needed some one-on-one to get up-to-par with their peers. There are a lot of people out there who would be happy to do this if the school environment were conducive to it.

        Which reminds me, and maybe here is an idea. In our community, we have an organization called “RSVP” which is something like “retired and senior volunteer program.” They do a lot of tutoring in the schools for just those types of kids. Maybe something like that would fly in your community, since you say the seniors are “into” the schools. Then the kids wouldn’t be hurt by the loss of those paid “paras.”

  10. javajunkee says:

    just my two cents…let’s stop all the goofy shooting at the moon and crap and put ALL of that money into the school systems. That’s my idea! We can take 1 or two less fewer shuttles into space looking for God knows what..and put that money down here where it belongs.

    • Just a Mom says:

      Umm.. let’s not go with that plan and say we did! I live in the Johnson Space Center area (it’s 15 minutes away from my house) and that would kill this entire community!

      • javajunkee says:

        one wrong move on their part and it could kill a whole lot more than your community 🙂 Sorry..I’m not a big space the final frontier woman! But that’s not what this topic is about so we can save that for another time 🙂

  11. Joy says:

    I think volunteering is wonderful but you can’t count on that and sometimes volunteers just are in the way. You couldn’t put an EBD kid with a senior citizen for the day. One on one with kids on special projects is great but serious kids, maintaing routines is the only way some kids can maintain behaviorally. I can’t even imagine what an autistic child would be like with a volunteer. Of course if the volunteer came everyday and treated this like a job, it might work but those kids need things to stay the same. They hate change. They fall apart when things change. Subs can really throw them through a loop.

    I didn’t mean to start such a debate. I was just writing what I wish would happen in our district. Volunteering won’t fix most of what I think is wrong.

    • SKL says:

      I was thinking of volunteers for the kids who are about to lose the “para’s,” and others who are merely behind, not for the “serious kids” (I thought you said their services were not being taken away).

      Not to be argumentative, but I do think it’s time for schools to take a more serious look at integrating volunteers, given the combination of budget cuts and increased unemployment. I mean, folks are out there with nothing better to do. Maybe figure out a way (through donations, etc.) to give grocery store / gasoline gift cards to folks who help out. Even if it’s just helping keep the teachers and kids organized, so the teachers can focus on teaching. But having been a reading tutor, I feel it really makes a difference for people to give a bit of themselves to these kids. It is so motivating, and often just a few minutes of one-on-one can help get their minds thinking in a more productive way. It won’t solve every problem, but it could solve some.

  12. Sue says:

    Wow! I’ve missed quite an argument! What’s really sad about this referendum that didn’t pass in my district is that property taxes would have still been lower than they were last year when we were still paying for the “new” elementary school. By new I mean the school that was built in 1989 when I was still there.

    The referendum was for operating costs for the district. It was to heat the building, light the building, clean the building, have water and working toilets. The school district cannot control the cost of power so it’s only obvious that at some point they’ll need more money to operate. It was also to keep the current number of employees and not have to fire anyone else. Each grade in the elementary school has 2 teachers max. (The exception being this years 3rd grade b/c they have 85-90 kids in the grade and who can justify having only 2 sections?) That kind of operations.

    We already pay for all of our sporting events. $6 adults, $2 for students to go to the high school games. We’ve always paid to be in sports, but in the recent years it’s gone way up. Our local Sports Booster Club has taken on most of the responsibility for any type of extra curricular sport. So, if you want to play you pay.

    As for the free KG. I think we all know it’s not “free”, it’s paid for by the budget, we get that. I was told by our preschool teachers when my daughter was getting ready for KG that if they don’t go all day every day they will be behind the kids that did. For a teacher to tell you that, it should be a no brainer then to offer it. I do know that the teachers are concerned for next year as to how much difference there will be in the kids. Yes, I know that there’s always a difference in kids b/c every one learns different and at different paces, but don’t we want them to have the advantage. This year, our son could have gone to KG for $200 a month in the public school. No if’s an’s or but’s. You could either pay it or not. There isn’t a sliding scale, there isn’t help available. Well, that $200 a month per child is paying the salary of the KG teacher straight up. We’ve lost children to neighboring districts that still offer “Free” KG, but even those districts will be charging a fee in the future. Believe it or not, I could send my child to the private Catholic school for less money a year, but I have no way to get him there. Or home, or anywhere in between so that leaves us with one option. Public school. Yes, I know all the counter arguments, I’m just stating what’s happening in our district.

    Our referendum lost by 27 votes. 27. Our district is in a rural community where most of the families live OUTSIDE of town which means most of the families live just as close to another district who may offer more. That doesn’t bode well for the future of our district. Oh, I should also say that our referendum, compared to neighboring school disctricts, was asking the least amount of which the state fund would pay 43% of the referendum.

    You can argue about the poor economy all you want. You can argue that pushing more money at schools doesn’t really help and that it’s ok for some to go without. That’s fine and I understand that point of view. I don’t believe kids or anyone should get a hand out just because or to make “life fair”. We all know life isn’t fair, but if we can’t give our kids the best possible path to succeed then that leaves the not so successful path. I also believe parents have to be involved with their child’s education. You must take responsibility and so must your child, but we need someone in the classroom to help those kids that don’t have that support at home.

    Oh, I also need to add that we have GREAT volunteer numbers for our school. You do see the senior citizens helping the “in-between” kids. You see the classroom helpers. You see the helpers in the office who are doing lots of stuff for nothing. Volunteers have never been short in our district, but the actual support for dedicated funds has. We have to invest in the people who are one day going to be wiping our butts and making sure we take our life saving medications.

    • Sue says:

      Oh, I want to add that if I have grammar mistakes I apologize!

    • SKL says:

      My comments may be tainted by experiences in my area and others that I’ve read about. Maybe in your area, the schools are more responsible with the money they receive.

    • Joy says:

      Thanks Sue, you said it so much better than me. Why didn’t you write this post???

      • Sue says:

        I think we’ve been responsible to a point, but there are some things that I’m sure I would say, what do you need that for b/c I got along without it, while someone else would say, that’s what got me through. The sad truth is you can’t please everyone and everyone thinks they have the best answer! I really do worry about the future of my children’s education with the current district and I’m not sure how much more we can cut. There were informative meetings held before the vote on Nov 3 and guess what? 2 couples showed up to one of those meetings. 2. No, I did not go b/c I can understand the flyer that was sent out and I was voting yes and all the info was right there for you. However, if you had any questions, this would have been the perfect opportunity to have them answered. And 2 couples showed up. What does that say about the support for our school? It’s pretty loud and clear to me 😦

        • Joy says:

          I know when I was in charge of the Science Center in Minnetonka, the budget was one of the things that made me the most mad. I had to order things I didn’t need or want in order to “use” the budget so it wouldn’t get cut. That center could have run on a lot less money the few years I worked there. So many people think if you don’t spend the whole thing, you’ll lose it. That used to really get to me. They would order things ahead of time and if the unit changed, you’d sit there with all those supplies and they just went to waste. I think budgets should be redone much more often than they are.

  13. wow quite an argument (sorry, discussion). We can’t hold parents fully accountable! That isn’t right.

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