Thursday, June 05, 2008

democracy is not pretty

Guilt sent us scrambling to get to the district budget meeting today. I had sort of forgotten about it until after school, and by then Weather Boy was headed to the dentist, and I had not prepped for a speedy dinner. So we inhailed in marathon time and turned around and headed for the SCC. Twenty-five or so hearty souls showed up, along with a few out of district administrators. After two hours of question and explanation, we passed the thirteen articles by an average of 22-0.

I guess the part that bothers me is the rote nature of it all. We have to vote because our country is a democracy, but because we're a representative democracy, we don't have much say about what we are voting on. The general sense of the few of us in the room is we would have paid to put at least some of the cut positions back into the budget, but that is not an option. We either say yes to what the school board has determined, or no. No suggestions, no changes. They have to ask us what we think, but can't really do much with any response beyond the lowest level of Blooms'. (Is anyone else with me on the irony here?)

There are other articles on which we have to vote, but we're really committed to the money, weather we say yes or no. If the rest of the towns in the vocational region say yes to paying their share, then even if we say no, we pay anyway. So why add a fifteen minute argument about something we can't change to an already lengthy evening?

So now, we all get to vote in our respective towns on Tuesday saying we either agree or disagree with the decisions of the twenty-five (brave? foolish) souls, who said we agree with the decisions of the thirteen members of our school board. If the majority of people in our communities say they agree, then we're done. If not, well, I'm afraid to ask what that process will look like.


phenomemom said...

You know, this is funny, because I was JUST thinking the same exact thing the other day! In almost the same exact words. I hate the yes/no thing.. where is there room for some comments or suggestions? Nowhere. They don't want to hear it. Bah.

Hey, wise woman, could you stop by my blog and offer some advice? I'm faltering here and am not sure what to do. Thanks!

phenomemom said...

Rach - thanks for stopping by with your words of wisdom. As for switching Thanksgivings.. the way it works is that the year he has them for Thanksgiving, I have them for Christmas. It works out well that way, since those are the two holidays that are family-heavy.

I don't know what to do. I mean.. I'm thinking that the next time he'll have them for Thanksgiving after this year will be 2 years from now, so maybe I should tell him my concerns, allow them to go, but make it clear that alternate arrangements will have to be made from now on when they have school. I'm also thinking, since you need to get an "excused absence" from the principal for things like this, that he should be the one that speaks with them (they'll be at 2 different schools next year) since they are his trips that are taking them out of school.

What do you think? Should I just let it go this year? I'm not too worried about the girl, as she is an absolute pistol in school, but with the boy.. he struggles sometimes. I worry about the effect missing too much school will have on him.

Anyway.. thanks..

Wendy said...

As the school board secretary down here, I've found it very interesting to sit through the budgeting process. The state has cut our school budget by a lot, and the school board asked the town to make up the difference, but that's not going to happen. The next choice was cutting stuff, like positions. Interestingly, the Teacher's Association presented an alternative plan to the Board's proposal, and I think, in the end, the two groups got together and tried to compromise so that not so many jobs had to be cut.

The town is voting on it next week in that "yes or no" way you describe.

Should be interesting ;).

Anonymous said...

Oh Rach!! You said everything I was feeling all week about this whole budgeting process. You'll notice I was not at the meeting since I had this 'nothing will help' feeling. Say yes or no and we'll do what we want in the end. In the end is how it feels like we're getting it too! LOL (did I say that?) I don't consider myself to be very political but this is burning my back side for some reason this year. Maybe it's due to my sister being one of the staff members losing her job? Yeah, that's it. IMO the Central Office appears a little 'heavy' on offense meant to anyone, just my opinion. LOL Thanks for stirring the pot Rach.