So much I’d like to write about not even counting the account of Charter Schools which is still circling the airport waiting to land.
I’ll stick to a safe snippet from today.
I was scheduled to read at one of our schools this morning. As I headed to the Interstate I saw I was blocked by the police. I figured it was an accident that was plugging up the works. It was still there when I returned from reading an hour later. Today’s six inches of snow or so caused a 20 car pile up under the Bridge near Fitgers. Fortunately I left half an hour before my mission and got to the class just about on time. I should have had ten minutes to spare to check out one of our new elementary schools. It truly was beautiful but the office staff member who showed me to the room took the chance to lobby a school board member by telling me it sure would be nice to build a new wing onto the new school. I riposted that I’d be glad to get more playground space and my guide averred that this would be nice too.
Here is one of the many eye poppers in the wake of the Red Plan. We did our long term planning and yet while the finishing touches are being applied to the last projects we are suddenly on the verge of being over crowded in the elementary classes. Nevermind potential contract increases, unanticipated snow closings and other weather costs but the staff is lobbying for more building. A wing? How much would that cost? How would the public greet this news after grudgingly OKing a levy increase?
I had a lovely time reading for nearly forty minutes to a gaggle of kindergartners. They were in the palm of my hand. There teacher requested that I read one of my old favorites Five Minutes Peace which I used to carry in my reading bag. Sadly I had to tell her that it had gone missing in the last decade. I used to lend my books out to Dad’s at a regional correction’s facility to read to their kids and some of the books are probably in NERRC’s library now. In fact, I plan on ordering it soon as I did a few of the other missing in action books.
When I left the room after lots of giggles I was asked about whether we could deal with the snowdays by extending the school day by 15 minutes midyear rather than adding them at the end of the year. I shrugged this off by saying it was a contractual question and beyond my current reach. I can readily identify with Mrs. Large in Five Minutes Peace who really wants some time to herself from her demanding children. Except that I don’t. I only want the chance to explain the District’s current situation. I don’t see any easy way to bring our class sizes down much more than the tiny one or two students per class we just managed with the help of the upped levy. A significant class shrinking might cost us more like a sixty percent tax increase even if we held our contracts at the existing level for the next few years. Like that will happen.
Once again I’ll plead my need to BYC my cards (see the previous post) to my eight loyal readers. I have some quiet discussions to pursue with my fellow board members one on one. I’m not sure they see what I see and until we agree generally on the condition of the District there can be no remedies such as I am interested in applying.
Among today’s tasks is going into my District email account from which I’ve been frozen out for a week. I have about 100 emails to reply to. I have been taping together and color coding three large sheets of paper handed us at Tuesday’s Ed Committee meeting. Each sheet shows one-third of the District’s Administrative positions laid out in a family tree format. Together they show a before and after arrangement of staff reorganization planned by Supt. Gronseth. The biggest change seems to be recreation of a third Assistant Soup in the position of Curriculum Director. This was a position, Department really, that Dr. Dixon got rid of during the Red Planning days. We were told that there are only three existing staffers in what was once a very large department. I’ve yet to meet a lot of the existing staff and so attach names and faces to titles. Even some of the titles have changed in my lost decade.
There will be no five minute peace for me for some time to come.