Beyond Patience

That title is meant to be a joke.

Hooray! I’ve got my computer back. Think of it as my Thor’s Hammer. I can almost fly with it.

This post is supposed to be about last week’s school board meeting. I prepared notes to type up but I think I will be content at this point to see what Loren Martell reports about our meeting. He always listens to a recording of it before or as he writes it. I rely on memory and whatever illegible notes I took on my official board book during the meeting. I took lots of them last week.

I read with some trepidation the “Patience” post. I hadn’t proof read it and I worried that I might have been too dyspeptic since I was in a gloomy mood when writing it. No worries. Its surprising cogent and I only spotted one missing comma and one wrong preposition (if for of) and a “too” where there should have been a to.

Erik Satie is playing on Pandora in the background. I have even more post ideas that I’d like to address but they are accumulating so rapidly I find myself in the position of Sisyphus at the bottom of his eternally unclimbable mountain.

Speaking of beyond patience that seems to be Loren Martell’s condition. I read yesterday’s column “Where have all the Children Gone?“in the Reader and as always I recommend it. I will hasten to apologize for sounding like the always eternally optimistic Member Loeffler-Kemp but its worth remembering that things are not quite as grim for many of our children as Loren’s column makes it sound. Sure, classes are crowded and our course offerings have been trimmed but for bright and well-adjusted kids living with emotionally healthy families will get by. Resiliency is the word academics and social workers throw around to account for this. That doesn’t mean things aren’t tough. The letters we received from the Denfeld teachers spells this out. Now that I have my comupter back I’ll put some of them on the blog.

As for the finances of the District Loren is right to acknowledge that our steep financial fall has softened. Yes, promises that the Red Plan would pay for itself were always a joke. Yes, School Board ate up the old reserve to keep our slashing of teachers to a draconian minimum. Yes, we have stopped transferring six million of year out of operations to pay off debt service (by raising taxes in excess of 10% in two successive years). But, the fact of the matter is, for the moment the descent has stalled. Loren is right to fret about our continuing enrollment decline. Art Johnston put the cost of losing another 200 students at $2 million. That’s if they generate $10,000 from the state. At one recent meeting we were told they only generate $6,800 in state funding per student.

Even if the Edison Schools draw another 700 students out of the ISD 709 schools our best students will still get a good education in our schools. But what a loss in opportunities the Red Plan will have cost them. And let’s hope the teachers at East don’t feel compelled to join their Denfeld colleagues in agonizing that the kids in their classes have fallen behind those of the pre-Red Plan days.

I can’t fault Loren’s fears. I too am frustrated. I’m particularly aggrieved when I remember that before the Johnston imbroglio I had planned to read in every elementary school over and over this month. February has been “I love to read” month every year since I first got elected to the School Board.In my earlier service on the Board I made reading pilgrimages to the elementary schools all year.I still have my gorilla slippers and favorite books waiting in my attic for return engagements. Its just that I’m too busy putting together a defense of Art Johnston because of this stupid pogrom.

I’m not quite beyond patience but I’m close to it.

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