Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Budget Chopping

Today, I'm leaving you right out of the conversation, Spot. I can't deal with little ears, when the big pitchers are throwing around such ill-aimed fast balls. And that is just what they are. FAST BALLS with no aim toward the future. Just the almighty dollar in mind. Efficiency without foresight is a bust. Can't they see that?

Last night, our town's BOE threw around an idea. Well, certainly they have that right, that's what we hope they'll do. Toss around, brainstorm, come up with solutions. The bottom line is always the number of teaching positions. But really? That is the quick route to final disaster.
Protecting the classroom should always be the bottom line. The spotlight should be shined on all non-academic line items right from the start.

Our young students now have the luxury of going from kindergarten to fourth grade without a disruption. Those of us that have taught those years know how critical they are for not only the learning curve, but the social groundwork that will lead to their future.

We live in a town that is 63 square miles, one of the largest in the state of CT. It takes an eternity to move from one side of town to the other. When my kids were little, it often took up to 35 minutes to get to some of their friends' houses. I always thought they chose their friends according to where they lived and how much they could torture me!

But now? I think about these new ideas and I think about the poor moms that have to deal with a split...perhaps having a first, third and fifth grader in three different schools. Has anyone considered the transitional preparations that will have to occur to help kids and families adjust to the new people and places they'll face? And what about the disruption to the flow of instruction that is sure to follow? When little ones are in one school, feel secure in that place...why not leave it and let them learn? If it ain't broke to begin with, do we really need to shatter it all at one time?

Well, I am one tax-paying voice, and haven't found much success in making my ideas known. After all, I'm just a teacher, what would I know? When you talk about your budget at home, I'm sure you don't invite your kids to the table. Imagine that conversation, "Sorry...we have to cut Johnny's extra snacks, and no birthday parties for Sally this weekend." Or better still..."Even though Sally is invited to Greta's birthday party, we're going to redistrict that and send Sally to the same party as Johnny. That way, we can cut that extra present out, and Sally and Johnny will bring just one gift to one friend instead." You'd never want Sally and Johnny to have their say in that.

So...I guess everything is just as it should be. I'll sit home, expect the worst, and anything better than that will just make my day!


  1. The Board of Education needs to take a long, serious walk through all the schools and reacquaint themselves with their 'customer' base. Take the superintendent with you while you're at it. I'm sharpening my pencil for my next column!

  2. All of Newtown's leadership needs to not only take a walk through, but sit in those seats and get a perspective from the eyes of a one of the thirty sixth graders that will be jammed into my classroom next year. I'm sick.