Saturday, February 7, 2009

We all have stories to tell

Our school district met in work session this week to discuss the repercussions of the recession on the state, and the availability of funds for education. Sadly, we learned that as much as $250 thousand dollars are being withheld from this current year budget.

Next week, the school board will have to decide what to do.

All over the state of Oregon, school districts are announcing plans to meet these economic challenges, from cutting the number of days of instruction, to wage freezes, to eliminating non-essential programs such as athletics, music, art,and vocational education.

Our district is in a better situation than most. We have a healthy surplus to carry us for a while longer. But, we have another problem: our enrollment is declining, and we must consolidate our services, close buildings, and dismiss extra personnel. Only after those adjustments, our revenues will match our anticipated expenditures.

Our current economic situation is having greater repercussions than any of us could ever imagine. The domino effect has just started.

I happen to be the president of the board of directors. Believe me, I had no idea this situation was coming down the pike during the years I have served. None of us saw it coming. I'm afraid, when it is time to run for re-election, I can guess a few directors will not bother to sign up. I wonder how many more families with children will move out of town, complicating our plans to maintain services at the present level.

Now, more than ever, we need to talk to each other often, tell our stories, join hands in solving local problems, and encourage our leaders at the state and federal level to keep working so reliefs can be enacted.


Linds said...

I have been waiting for the domino effect to start. This is exactly what people could not see happening, and as you say, it is just the beginning. It is going to take strong people with vision and sense to steer everyone through the hard times. Jobs will go and families will move, and how sad that things like music and athletics will be cut from education.

An English Shepherd said...

Sorry to hear the bad news. Its really sad when this sort of thing happens.

Mary said...

These are insane times. Did you hear that our Prime Minister has proposed to spend 42 Billion dollars next month - some of that is supposedly going to upgrade, secure and create super schools - is he insane? I am sure that he means the lovely schools near his place will be lovelier , and the category 1 schools will continue to offer under resourced, under staffed, under enthused classrooms.It's no good taking a starving child out to a banquet and saying that's your meal - make it last a lifetime.

Having said that - I am absolutely amazed when I see the continued waste of available resources going on. Also, Hungry Jacks and McDonalds wrappers can still be seen tumbling out of many bins.

The dominoe affect may well have started but there are way too many people who have simply no idea what is really going on. Spend, spend spend - we are told.

The Gov't gave every child (under 16) $1000 twp weeks before Christmas. They were all encouraged to spend. Spend they did. Far too many bought an ite, double that amount and now have a credit card problem - and the amount that went down those pokies mouths - outrageous!

I have no idea what will happen. I really do not want to have to live through one of those dinky Di depressions - but I may well find myself smack bang in one - soon.

Natalie said...

Very sad for everyone concerned isn't it?

Frustrating as Hell too. Tough times ahead for lots of people, as you've said.

Grrrrr.... :(

Andrea said...

As you know I'm a music teacher and thank god my principal loves me and will keep our program. She did tell me that if I ever leave her she won't hire another music teacher! It's so sad.

Renee said...

And the non-essential programs are so essential aren't they.

kisses xxx and hugs ooo

Love Renee

lakeviewer said...

Yes, folks, the programs that are always bantered around are probably more important to keep in public schools because most people cannot afford, nor do they feel qualified to provide these "frills"

When my children were in school, music had already been cut, and participatinon in athletics was affordable only if the families paid stiff fees. Before I left education, most districts had passed the cost of transportation to families. We have slowly eroded public education, and its demise is now fast approaching.

When public education is no longer available in every town, in every neighborhood, then, we might as well face the end of civilizattion as we know it.

Crystal said...

It is indeed a sad thing when public education has to suffer cuts. I believe music, athletics and physical education are just as important as the 3 R's - especially when families can't afford them. Our schools already are doing fund-raising for those activities and I imagine that will happen even more. I admire that you are so involved in local education when you are retired!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I'm so sorry to hear about that. The domino effect is to be expected, I suppose, given everything, but the last thing one would want is for education, such a critical thing in any society, to suffer.

lakeviewer said...

Absolute Vanilla,

Thanks for stopping by.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I have not kept up with how badly the schools will be affected here, but hard times are coming. I wish you luck in your endeavors and applaud you for continuing to be involved.

We hope to get up to your area of the country one day; hopefully, this summer, but with the way the economy is we may not be able to do as much traveling as we'd like.

Renee said...

The public school situation sounds horrible there. I just don't get it, it is so different here. Music, phys-ed, art, and french are all part of the curriculum, along with the essentials.

Love Renee

Alice said...

Completely unrelated I'm just trying to spread this beautiful woman's music to as many people as possible.

Renee said...

I just want to tell you that I think that you are a fantastic person. I just know it. I also know that we would get on like a house on fire.

I am very happy I was taken over to you by our dear Cheryl.

Love Renee

Cheri Block Sabraw said...

Your leadership and service to the district are more important now than in any other time.

My suggestion is that we completely dismantle the US Department of Education and cede responsibility to local control. I would also get rid of State Departments of Education. Radical, I know.
Thanks for a great blog. Saw your wonderful comment on the Andreas Kluth blog.

lakeviewer said...


I'm almost there. The trouble with no controls is the same trouble we just had with the banking industry and the food and cosmetics industry, because I have seen both extremes and I still prefer the controls. But, I could change my mind any minute. Most of our frustration in education is not with the controls, but with those people who hide behind controls to stagnate.

I like the idea of Charter Schools.The trick is to find great leaders to take on the helm.

Thanks for stopping by, and for introducing me to Andreas's blog by coincidence.