Thursday, July 8, 2010
We've fallen, and we can't get up!
I do not have an appropriate picture to describe the feelings of the country right now. All I can say is we are all in some way caught in the maelstorm, buried under debris.
In my little town, our board of education has been working for months to reconcile our dwindling resources to the needs of our students and staff this coming school year. Oregon has seen major budget cuts in all its government functions. Schools are financed yearly by the state based on current revenue from taxes, fees, income from timber sales, and grants and revenues from the federal government. With the recession, all these revenues have been reduced drastically.
So, roads are not being repaired--this is the flag season here, when roads and bridges would be upgraded after a long season of rain and storm damage. All services have been reduced; and schools are cutting their spending budgets in ways unthinkable. Picture a school year of less than 175 days, many services reduced or eliminated, class sizes bigger than ever, field trips eliminated, training eliminated, and athletics and vocational education classes cut to a minimum.
The stimulus bill last year saved a few teaching positions for the remainder of that year, and allowed some needed renovations to our heating, lighting, roofing and gym facilities. Our state has no special allocations for capital improvements. Buildings here take quite a beating each winter and repairs eat up any extra money we can put aside.
What will take to move these big boulders off our back?
What will change the attitude of lawmakers and citizens, attitude that is not cooperative and supportive of the needs of ordinary citizens?
Anger will not help.
Blame will not help.
Crying will not help.
We need to work together. A crowd can lift the boulders and clear the debris if it works cooperatively.