Friday, August 19, 2016

Letter to the editor: "I've spent a lot of time thinking about the school referendum."


I've spent a lot of time thinking about the school referendum - years, now -- and I could never come up with any reasonable justification. The "reasons" never made sense. I've been in those buildings and they are certainly fine and have the requisite amenities.

For a 10-year period, tech could have been a reason, since building out fiber-optic and/or ethernet would have required new builds. But we are well past that interregnum. Tech is such now that we are more likely to let everyone stay home and be tele-taught.

It finally dawned on me that to assume good faith on the part of the promoters was my mistake. The default mode for the promoters is to tell a pretty lie and rely on the fact that the children their system educated will be too stoopid to see through it.

They are lying. They have a REAL reason, but as is so very often seen in these environs, they refuse to state it. Call it Gahanism.

Here's the skinny, in my estimation: Now that public tax money follows the student, NA-FCCSC has to be consumer-driven. Like Northside Church, which offers exercise classes and a gym to draw lapsed Catholics into their fold, the school system feels they have to build amusement parks to draw students. The artificial-turf football fields are but one example. Trust me, that is not common where football is actually a serious sport. Yet, our schools people complained that every 5A school but ours had one.

If they would just say "We don't like it, but your education tax dollars are being sucked away by religious and partisan charter schools with entirely different agendas and methods from ours. Practically NONE of your local tax dollars are being spent on education. Those tax dollars are spent on buses, administrators, and buildings. But with tax caps and a city that TIFs everything under the sun, including wasteful things like a lazy river and wading pool, we can't compete.

"Yes, charter schools can't tax you for their buildings. But unless we close and rapidly sell off our neighborhood schools, the law requires us to sell them to our competition for nothing. That's why we sold Silver Street School. If we hadn't, a charter school could have just taken it and started - wait for it - a public neighborhood school. That's why we sold it for $100,000 instead of the millions it would have earned if marketed. A charter school could have come in and taken it, so we pre-sold it to a church incapable of starting a school.

"So to compete in this new marketplace, we simply must build palaces."

If they had come right out and said that, I might have been inclined to accept the tax increase to help public schools compete against "public" schools. I still might have supported them if they had been honest.

We old fuckers are still stuck in the pre-privatization days where there was a ban on paying private tuitions. The Daniels-Pence putsch has still not sunken into our atrophied brains. The GOP, if only to kill unions, is committed to "school choice" but what it really means is the end of public education as we knew it.

So, to compete in a rigged game, we're supposed to indebt ourselves to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. In fact, maybe the corporation should just disband and let the Republicans have their way. Then the revolution will come that much sooner.

But with golden parachutes for all!

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