Flippin’ and Floppin’
I posted some thoughts on the school budget in this post (here) where I came out against voting against the school budget as a matter of sending a political message rather than voting strictly on the relative merits of the budget items themselves.
I then read this post from ‘PK Dick’ which stated:
I have to say it may feel good to vote no on the budget, but, it will not move the community forward. Our schools need to improve and that takes resources. A budget defeat eliminates those resources.
People need to step up and move this community forward – we will not advance without good schools. So, support the budget even though it may feel better to send a message, the recipients are oblivious and the damage is inflicted on us!
Ugh, that last line is so true.
So now I have to call my deeply conflicted, hardly objective self out for letting my lower instincts maybe override my better instincts (I presume I have some).
I think it’s fair to send a political message because how else do you effect change in the system and process if you do not engage in the political process so it seems that I stand on solid ground there. But if as I stated in my prior post, the positions seem justifiable and my vote effects those who should bear the least responsibility for the misstatements and misdeeds of the administration and board, how do I reconcile that? Or how do I remain consistent with my views that we do need to fund the district and work toward electing a progressive, radically different board with a new slate of policies to get the district on track if I, as a consistent supporter of the budgets, cannot even convince myself to vote for the budget?
A conundrum indeed.
In working my thoughts through on my conundrum, I gained a little insight which may prove a useful lesson. I rail a lot about marketing and the utter lack of will on behalf of our city and school district to market our community. I’d even argue that we’re actually very good marketers because we sure know how to market against our community but let me stay focused on the topic at hand.
Anyway, my great insight is that the board and administration market and sell the budget so badly that they even drive people who want the product and buy the product away. Even worse when faced with criticism of their product , it’s others in the community who have to market the product for them. A truly WTF moment.
Imagine if the district were straight with their spin on the numbers so we did not have to be treated as financial dolts to believe that a $25K tax levy cannot be supported while failing to address the $2M increase in the tax levy that we should support. Or how about packing away the trumpets on a school closure that disaffected a significant pro-budget voting bloc? Why can’t the district and administration just market and sell the budget on its merits ? Yes, programs matter. Yes, academic performance matters. Instead the only thing that ever matters are the financials.
So the ‘funny’ thing is that PK Dick can articulate a post that actually makes me reconsider my position while the administration and board actually make me want to vote against it. Marketing indeed.
So I’m going to try to move to a higher ground which is what I did last year on the vote that also trumpeted the Bacon closure: I’m not going to vote on the budget at all. I think this registers a protest, admittedly weakened, while not penalizing the chances for the budget to pass or fail and not penalizing those who have much to lose in this election.
Sure I’ve changed my position but somehow this seems more consistent with what I advocate. I’m not sure it’s a perfect answer so if anyone wants to hash it through or call me out, feel free.
PS For the conspiracy theorists, I was not subject to dissuasion from anyone other than my own tortured brain. Sorry to disappoint