Sunday Headspin

A few thoughts for a frigid Sunday:

GASD Budget 2010-2011

A nice piece on the upcoming district budget for next year (here). What’s curious is that the dire tone of today’s piece sounds markedly different than the peachy tone in this piece (here). How did we get from A to B? Here’s a sampling from the December 18, 2009 piece:

“Based on everything I’ve been told by the superintendent and our business office, we look to be in really good shape for this upcoming year,” said DeRossi. “It’s looking like despite the cuts and such that are being made, we’re going to be in pretty decent shape. I feel that the raises were not exceptionally large raises like last year when I voted against them.”

And here’s a sampling from today:

One year after the district was forced into a contingency budget, the GASD Board of Education now may be forced to also endure a 5 percent cut in school aid from New York state, and faces a budget that could require severe cuts to valuable school programs and staff.

“I don’t think we’re looking at improving anything,” said board member Kevin Bechtel. “You know that there’s cuts coming, and you don’t know how large the cuts are. We’re more in a defense mode rather than an improvement mode, keeping as much of what we have as we possibly can.

And of course, magnet schools get touted as improving district scores even while the very first magnet school, McNulty, is on the Schools in Need of Improvement. I’m tired of bringing out the scores but the issue of magnet schools needs to be considered differently. The district chose the magnet program approach versus non-magnet schools not based upon academic outcomes but upon financial outcomes. I’d argue that different programming would leave us with better scores in the district and not leave us with a lottery approach on where you send your kids to school should you choose to live here.

Cranky Old Guy

That would be me. The emerging meme reflected here is that we have an influx of younger voices entering the civic discourse. On that point, I think the more better. Let me be a bit of a curmudgeon however: I do not think being young necessarily means that that you embrace or advocate new or innovative ideas. I hear some young voices but the ideas are older than me sometimes by a factor of two. I think the age of the idea matters more than the age of the person with said idea. We do not have a shortage of young people, we have a shortage of young ideas and a willingness to be bold and innovate around new ideas. Young people don’t leave here because they lack ideas but new ideas here are welcomed with distrust and contempt.

Now get off my lawn you pesky kids!

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