Chances. Changes. Choices.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Won't be long, and this little guy won't be sportin' the Visitor sticker anymore - 

Soon, my baby will be in school. 
Hardly seems possible - but it's true.

In less than five months, both of our kids will be in school.

School.
Ugh.
School.

If you live around here, or perhaps, even if you don't - You might have heard that our school district is in some major turmoil. All school districts need help by way of the budget, at least I would guess they do. Our district just seems to be in it's own unique crisis.
First, there was the quarter million dollar payout to make someone go away - 
And now, the proposed schedule changes to the school year.

I won't bore anyone with details nor do I feel like getting into a pissing match about what is right and what is wrong. You can google the situation and find yourself reading hundreds of comments (mostly against) the proposal. I have read far more of these comments than I care to admit. Is there anything that can make a person lose their faith in humanity faster than reading the comments on a public news source?

I honestly don't believe there are any clear winners here.

I am not however, opposed to the proposal on the docket.
Is it ideal, that our kids lose 17 days of schooling if this should pass? 
Maybe - Maybe not.

So many of the arguments I've heard though, are about the 'daycare' issue, should this pass.
What will WORKING PARENTS do with their kids on those days?

Our current school day runs from 9:15-3:40.
Can you tell me how that schedule is conducive to working parents? If I were to drop my kids off at school, I'd get to work at 9:45. I'd need to leave no later than 3:15 to make sure I picked them up in time.
The proposal, in my opinion, is not changing things from awesome for working parents, to not awesome for working parents. It's simply altering the inconvenience at our house.

Of course I want my kids to be in school and learning as much as they can (and should be!)
But I also don't want my kids to be in a classroom of 40+ kids either.
Especially, in our very diverse school where many of the kids need extra attention.

And, if I can get a few extra days with my kids instead of having to pack life into the evenings and two days each weekend we currently have, well then, that's just fine with me.

I have lots to say on this issue, but I just can't. I get a headache just thinking about it.
The things you don't know or don't think about when you have kids.
Aye. Aye. Aye.

You take a chance picking their school - do you go to your zoned school or open enroll in one of the many many other options? Do you roll with the changes or do you speak up and take a stand? Do you choose to stay where you are or look for the greener grass on the other side of the fence?
Is it like this everywhere or are we just lucky enough to have landed ourselves in this district?
We are facing a major, major budget crisis.
Our kids' futures are at stake.

I find myself wondering - what else can they put on the chopping block?
Upper exec salaries?
What if we weren't using styrofoam trays every single day in our schools,
how much money would THAT be saving?
Maybe not a million dollars - but I have to think it would be saving something ~

Chances. Changes. Choices.

7 comments:

Be the change... said...

I could get on a soap box real quickly with schools levy's, etc. Bottom line children need to come first whether you have a child in school or not. They are our FUTURE! It drives me CRAZY how some people do not see that or care. I don't know the details of your district but I know it is political every where. Hope you and the family are doing great! xoxo

Jen Knox said...

It's tough, Darcie. As you know, we're in the same district, although a little behind in age/grade so we aren't dealing with the changes until 2013 if we stay here.

I absolutely hate that class sizes are too large. My little guy is not going to do well if classes are that large. The number of days simply won't matter if day to day he can't learn properly or get lost in the shuffle. I agree with you wholeheartedly on that aspect.

I don't have the issue of child care right now, but might in the future, so while I personally would not be affected if we were in the schools now, I can still see the other side too. Arranging that one-off day every week or every other week is going to be hard for some families. So I sympathize with them. The childcare shuffle is already so hard.

I wish there was an easier answer. It seems like money in our district is mishandled to an extreme (i.e. "the payout") so I would hope that there would be another solution that doesn't hurt students or families. My question in this is why not find a way to lengthen the breaks we already have (earlier summer release, longer winter and spring break) if days really must be cut so that the consistent schedule can be kept? Was that an option? I didn't go to the first meeting so I'm not sure if that was addressed.

I love those break days though in all honesty. I like the change of pace. It's a tough situation knowing which is a better way to handle it.

darcie said...

Yes, that is 1 of the options on the table, adding the extra days in around holidays, etc.
There are two different calendars being proposed.
I'm VERY new to this whole school thing, & I can't say I much like it.
I am however, learning soooo much myself! For instance, who knew that teachers really can make some great money? There are several salaries at our school that are in the $70k & $80k range, for elementary teachers! Wow!

Missy @ Marketing Mama said...

Wow, Darc, I've seen some of your tweets about this but didn't realize it was all over the school day schedule! I don't think there are any full day school schedules anywhere that work well for working parents.

It's expected (in my world) that you need to have daycare for kids before and/or after if you don't have one parent with super-flexible work schedule. Also, that's why most schools offer a before/after care option.

We are immune to most of the district stuff that happens over here because my kid goes to a Catholic school. There are pros and cons to that piece - for example I'm pretty sure the public schools have more rules about food allergies and they are district wide and people need to comply - whereas the private school sets their own rules.

Anyhow, I know it's stressful for you and I hope the stress goes away soon and everyone rallies together for the kids :)

Missy @ Marketing Mama said...

Wow, Darc, I've seen some of your tweets about this but didn't realize it was all over the school day schedule! I don't think there are any full day school schedules anywhere that work well for working parents.

It's expected (in my world) that you need to have daycare for kids before and/or after if you don't have one parent with super-flexible work schedule. Also, that's why most schools offer a before/after care option.

We are immune to most of the district stuff that happens over here because my kid goes to a Catholic school. There are pros and cons to that piece - for example I'm pretty sure the public schools have more rules about food allergies and they are district wide and people need to comply - whereas the private school sets their own rules.

Anyhow, I know it's stressful for you and I hope the stress goes away soon and everyone rallies together for the kids :)

Mommy Lisa said...

I think the issue for working parents is the expense of having your child in full day care vs. before and after school. Not that school days are convenient. My step kids school used to do all their programs, plays, choirs, concerts, kindergarten graduation, during the school DAY. Who does that work for??? Any choices schools make are a pain for someone.

darcie said...

@Mommy Lisa - If a parent has a child in the before/after school program in our district, the cost for that comes out to approximately $20 each day (based on 5 days a week x a 4 week month) - A full release day is $38. So - the new proposal of having a random day off here and there is not a giant leap of budget busting, in my opinion. Not pennies either - but, certainly not a vast difference for a majority of folks. There already are a ton of 'full release days' on our calendars - In January - we didn't go to school 3 of the 5 Mondays on the calendar!
I agree - every decision they make isn't going to be ideal for many, or maybe even most...
::shrugs::
I'm very interested to see how this all plays out.

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