Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Keeping One of My Resolutions

John and I attended the Jordan School District Board Meeting last night. One of my resolutions this year was to be more informed about politics and current events in general, and I thought that there would be no better way than to start close to home with the issues that directly affect me and my community. If you live in Utah you may already know this, but my school district is currently facing an estimated minimum of a $30 million dollar deficit. I think some of the public is confused about how the deficit came to be. Here's the break down:
  • $6M is from the decrease in state legislative money that is a result of the downturn in the economy in general and could grow to $15M
  • A portion is from the building, staffing, and costs per student of the new Herriman High School because our schools are already over crowded.
  • The largest portion of the deficit($20M) is due to the district split with the East side. Fact: the kids on the west side comprised 60% of the kids in the schools of the old Jordan District while the population on the west side only contributed 45% of the property taxes that go toward education before the district split. You can do the math to see where the discrepancy lies.
I'll be writing more about some of the discussions and final decision of the board later, but ultimately I left the meeting angry, frustrated, and very sad. Angry that the public expects us as educators to bear the majority of the burden of this deficit, frustrated at the lack of concern over what will happen to our public schools, and finally sadness because it seems people aren't willing to sacrifice for their kid's education yet seem so willing to pay for cruises, cell phones, remodeling houses, and other things that are nice, but in my opinion, pale in significance to a sufficient education that allows kids to compete in the modern world. I fear we will see the effects of these decisions in the near future. Now, these were my initial feelings, some remain, and I'm sifting through the rest today and probably will be for awhile. On a positive note, I feel that I learned a lot by attending the meeting. It helped me understand what is going on in the community and what I could do to help make things better.

If you want to know more about the final decisions take a look here: http://www.jordandistrict.org/board/summary/0910/020910.html

8 comments:

BriAnna Jenkins said...

Melinda- I have heard about this issue. My dad teaches at Bingham High and it sounds like you two are concerned about the very same things. I hope everything works out!!

Emily said...

That's a great resolution! It is also very sad to me that more money isn't put into education. :( (and is spent on less necessary things)

Heidi said...

From a resident perspective who owns two homes in the district - we are not upset about paying an increase in taxes if it was going to education and teachers and students - our complaint is with the top heavy management structure of the district, the lack of desire for change, the overpaid administrators, and the total disregard to public recommended solutions or thinking outside the box. I have attended several of the meetings (and our neighbor works for the district and writes editorials against the school board) and I feel continually angry that my money is not well spent. I would be happy to pay the 40% increase in taxes if it was being fiscally managed well...

Kali said...

wow. Even though I am no longer in the district it invokes strong emotions in me too to hear all that.

Kerstin said...

Melinda...

I am so glad that you wrote about this. I have been so frustrated about the chances that Jordan School District will quickly go downhill that to calm my nerves today I actually was looking at house prices in Draper.

I agree wholeheartedly with Heidi. I don't mind paying more in taxes for a better school system, but not to keep administrators fat paychecks.

My biggest worry is with bigger classroom sizes and smaller wages...what good teacher would want to stay in the Jordan School District when they could be treated better in another school district?

What will be left is a horrible school district for two of my biggest priorities.

I would love to talk to you one on one sometime about your thoughts on this...

Melinda said...

Kerstin, I'd be glad to talk to you more about what is going on in the district. Send me an email, or call me anytime after 3:00 :)

Wiwi Kalawi said...

Melinda, I think this is a wonderful resolution to make and keep! Thanks for making a real difference in becoming informed and helping others make better decisions.

Mr. Shake said...

Melinda,

Thanks for getting the word out. As for those who would say that they would only pay more taxes if the district weren't so poorly managed by the leadership, I have a thought. Democracy is often called "rule by the ruled." That means people are the leaders because people choose the leaders. So if this PUBLIC institution is being poorly managed than that means that we, the PUBLIC, are the ones ultimately responsible for this. I think that statements like that are a thinly veiled attempt at shifting the blame by those who don't want to contribute to their own child's education.