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December 21, 2018

I am an angry elf - you won't believe why!

Our high school is ranked very highly.  I am too lazy to look up exactly what the rankings are, so you will just have to trust me.  Our district is split into two buildings.  The building, where three of my kids attend currently, happens to be the less desirable of the two, because we share the same boundaries as some government subsidized housing residents.

Let me clarify.  This 'undesirable' building is not at all undesirable to our family - in fact, it is exactly where we want our kids to attend, because we are good with diversity.  The other alternative is to live on the 'right side of the tracks' in a multi-million dollar home and have our kids park in the school lot full of luxury cars and walk thru halls overrun by entitlement.  Don't get me wrong, there are still wealthy people at our school - but just a decent mix of various backgrounds.

Several years ago when Laddie was my only high school kid, I attended a board meeting because other parents informed me that it was important.  It turned out to be explosive and long and important.  It didn't end until about 1 or 2 am.  I am the first to admit that I barely knew what was happening.  If memory serves, I believe we had a lousy board who made some bad choices and compromised our kids' school's future.  They voted down some fund or chose to take money out of something prematurely.  While the details are fuzzy, I do remember grasping how important it was to vote in better board members.  Fortunately, we did that.

Fast forward to present day.  Our school district (and the better board we voted in) has been trying for a few years to get a referendum to pass, because the crappy board of years ago screwed things up.

The first referendum was ludicrous.  It favored the entitled building.  Heavily.  It basically promised to build them an entire new wing so that they would have more classrooms.  Enrollment at the diversity building has decreased, while more people are moving (I cannot wrap my brain around how) into McMansions on the 'right side of the tracks'.  That referendum didn't pass.

There was a board meeting last fall where people were all fired up, because the board was contemplating changing the zoning boundaries.  Translation:  instead of the entitled school getting a new building and wasting all kinds of money, many entitled residents would end up living in a house with a plummeting home value because of newly appointed school boundaries.  It was hard to sit and listen to people try to be creative when they said out loud how they couldn't possibly send their kids to our high school (full of diversity:  um, they didn't SAY that, it was just implied and gross).

The referendum was revamped.  This time both schools would receive much needed repairs.  My kids school was supposed to get a new MUCH NEEDED library.  The board needed to raise 5 million dollars.  The referendum was put on the ballot in November to see if it was OK with tax payers to increase their taxes to raise the money.
  Both schools offered tours so that people in the community could visit the schools and learn how the tax dollars would be spent.

People living in a $500,000 home were looking at about $300 in increased taxes annually.  Of course the alternative was to vote it down and deal with decreased property values as our awesome high school became less awesome.

The referendum didn't pass.  I believe that there are too many voters without high school kids anymore (ie:  elderly) along with people who associate referendum with the nonsensical version.

I wanted to go to a board meeting on Monday.  A friend was trying to get more parents to speak up from our undesirable building.  I agreed to do it, but I needed to scrounge up some rides for my kids since Coach was working.  I called my mom.  She agreed to drive Reg to basketball.

While I had her on the phone, I decided to ask her the burning question.  'Mom, did you vote for the referendum?'  I knew I had to catch her off guard.  Mind you, I had invited my parents to vote for it.  I forwarded them emails about the importance of it.  She sort of hesitated before she said, 'Um, no.'

I was not surprised, but I was ticked off.  My parents have 22 grand-kids.  Nine attend or graduated from Catholic High Schools.  All of the grand-kids except for my offspring also attend or graduated from Catholic grade schools.  My parents write checks to all of the Catholic schools.  I told my mom that this referendum was the equivalent of the financial support that they offer to those schools.  I wanted to tell her not to set places for my family at her table for Christmas.  I am THAT angry.

Merry Christmas, Mom!
I told her that the board was deciding whether or not to increase class sizes, which would mean that many teachers would be let go.  (I babysit for one of the teachers who doesn't have enough seniority to relax, so one of my charges might not come next year?!)  Also in question is whether or not they eliminate sports and activities.  She sneered.  'These are scare tactics.'  Um, hello!  No they aren't.  Changes are coming and it isn't pretty.

I asked Mini the other day what she thought I should get Nana for Christmas.  'A support our school button.'  Great idea!

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