I attended my first school board meeting last week. This year our daughter has entered school (7th grade) and I was curious how a superintendent thousandaire would manage a 78 million dollar budget for a town of about 19 thousand. He had five big screen flatscreens set up in the cafeteria to present his Powerpoint. Cuts. Always cuts. Slashings and mashings. Money. Always money gained by austerity. 2 million. $762,540.00. Custodial positions, theater manager, technicians, one teacher from each discipline, the alternative education school, all standing in line at the chopping block. They wait patiently for a small time hack accountant to determine their fate, which never arrives with a positive back-slapping these days— never a “great job Mr. or Ms. Math,” or “Fine work Charlie Tech,” now the kids are ready to play adult in the new age. Thank you for your service. You are number one”.
No. More like, “Your job is tenuous at best. You’re lucky to have it. Me and this board of dumb yokels whom I can lead blind (mostly because of my suit and paycheck) dangle your job security always a day out of reach. We don’t give a damn about your credentials nor dedication. By law you can’t even strike. Ha-ha. By golly, even a ditch digger can strike!”
No, Mr. Superintendent wants to fire them all. He is the new guy with the big ideas. His initiative for the 2013-14 school year was a goal for improved attendance. Each kid with perfect attendance would get a desktop printed certificate at the end of the year. Little Johnny can have pneumonia, but come to school anyway to cough a hardy virus all over the classroom. When the superintendent gets a head cold, he stays home to watch rerun episodes of Breaking Bad. He has sick days and personal days and vacation days written in to his contract. Tater tots and USDA slightly approved ground beef for the little scholars to assuage the hunger pangs and hold each struggling immune system at the “my eyes are open sometimes, so I must be alive” level.
Big ideas. Here is one.
Fire administration. Obtain retired accountants and financial planners pro bono with the caveat that the new budget scraps everything besides teachers, materials, janitors, cafeteria workers and bus drivers. Keep the classes diverse and interesting. For lunch, serve a fresh green salad, brown rice, slice of cheddar cheese and an apple, and have buses stop only at designated pick up points.
There is so much to write about on this subject. I must end my primer for the day. I see a book building.
I’ll leave readers with two anecdotes to strengthen the argument for school board tar and feathering.
My father’s school district has fired the last two superintendents. However, the contract for each was a guaranteed five-year pay plan, even if the job was terminated. The first was let go after one year. The second made it for two years and was fired. Both are still getting full pay from the district. And the tater tots are still constipating the kids.
My friend the music teacher worked in a district south of Utica. The superintendent there resigned after sexual harassment charges were brought up against him. My school board soon hired him to principal one of its elementary schools.
He hit on the teachers there.
And resigned after several complained.
Now he is the superintendent of schools in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Insulation. Don’t tell anyone.The education mafia. My locals, my yokels. All of them high on their own cheeseburger power trips.