Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving & Taking Tree (Board meeting recap)

Hello, hello, hello -- hope you are all well; I've been better, but HECK, I've certainly been worse.

Here's an expository recap of the Board meeting; some of it's shallow, some of it's deep...but then, so is the ocean. It is what it is -- glean from it what you may.

(Don't you just love the word *glean*?)

First of all, let me say that Lyman Kaiser is a BADASS...and I mean this in only the best way.  I don't know much about him, but I'll tell you this:  He Commands Respect.  So understated, sitting there with his yellow legal pad and pen, you just know that everyone is on his and her absolute Best Behavior.  Unlike me, who does the whole stenographer thang and types out every word everyone says, Mr. Kaiser just jots a note here and there; I get the sense he doesn't even need to review the video or audio recordings of the meetings -- he has like a photographic and phonographic (?) memory, and can tell you who said what when at a moment's notice.

Moving on to the moving of the records from the old Pike Elementary School Building.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...everybody already knows that I was/am/will be ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OPPOSED TO ANY AND ALL SCHOOL CLOSURES.  So what, I guess; a grip of them are closed now, and nobody cares but the people who still live in those neighborhoods and day in and day out have to drive past what used to be a school.  I'll tell you what:  for myself and my's a darn good thing my 1st grader is blessed with his mother's brains...otherwise, he'd really be suffering from having missed out on kindergarten as a result of Adams closing and its kids bussed over to Hunt; sorry, but my little man just wasn't ready for all of that, especially with a perfectly good school building being wasted across the street.

I just don't get it, though...I mean, I really puzzle over it.  Think about it this way:  say you were getting married...and just wanted an intimate gathering, because it would mean more to you that way.  But say that some know-it-all said, "Hey, well, Miss Bride, as far as announcements go, it would be a lot more efficient to invite EVERYONE AND HIS MAMA to your wedding -- that way, everyone will know at the same time, and you won't have to repeat yourself over and over -- you'll be able to save your breath."  Well, yeah...but Everybody Knows that the bigger the wedding...THE MORE EXPENSIVE AND PROBLEMATIC THE WEDDING.  Some Messages are Supposed to Be Intimate; Some Messages are Best Communicated in Smaller Settings.

I have simply no idea why the people at the District seem so damn SOLD on the Walmart SuperCenter method of educating children, and moving from schools with a capacity for 200 students to schools with a capacity for 600.  There's no way they can honestly advocate for "achievement"; I hate to say it, but the Administration at District 11 seems to care a lot less about its kids and a helluva lot more about $$$$...and it's no wonder, they way they sit and daydream the time away, preparing for their imaginary future.

Maybe they know something I don't neighborhoods will be going the way of the dinosaur, and women will give birth to some kind of sexless half-sheep, half-robot Play-Dough offspring who benefit from being manipulated while crammed  into small containers -- it works for cows, right?

I digress.

Anyway, I was always opposed to moving the records from the Admin building to Pike, because anyone with an interest in obtaining any type of records would have to drive all the way over to practically the west side to put in a request for them -- and you don't get them lickety-split on the spot.  The original move, I guess cost $80,000; now, because of a contractual commitment to AACL (I think I know who that is, but I'm not sure), the records have to move again.  Well, if you thought the Pike location was convenient, you'll really love their new destination:  that's right...The Warehouse, all the way out in Bum^#$% Egypt....right over there by Transportation.  Believe me: if you ever needed your kid to take a different bus than the one he or she was assigned, then you KNOW where it is I'm talking about -- the forms to request the different bus MUST be filled out in person AT the Transportation Building...and for some of us, it would be just as easy to let your kid climb up on your shoulders and carry them to school.

"This is one of the final pieces of the reutilization," said Glenn.  Yeah, yeah, yeah -- I doubt we'll ever hear the end of that line.

The cost to relocate the records themselves is about $60,000; the required building modifications to the Warehouse will run about $140,000.  What I want to know is, if there's so much room at the Warehouse for these records, why did the District have to use the Adams building to store all of the copiers and school furniture left over from the reutilization?   I mean, shouldn't there have been enough room for all of that at the Warehouse?  But there wasn't...and as I recall, the reason given at the time was that there were pallets and pallets of H1N1 vaccine supplies taking up a bunch of space at the Warehouse.

Of course the common sense location for the records would be at the Admin building.  Listen, the reason why that surplus furniture and equipment was stored at Adams is the exact reverse of why the records will be stored at the Warehouse:  convenience/inconvenience.  It was more convenient for people to *shop* at the Adams building like a second-hand bargain mart located mid-town...and now with the records, it's just more nonsense, farther away, designed to make it harder for the common folk to access records.

You knew it was coming, and here it is.  First, this is just my opinion...and sometimes, I think her skirts are cut just a tad too long -- but it's always wise to err on the side of conservative:  anyone wanting to add some class and sass to their haberdashery would be wise to imitate Mary Thurman, whose pantsuit made her look like a freshly sharpened navy blue colored pencil -- she was happening, and didn't even look like she was trying; she probably wasn't, cuz a lotta times, girlfriend just has it going on like that.

I have grown especially fond of Sandra Mann lately; I liked her sweater and earrings LOTS and I REPEAT -- I LOVE HER EYEGLASSES.  Even after she got cold and put on a warmer sweater, she just looked so nice and watching the evening news by the fireplace with hot cocoa in the winter time twenty-five years ago.  And her voice hasn't changed an iota -- yes, I'm digging on Sandra as of late, and think she's doing a decent job of representin'.

Ditto for Tom Strand -- I don't know about the rest of y'all, but doesn't he come across as damn affable?  And he LISTENS -- I love the way he encapsulates whatever free-form musing has been going on and repeats for the speaker, to ensure said musing has been accurately interpreted.  He just has a real easy-going way about him, and mild-mannered sense of humor -- I dig him, striped shirts and hand-print ties and all.

Mike Poore lately just doesn't seem to be trying very hard; I liked his coat better this week, though, and thank goodness his tie wasn't the exact same color as his shirt.  And of course, Bob and my hero Charlie are reliables, no matter what they're wearing.

Tom asked if there was a suggestion program in the District that would provide the suggester with some sort of monetary recompense for an especially efficient idea; Glenn said yes, but the only type of recompense would come in the form of profuse thanks, which was met by laughter.

Glenn was wearing one of my favorite suits; even though it wasn't black, it was quality-made, along with his tie, and had the effect of giving him a fitter and trimmer appearance.  Well prepared and rehearsed, Double G was simply on point -- as per usual.  But I noticed it again, that weird bearish behavior he ends up exhibiting whenever the talk turns to the 2011 legislative priorities, or "agenda" or "policy" or "platform" -- for some reason, there's a lot of tip-toeing about which of those words to use.  Gledich is always so smooth in dress and manner, and quick on his feet, expressing the nonchalant desire merely to have the Board speak with a presumably unified "D11 Voice"...but even though Glenn didn't slip into pre-hibernate state this time, I still saw it; whenever the discussion turns to this legislative stuff, it's like he turns into some kind of thoughtful honey-bear:  "Somebody's been sittin' in my chair...somebody's been eatin' my porridge..."

I dunno...maybe I'm mistaken...but believe me -- I've taken a fancy to studying a couple of these Wednesday Night Superstars with a magnifying glass...and I'm telling you: something's up with this legislative crap, otherwise, it wouldn't keep coming up again and again, and it wouldn't have such an odd and noticeable effect on he's getting ready to do some sort of Tantric Yoga.

There's an agenda for a breakfast, where the Board will meet with the incoming least one of whom hails from Colorado Springs (read:  Pete Lee) and enthusiastically supports D11 arriving at a list of things that matter to the D11 Board.  Remember, Pete is listed as the agent of record for Giving Tree Montessori Pre-School; it's my belief that he's the CEO/Owner/Big Kahuna of Giving Tree...and that would explain why a bunch of this legislative priority stuff seems to include Early Childhood Education initiatives.  Any doubts you have to this end can quickly be answered by reading the write up about Giving Tree in the Indepdendent's "Best Of" issue -- tell me it doesn't practically SCREAM "restorative justice for toddlers."  If I'm wrong, you can hand me a Peace Rose and we can talk about it civilly, in a One-World Way, like the big boys and girls do at the United Nations.

I dunno why the previous paragraph is all bold; God just told me to do it, and so I did.

Whatever Example Legislative Priorities ONE, TWO OR TEN are -- take a good look at 'em; after guesstimating Alejandro's temperature, one, two and ten are the ones that really matter to the clique all hot and bothered about this legislative stuff.

Bob Null said:  "We're putting the cart before the horse; let's read all of the policy, not just the parts that we like; what are we going to do with it, how do we get these items before us, not only have we not developed an agenda previously, we need to be willing to spend the extra time to review the long list of bills we'll receive, and take the time to read them; I'd challenge everyone to remember what was even discussed."

Bob said the only priority that came quickly to his mind was to never support any unfunded mandates...and to mention the things D11 would oppose and those D11 would like the new governor and the CDE to support and/or reject.  Bob again asked, "What's the difference between the policy and the agenda as opposed to the platform? That will hopefully have some impact...Larry Liston would like to meet with the Board to discuss our hopes and dreams and likes and dislikes; right now, while [these incoming legislators] are still new, we ought to grab them while they're interested."

The meeting with Liston is to occur on Nov. 29, 2010 -- I'm not sure if that's the same event as the Big Breakfast; whatever, however, Bob suggested reviewing the policy and making sure they all know what they mean by it in an upcoming work session.  Time sure seems of the essence, for whatever reason.

You know, it just came to me...what this is probably all about.  Some of you may already be aware that Colorado again lost out in Obama's Race to the Top; there's like a bazillion dollars available to the states that meet these new "standards" and such; these guys probably want to get all lined up so that *this* time, they'll be sure to snag the money.  Well, I've said it from the Git-Go:  somebody call these guys a WAAH-mbulance; so what if Colorado doesn't get a piece of that commie pie.  To be perfectly honest, we'd all be better off WITHOUT IT; pass me the pumpkin, the apple, the cherry, WHATEVER, just please NO COMMIE PIE FOR MY KIDS, THANKS VERY MUCH.

All of that federal money comes at a very steep price, my friends; doesn't the District already have PLENTY of money that it takes from we, the people??  Friends, I want to believe everyone means well, and none are motivated by selfishness and personal gain.  But believing doesn't necessarily make things so.

Wrapping up was Jan Tanner, and I'm just going to put up here what I typed as she spoke:  "I think it's important to solve a problem we maybe had in the past but we definitely have now; if anyone were to come to us from Educational Oversight and ask, 'What does D11 think about this?'  We need to be able to say, on this particular point we feel like such.  If we have legislative positions and objectives on funding, then whoever is called can say, well, based on the Board's position, we would support or reject this bill.  We can't even say what we think about certain things, we can't just pass it back onto the State; even if a majority of the Board believes in innovation, we can't tell the legislature that most of the kids and families in Colorado Springs feel the same way.  For instance, closing the achievement gap -- we may have certain things in mind to make that happen; we need to know what these things are in order to support them, go forth and talk to that Glenn and our grant writers can go back speak to these things.  I absolutely support it, no matter what word we use for it."

It was a long meeting, and right about now, I had to pop in a VHS tape and record the remainder of the meeting; I haven't watched it yet...I hope to, but can't/won't promise.  Keep your ears out for something called the "Underwood" approach to school finance; I dunno what it's all about, but it's got something to do with increased mill levy, increased property tax, either for perpetuity, or just for a three-year plan (YEAH, RIGHT).

Anyhoo, friends, love ya; thanks for reading this far, and ciao.

- Spydra

P.S.:  Consider participating in the National Opt-Out Day this coming Wednesday; I'll post some pretty compelling reasons why tomorrow.


No comments:

Post a Comment