Working cash bond, tech, and perspectives

First I’ll start out with a link I noticed on a technology website (slashdot.org):

http://annarbor.com/news/will-the-technology-millage-impact-ann-arbor-schools-14-million-shortfall/

Ann Arbor Public Schools wants a “$45.8 million bond for technology improvements”. Wow.

The article itself is an interesting read. I am tempted to look a little more into it to see if they hold any kind of forums or “safe environment” to hash out the ideas. And just glimpsing at the many comments on the articles, there are lots of ideas. Most of them along the line of “NO!”

Don Kermath apparently has a website up for the Unit 4 petition to block the Board’s issuance of our relatively paltry $14.5 million working cash bond (according to WICD – can’t find the website at all). I am waiting to hear back from Don and the reporters for more information. Also, in light of recent conversations (note to self: still have to write up a blog post about Wednesday at Houlihans yesterday – good stuff), the Board will most likely only “need” a portion of that $14.5 – might even be closer to $10 million.

UPDATE: Don’s website: http://board7voter0.com/
UPDATE 2: Don is rebranding as a Voice: http://avoiceforschools.com/
UPDATE 3: Interesting now he is using the new Carrie Busey as his backdrop.

Reading the comments on the NG articles (1, 2), I think to myself, a bump in property taxes is not that big a deal in this particular case since I do believe the school district does need the money for these things. More importantly, I have heard from a couple teachers and parents on what a huge difference updated/upgraded facilities make on the learning environment. However, as much as I think Unit 4 should move forward with the modifications, I really have a problem with the total lack of community input. If Unit 4 wants to build bridges of trust, pursuing a working cash bond seems like the wrong direction. If, perhaps, Promises Made Promises Kept had a bigger community investment something like this might possibly fly, but with the huge schism we have now, I have my doubts if a referrendum would even pass in November.

Maybe what we need to do is convince Don to have a dual purpose; petition to block the working cash bonds, sure, but then also support the November referendum. I do not like the idea of encouraging the rift between the Board/Administration and the Community. From my point of view, it doesn’t matter who started it – that is water under the bridge. Dwelling on whom to blame does not progress us towards resolution.

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6 Responses to “Working cash bond, tech, and perspectives”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    Adding an update for RSS feeds:
    Don’s petitions website: http://board7voter0.com/

  2. pattsi Says:

    I assume that the reference web site is unfinished.,
    I agree that transparency, process,and procedure are the necessary ingredients to build trust. And once trust is lost or damaged, rebuilding is many times impossible to accomplish.
    Maybe the schools need these items–that said there is a gestalt that needs to be considered. The gestalt in this community is a piling on of new costs by too many entities–Champaign city council, water company, Ameren, Unit 4, gas prices, food prices, cable, etc.–to a point that the regressiveness of all of these is hurting a very large portion of the community without much of an acknowledgement by those who have a cushion within income to absorb the gestalt of increases. I find this troubling. The other aspect that is troubling has to do with decision-makers only thinking sort term rather than long term in such ways that the short term thinking is now catching up all the way around, aka new Champaign gas tax and the upcoming utility fee to solve neglected maintenance over too many years along no will to curtail the activities that aggravate these costs, such as sprawl.

  3. charlesdschultz Says:

    Correct about the website – Don is working on it this morning. If you hit refresh often, you may even see him in action. 🙂

    I agree with your summation of the gestalt. What is the solution? What you describe is a really big problem, and it goes even larger with the state issues. And maybe even bigger than that. I am reminded of how often in close relationships it is easy to see problems with others, but so often to see problems with oneself. Yes, we can see these problems. It is much harder to understand what roles we play as individual to achieve positive, impactful, influential change.

  4. robertdeatley Says:

    The petetion is available: http://board7voter0.com/

  5. pattsi Says:

    What are the details of the 48.5 M. Are they starting from square one, laying cable to the schools, buying all new equipment, creating new spaces, have increased enrollments, absorbed another district, etc. The dollar figure means nothing until we have facts

  6. George Perlstein Says:

    the respect we have for teachers is demonstrated in their shockingly meager salaries;
    the respect we show for the needs of an educated public is demonstrated in the physical
    structures dedicated to that purpose. Yes, it’s snarky of the Legislature and of the School Board to thrust this (breach of contract?) on us, but if the schools are really in such dire need, the money needs to be raised sometime, and the longer the needed work is put off, the more expensive it will get down the line. The tax increase, of any size, will never be popular.


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