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Dang Review: School Bored Budget Meeting

Just came back from the School Bored Meeting. It’s still going on because, just like school, an inordinate amount of time must be wasted for every second spent actually learning something.

* Bottom Line: All Hail Alice Rankin! She was spot-on by saying that going to the meetings does nothing. Maybe a nickel here or there. But, yea verily, the public was out in force. And not one of the many speakers stood up and said that that pittifo li’l education establishment is starving and needs more money.

* The sound of educrats shuddering in fear is soothing to my bones.

* The dog and pony show was proud to annonce that they’ve shaved massive sums from their budget. Indeed, they cut $1.9M. Not bad. I would call that “a starter.” An “appetizer.” Given the lack of cajones typical in school boards, I would say that my red pencil could probably up the $1.9M to $7M or $10M. But few are eager to hand o’er those reins.

* I was wrong that the budget was not available. Apparently it was (they should tell the person who answers the phone this). The budget was published in the Press two weeks ago. In the “Legal” section. The section that everyone reads first, I might add. (Though, I must admit, the CDA Press Legal section is much more entertaining than their comics. Hello, MP!! HELLO! I’d resubscribe if you’d get some good comics!)

* Seeing the actual budget was like looking at my first computer program: all numbers and punctuation and little sense. It might was well be written in Swahili. It’s like a crossword puzzle without any hints. What’s more important is the requests made. I mean, it’s hard to see what 699,470 is really for as a line item in some bizzaro buget, but easier to see if its a request to install a Starbucks in the teacher’s lounge.

* One of the slides in the presentation proudly showed a typical $250K home and how much “less” that owner would be paying this year because SD271 levies went down. But then an astute member of the audience pointed out that while the levies went down a $250K house in CDA is now valued at $320K and therefore taxes will be going UP. Excellent point. Score one for the bleeding taxpayer.

* The board tried to tout their overall savings, until I pointed out that a majority of the savings was due, in fact, to taxpayers rejecting the last levy, coupled with the expiration of the previous levy.

* Some innocent person asked the board, “How much is enough.” Mentally I picked up the answer, which is always, “How much you got?”

* Yeah, no one is eager to vote up another levy.

* Yes, people are hurting. Two people spoke up about how Lakes Middle School is just fine as it is. In fact, I think it would tick those people off to have to turn down their thermostats to 58 this winter while Lakes enjoyes a brand new state-of-the-art heating system. NOT.

* Jim Hollingsworth was there, campaigning as always for common sense. Also saw my buddy Ray. Many of the public spoke well and made wonderful points. But, sadly, we’re shooting blanks. The only way to slaughter this pig is in the Idaho Senate.

* Got to meet Suzy Snedaker and Claude D. Waltz. Great folks! With people like that in CDA, things will be getting better for everyone.

* Next meeting is Wednesday night for NIC. Probably the same futility, but we still need to show up to let them know that status quo ain’t no go.

Dang


DFO: I published Dang’s entire review of the school bored meeting last night for two reasons: It’s extremely well written, and the subject is uber-important. Mebbe someday soon Dang’ll publish Budget Meetings For Dummies to help us rein in property taxes.


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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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