Friday, May 28, 2010

O hai!

OK, so it's been a month. It seems like I should have piles and piles of goodies to photograph and share, but alas. I have more than nuthin', at least. (No photos yet, though. Hopefully tomorrow.)

It's been a roller coaster at work. Like everywhere else, money is a major problem for schools in NY. Just before spring break, it became clear that my district faced a budget shortfall of $8 million. Very often, the state rides in at the last minute with refigured aid formulas, but not this year. Massive cuts ensued; half of the music department, half of the art department, most of the social workers, anything that looked like an elective, elementary classroom teachers, office and custodial staff, administration (gasp!), closing two buildings and combining sports teams (more on that in a minute). But thanks to an extremely generous grant from the Corning Foundation, a lot of that was restored. But not all, and it's only a one-year solution. Things aren't expected to be better next year. I have seniority in my department, so I'm not worried about losing my job; what it actually will be in the next few years remains to be seen.

The two elementary buildings are still closing, which has needed to be done for quite some time. One is nearly on the PA border, and has one class (occasionally two) at each grade level. It's a delightful little school, but...if you're trying to save money, a tiny little building out in the boonies isn't the way to do it. The other one is in town, but the areas that it serves are decreasing in enrollment. There's been reassignment of kids, staff, materials, equipment, everything. Nothing has physically moved yet, but the emotional turmoil and upheaval began as soon as the school board directed the closures.

Combining sports teams: we have two high schools (which also should be combined, and I believe will be eventually), and since I've worked here, have had combined certain sports teams but not others. Swimming, wrestling, track, cross country, and probably a few others I can't think of: district teams, not separate high school teams. Lacrosse, football, basketball, baseball, softball, and again others I can't think of: high school teams. Makes perfect sense, right? Yeah, that's what I think too. So through another board action, about $280 000 was saved by combining ALL teams into district teams.

By and large, this has been supported by the community, both kids and adults. The kids are pragmatic; they're friends on and off the fields, play with each other on summer and travel teams, and look forward to being on the same teams as each other. Frankly, I think the Corning Hawks men's lacrosse team will be practically unbeatable in years to come, with the talent available between the two schools. Most adults understand the cost savings.

Then there are the adults who still have unresolved high school sports issues. These are the ones who were on the West High lacrosse teams that never beat the East high lacrosse teams and still want a chance to do it. A trio of them, who not coincidentally also ran for three seats on the school board, concocted a "foundation" that they claimed had raised $300 000 to "restore" Corning sports. Really? Which sports? The ones that have been combined for twenty years? Well, um, no. There's not enough money to restore them, too. Lacrosse? Well, DUH. Of course, that's what our sons play. Luckily, voters saw through this scheme and turned them away. Not only did it feel like they were trying to buy votes, people wanted to know what would happen next year. And if they could come up with all this lovely money, why wouldn't they use it to restore elementary classrooms instead? Is the lacrosse team more important than a kindergarten class? Feh. Go away. The board also rejected this "gift," which was essentially a line of credit with nothing backing it. (Never mind that it didn't have actual 501(c)(3) standing yet either, which takes months and months to obtain, and therefore rendered it legally useless. Oops. Damn technicalities.)

Around Herself, dirt has been delivered, so planting has begun (here's where the pictures will help soon). Not much spinning has happened, as I was afraid to put down the lace wrap lest I not pick it up again. It is finished, and there are pictures. I currently feel the same way about a baby sweater, but it's close to completion. I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool at the last minute, so I should tell you that story as well (I lost my Ikea virginity on the same was amazing). And there's Mitzie's upcoming dental work. The fun just never ends around here, let me tell you.

I *did* finally renew my passport with my correct name, so at least I can run away to foreign lands if need be...


Batty said...

Wow. Don't forget to breathe.

Batty said...

Oh, and good on you for making sure you have a passport. I hear Canada is nice this time of the year...