It's very cold, and will get colder. Tonight, the wind chill will be -20 F. I know, residents of the Plains States scoff at such windchills. But residents of the Plains States do not have to go out at 7 p.m. to discuss a possible (and possibly idiotic) school district consolidation.
Our very earnest and good-intentioned governor proposed months and months ago that education budgets would benefit if we merged many districts into just a few. Right now, Brooklin shares School Union 76 with three other towns. Brooklin and Sedgwick each have their own school boards, while Deer Isle and Stonington share a board. The new district would have ten towns, if I understand it right. A committee with members from all ten towns has been working for months to figure out how to make a consolidation work.
After the consolidation, as I understand it, one mega-board will oversee hiring and budgets and transportation and such, although each town can have a "school committee" in addition to that. Having sat through my share of school board meetings in my time, I cannot imagine how long that mega-board's meetings will last with ten schools to administer. My butt hurts just thinking about it.
The governor hopes we will all save administrative costs by hiring just one superintendent for each ginormous district. I'm willing to bet that the superintendent will require a higher paycheck for a larger district, and will have to hire a bunch of assistant superintendents in order to get through the workload, thus spending exactly the same amount of money if not more. But I'm struggling to keep an open mind.
I love our little Brooklin school--I feel particularly strongly about this today, having just met with my school writers group and found them utterly delightful and eager to learn. I don't want anything to screw it up. It's vastly uneconomical to run because there are so few students. I'm not sure I can trust a mega-board to make good budget decisions regarding Brooklin's school, and I fear all will descend into chaos and recriminations.
If we vote against this, we lose a portion of our state funding. Since Brooklin hardly gets any state funding at all (it's based on property valuations, and we come across as rich because of all our shore frontage), I'm not sure that's much of a threat.
We vote on this later in the month, so tonight is our chance to get the facts about how it's all going to work. I am bound and determined to go to the hearing, even if my nose freezes off.
In bookish news, my name pronunciation recording is up on TeachingBooks.net. Also, The Unnameables is an Anokaberry!
And now I'm going to finish reading The Willoughbys. I keep telling myself that this is work but it sure feels like pleasure.