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Tuesday, December 5, 2006
The Alpine School Board Just Doesn't Get It (or Look What the Mailman Brought)

What I wanted to say really isn't printable in a well-mannered blog, but it did have something to do with wasting my money.

I returned from a week in upstate New York to a stack of mail, of course. One item vexed me: a half-page postcard sporting "a message from the Alpine School District Board of Education and Superintendent." It wasn't addressed to me, of course, but to "Residential Postal Customer" -- meaning that every home in the Alpine School District probably got one. It's printed in full color, too.

They're thanking me (and you) for passing the leeway and the bond in the November election. (Damage: about half a billion dollars.) They just don't get it. Here are my responses:

  • This doesn't matter, but I myself voted against both the leeway and the bond. Even if the District could know that, of course, bulk mail being what it is, it's cheaper to thank me than to not.
  • They think that spending a lot of money on a nice, full-color, half-page postcard saying "thank you" will make me feel and say that they are welcome. What it makes me want to say, by virtue of its cost alone, is not suitable for a polite little blog such as mine. But I guess I could say another, equally relevant, more literate thing: "Spendthrifts! Stop wasting my money!"
  • There is no hint that they might appreciate that the voters gave them the money they asked for because the need is clear, despite widespread dissatisfaction with their performance. (Need I mention math? Or arrogance?) Memo to the Board and Superintendent: The money is still ours. And you work for us, not the reverse.
  • One paragraph assures us how much they value "patron involvement . . . at both the school and district level." This is widely regarded as a fiction, and not without evidence.

Yet, my friends, this is our fault. How could it be that all incumbents who were up for re-election to the Alpine School Board, except one, ran unopposed? That's not good for democracy. It's not good for the schools. And, yes, I'll say it: It's not good for the children. We need to do better next time.

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