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School Bond Proponents and Make-Believe

Editorial by Liberty Belle

Posted 1/24/2015

Lately, “for the kids,” Port Angeles School Board administrators and Port Angles Citizens for Education representatives (Cheerleaders for Education) have been traveling the circuit to sell their $98 million bond with $83 million in interest. The total is a 55% increase is a $181 million, 25-year taxpayer debt for a new high school.

Promoting their bond, advocates have created numerous impressions. We’ve made numerous conclusions.

Most significantly, if readers don’t already know, in our current cultural state “old” has become undesirable and backwards; new is desirable and forward. For progressives et al. “old” is of little value, a pejorative to lefties and their collectives.

At a recent city council meeting, PASD Superintendent Jackson told his city council audience he couldn’t advocate for or against the $98 million school bond proposal. Subsequently, he spent 6 minutes telling listeners why “We can’t renovate this corpse” (tactless synonym for “old” high school building). He warned, “We have to get off this corpse.”

Listeners were expected to conclude, of course, that Mr. Jackson was just expressing his despair. Instead, however, at least some in the audience, living in the world of reality, surprisingly did think Mr. Jason wanted their support for the bond and some will give support. Some, sensing duplicity from Mr. Jackson, will reject the bond.

When our superintendent pontificated, “We have to build the world as we know it,’ progressive speak for, “We can’t accept reality so we’ll create utopia, force it on everyone else into our utopia, and force you to pay for our fantasy because we masterminds know what’s best for you who don’t, some listeners supposed Dr. Jackson spoke profoundly. They imagined they could appreciate his progressive speak if only framed university degrees also enhanced their walls. On the other hand, realists concluded they ought to be looking for a detour from this course to PASD Make Believe Land.

Mr. Jackson insisted this bond issue “is not about maintenance.”  When Mr. Jackson opined the $378,000 (4 percent of an $8.6 million maintenance levy) was quite sufficient to spend on building maintenance, some listeners in the audience barely withheld their groans.

But we might cut him some slack. After all, Mr. Jackson, to whom the PASD school board, (also living in Make Believe Land) pays approximately $165,000 (more than the salaries of 40 state governors) doesn’t speak like a man who repairs leaking kitchen pipes, climbs ladders, or worries much about maintenance to prevent leaking roofs, does he? How would he judge the upkeep cost for four aging schools, two newer schools, two closed schools, a bus barn, and the district office building?

Some listeners sensed that Mr. Jackson’s begrudged the 4% for maintenance when it could have been spent on more worthy objectives such as collaborative learning or Common Core. Speaking of collaborative learning, (several students working on the same assignment at the same time, also known as “group work,” a wave of the future education in the 1980s). Collaborative learning is sometimes experienced as some kids do the all work and all in the collective shares in the grade).

Our superintendent explained that students could not use 21st century teaching methods in “old” schools.  Never mind collaborative learning’s relatively “old’ age. Mr. Jackson claimed students must have a new classroom to learn with this “technique.” Yes, he was serious. But remember that Mr. Jackson lives in Make Believe Land.

Mr. Jackson, still mindful of his no advocacy position for the duration of his six minutes, advised, “We can’t put new technology in old buildings.

Foolishly, we repeated our “old” habit of trying to make sense of our world. We thought about stately buildings, some of our nation’s oldest and most prestigious universities i.e. Columbia, Harvard, Columbia, Cornel, and best rated hospitals i.e. Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic etc. For some reason, we thought researchers, chemists, physicist, architects, microbiologists, scientists, doctors, students, etc. did use new technology in these “old” buildings.

Do students still learn in your “old” 1950s and 1960s high school and grade schools, eh? We expected new technology could also be installed our “old” PASD because we know other schools the same age as PAHS use new technology. PAHS must be uniquely “old.” Anticipating more despair we might bring to Mr. Jackson’ and his affiliate Make Believe Land masterminds, we didn’t risk asking why our high school was exceptionally unfit for new technology.

When PASD Director of Finance and mastermind, Kelly Pearson spoke at the city council meeting, she told the audience the $98 million bond’s interest is $83 million. An affiliate mastermind from the PASD entourage told Ms. Pearson, ”It’s $55 million.”

Mrs. Pearson then accepted the $55 million in interest (because of a possible different interest rate, uh huh) though the official DA Davidson Bond Tax Rate Summary on the PASD website still specifies $83,665.000 for a 25-year interest rate. Some listeners decided PASD affilaites from Unreality Land estimate differently than those of us living in reality. Regardless, only $55 million in interest seems like a jumbo bag of bills.

For sure, we don’t like to be nitpickers, but some of us would appreciate knowing more precisely the amount we are asked to support. But, here we go again, expecting masterminds in Make Believe Land to behave rationally.

Listeners hanging on for more confusion and delusion heard Ms. Pearson’s reply to a question from the audience, “How long will this new high school last?’

With her very straight face Ms. Pearson answered, “Thirty years.”

Yep, she was dead seriousness, not smiling at all, not winking an eye. That’s right, “Thirty years. “

Yep, if you’re a young homeowner about 30 years new, when you’re 60 years “old,” twenty-five years after contributing, “your fair share” of the total $181 million, you will be expected to pay for demolition of the “old” high school, i.e. “corpse” so that you can start paying for the next corpse to be.

Yep! Confirmed! Our $98million bond advocates do live in Make Believe Land where public schools are somewhat like “old,” dirty, disposable diapers.

Nope, PAHS high school is unlike other taxpayer funded buildings. Nor, is this like anything like a home investment you’ve paid off and now you don’t have to worry about a 25 year mortgage anymore on your “old” home. Why not tear down your “old” home and start over again with a new debt once the mortgage is paid, so you can live in a new home? Huh?

Previous to the city council meeting, in front of another audience, the Port Angeles Citizens for Education head cheerleader lamented about buckets placed in classrooms to collect water from the leaking “old” high school’s “old” roof, apparently hoping to gain sympathy for voter support of the bond. In the following days, other PACE cheerleaders, including students, have joined the mournful wail in publicizing this sorrowful situation.

Yet again, as you might expect, those in the real world, with that annoying “old” habit of thinking logically, became puzzled. We couldn’t help but wonder why the masterminds might think that taxpayers would sympathize with bond proponents by voting for the bond because of a leaking roof.

We just didn’t comprehend how the masterminds and loyal followers would intentionally, publicly lament about a roof continuing to leak. Placing ourselves in bond proponents’ shoes, (never mind that they never seem to reciprocate this “old’ courtesy we practice) publicizing our school board’s failure to oversee proper maintenance of taxpayer’s property i.e. proper roof maintenance would seem unwise (an understatement and extraordinarily stupid to be truthful). Outside of Make Believe Land, homeowners and school boards know that roof leaks are preventable.

If some of us were board members, we would have felt exceedingly foolish, embarrassed, and would have wanted to hide. We would have been begging bond advocates to “Please, stop publicizing the embarrassing leaks!”

In our world of reality, Dennis Prager’s belief that we now live in the Age of Stupidity strikes true, but a competing description is the Age of Shamelessness.

We could continue this tale of Make Believe Land and the stories now known by some locals as a new “trail of tears.”   We could enter the melodramatic world where high school drama queens and kings must walk across campus in the cold, carry books in the rain, and use bathrooms that “don’t feel clean,” etc. Make Believe Land’s crying is even causing us to weep, and laugh for sure, I’ll admit.

Maybe God will send us new candidates the next time our board members hope for reelection. In the meantime, reject the $98 million bond and remember:

“In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then, he made school boards.”

-Mark Twain

 

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