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Rabble rousing

January 12, 2010

Posting is likely to be a little sparser than usual here and kind of one track until after the next board meeting at least. Today’s agenda looked like this:


* Scanned 15-year-old recordings I sang on and conducted for possible broadcast on a major classical music station later this week and Fed-exed out the best. Kind of exciting, if 15 years later than I would have liked.

* Returned 90 gazillion emails about the gifted program.

* Found a place to hold a meeting on Friday and booked it

* Emailed morning update.

* Emailed school superintendent

* Returned the call of a board member who asked me to join a committee she’s chairing

* Updated the mailing list — nearly 40 families now

* Got more data on the program and posted it to the website along with other updates

* Got to the bottom of the rescheduling of tonight’s board meeting and started prepping for it. Made plans to meet up with some people there


* worked out

* showered and ate

* practiced violin

* went to School of Rock, taught three students, bought some guitar strings

* came home, put new string on guitar, helped AJ with his homework

* ate dinner

* spent 3 hours at a board meeting. Gave short talk at the meeting. Stayed afterwards to talk to the Superintendent, two board members, and a teacher, who I had to meet in the dark parking lot like Deep Throat so the board wouldn’t hear what we were talking about.

I didn’t mention the part where I accidentally posted this agenda on the blog I set up for lobbying and didn’t realize it for a couple of hours. I really hope nobody saw it.

The board meeting was mostly extremely tedious except when it was shocking. The shocking part was learning that the State of Illinois hasn’t paid the school district any money owed it since September. They now owe us nearly $2 million. That’s not helping matters any. The other shocking part was hearing that the reduction of the district’s bond rating, which sets the rates at which it can borrow money, means that our current interest rate of 3.something percent is now likely to be 17 percent, a difference that may cost the district three quarters of a million dollars. But it needs to be done. The projections presented show that we’ll reach a $0 balance on Monday.

The meeting was not nearly as heavily attended than the last one, which I expected because there were no sexy topics on the agenda. There were a handful of parents, including two others who’d come with me. AJ’s principal was there. And most of the rest of them seemed to be teachers. The guy in front of me kept turning around and asking about how they did things “in this district,” which led me to assume he was not from here and that he was probably a union rep of some sort. He wasn’t taking notes, so I don’t think he was a reporter. He also seemed a little too opinionated to be operating as a journalist. Or maybe he just had Tourette’s. Also, he was playing a tank blaster game on his phone.

The art teacher I’ve been working with had told me the sixth grade gifted teacher was going to be there and wanted to meet me. she had told me she was wearing a black turtleneck and tweed pants and had glasses. When I came in, there was someone in a black turtleneck, tweed pants and glasses sitting right in front of me. I tapped her on her shoulder and asked if she was P. She said know, but that P was her good friend and was at another meeting and would be coming soon. And sure enough, a while later, in came P, dressed almost exactly like the first woman. She told me afterwards that they work in different buildings but almost always end up dressing alike. In the room, she was talking to me while rifling through her bag so it didn’t look too much like we were talking. But before she said one last thing, she wanted me to meet her outside first, so we wouldn’t be overheard. What could it be? It turned out to be advice about talking with some of the administrators. There was nothing that seemed like it could get a teacher in trouble. It made me sad that she felt like she had to be secretive. But this is where our teachers are right now. Walking on eggshells and feeling like they’d better not give anyone a reason to pick them for the axe instead of someone else. And this, by all accounts, is one of the exceptional ones.

I have to say, that it was an interesting and satisfying day. Music, writing and persuasive speaking. I could have done without the endless powerpoint presentation of pictures of graphs that all looked the same, but otherwise, a pretty good day.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2010 7:50 am

    there is no glamour in hard work

  2. freshhell permalink
    January 12, 2010 9:27 am

    Illinois seems like a mess! That must have been depressing to hear about. Virginia’s not much better but there’s less corruption, in general. I hope the G&T program stays next year…in whatever form it can. Esp hope all the teachers keep their jobs. Ugh.

  3. January 12, 2010 3:02 pm

    sounds like you are fighting the good fight!

  4. January 12, 2010 10:19 pm

    Re: that first item – if that broadcast is something your imaginary friends can listen to online, do let us know?

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