Central planning does not work. Central planning has never worked. Central planning creates a nightmare in mismanagement. Central planning has created THE MONSTER!! in America's cities and schools. Every morning I look out my window at my street. I live on the upper west side of Helena, a very nice address. My street looks like a war zone. The pot holes can't even be patched to much effect anymore. We are on a 22 year turnaround now for street repair. My street is not unlike many others, it is symptomatic of what is happening to local governance.Local governance is servicing CENTRAL PLANNING and losing all sense of care taking for the management of their charge, be it schools or cities.
When you think about it there is so much that goes into planning just for your home and family. What will you have for dinner tonight? Did you go to the store? Did you shop the sales to get good deals and protect your family budget? How about the laundry- do you need clean sheets or have the towels been washed- do you have clean clothes for work and school tomorrow? Does your wardrobe need replacements? Have you weeded out old clothes? How about cleaning and maintaining your house? How about maintaining your yard? How about your vehicles-have they been serviced? Do you need gas?Have you paid your bills and managed your budget? The list goes on. Now think- what if Aunt Mildred moved in with her two kids and cousin Alfred took over the basement.More mouths to feed. More problems to solve. More needs to be met. Would you be able to manage it all? And then the kids bring home a stray dog and two stray cats. Hmmm- could you manage it all? Would you at some point have to say "I can't do all this!!". Probably. This is what is happening to your cities and schools.
In Helena our school district is under great stress- and the public- which was never brought into the decision of adding all these programs- is getting tired of the mess and confusion and cost. The public here just refused to pass the building levy- I think their message is "We can't do all this!!". There was an article in the local paper today that listed some of the programs that are being housed in distressed building arrangements- we now have our public schools responsible for making space for "Head Start", "Literacy Council", "Youth Connections", "Vista", "Safe School/Healthy Student grant","School aged child care" an Alternative High School and Montessori classrooms. Meanwhile we can no longer maintain our buildings out of our general fund, we have hired so much staff and raised salaries so much that we can't even operate our schools properly and we don't have money to operate new buildings. Students will have to be in larger class sizes so that the general fund can continue to service programs.
Meanwhile, we have boilers in our high school that are about to explode they are so old. INSTEAD OF REPLACING BOILERS OUT OF BUILDING RESERVE MONEY WE ARE BUILDING NEW TEMPORARY SPACE- $500,000 worth!! I envision our superintendent as the great juggler- he keeps smiling and jumping from one forum to the next assuring everyone he can do it all. NO HE CAN'T!!
We have a great historic school that one board member told me they are planning to raze to the ground. He wants to replace it because they are not in the business of "Historical Schools". O.K.- but what business are you in? Are you in the food business? The mental health business? The daycare business? The meet the needs of every non profit that comes in under a federal grant business?Maybe if you went back to the SCHOOL BUSINESS we could once again have sound buildings and teacher's that could teach school instead of giving up their classrooms to mental health and bully programs and food and every other darn thing than teaching their curriculum. Maybe space could be used for classrooms instead of offices for federal programs that need a home.Let's move cousin Alfred out of the basement and Aunt Mildred and her two kids out of our house and start managing our resources for what they were intended for- free basic education for children in K-12, then maybe the public would once again have faith in public schools.In other words- we need the FEDS OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS!! PACK UP YOUR PROGRAMS AND LEAVE HELENA ALONE!!