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February 10, 2011

Stop The Nonsense Cooperate

Joan Marie Aquilino

Same ole song, different year! Will there ever be a new tune? After 20 years of the same, I seriously doubt it. Pick a year and run a continuous loop and no one would know the difference except for graying hair and different styles.


The Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA), Frederick County Teachers Association (FCTA), plus other support unions, and other Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) employees were out in force as expected Monday night at the Board of Education’s annual public budget hearing. No judgment here; just stating a fact. They all said pretty much the same thing, don’t cut, give more and it’s all about the children.


Some points were valid and all points of views are worthy. So very many spoke about education being the be- all, end- all, and that the only way to keep our students educated is to lower class size; bring in more teachers; give raises; and don’t cut anything. Basically, don’t touch me and mine, and figure out how to pull that rabbit out of a hat and fund it all.


Okay, let’s say just for the sake of argument that everyone speaking got their wish. Now what! There is no money! There is no way of getting that money! So what do they suggest?


Paul was robbed so often to pay Peter that he’s now broke, too. The speakers suggested nothing; gave no alternatives. These are all educators or intelligent people, but they offer nothing as to where this money will come from to meet the mandates, needs of the system and the children. I’m sorry, but magic isn’t one of the core subjects taught. We’ve lived on credit for too long, and now the note is due.


If you want to save salaries, where do you come up with the money to do that and maintain the needs of students?


If you want lower class size, where will that money be found?


If you want raises, what piggy bank will you break?


If you want, want, want, where will you find, find, find?


When will the public stop being single issue, self-serving with tunnel vision. The greater good comes from looking at the big picture and sucking it up and do what will help until that help isn’t needed and our county, state and country are back on their feet. Then – and only then – can we reap the benefits of a healthy economy once again.


I won’t bother mentioning details of raises, school construction plus extra programs, etc., when things were good and money was doled out hand over fist. Those days are over and I seriously doubt soon to be seen again. Many past mistakes aided in putting us in this situation.


I know many teachers work hard, work damn hard, as do many others. I work damn hard, too. I put in 12-plus hour days, commute 120 mile round trip daily and will be cut to a part-time status shortly. No one is out there fighting for me to get a raise, keep my hours or even give me time within my 12-hour day to plan all on a salary many call less than a living wage. I’m holding my own because of choices I’ve made. I’m but one, but there are millions doing the same thing every single day.


The difference is that I’m aware what I’m doing is a choice I made, and I’m damn happy and appreciative of having a job. No one ‘owes’ me anything, and I’m just fine.


The only person I heard give concrete examples of waste in the system and examples of how to rid ourselves of it was Colleen Cusimano. There may have been others, but I had to watch and listen to the public hearing on the school board’s budget in bits and pieces after I arrived home at 8:15 P.M. Monday; and then again watched reruns starting at 8:50 P.M. Tuesday so that I could write this column.


Please ask for a copy of the memo if you missed it. It’s short so I’ll just rewrite it here. “There is NO Money.”


No one person is to blame; no one person is without blame. It literally is what it is, and we all need to take our share of the blame and do whatever we can humanly do to help fix it and hopefully learn from our mistakes, and pray we don’t repeat our mistakes of greed, and move past the ‘me’ generation.


My prayer every night is to keep my family and those I love safe, and healthy. I do love Frederick; I thank teachers; and I hope no one is left destitute during these difficult times. But I believe Frederick is strong enough to survive, as is our country. I hope you believe that also, and help, and are grateful for what we do have right now.


It’s now well after 11 P.M. and the sun will come up tomorrow; but not until I’m on the road and heading down it……………..


You are all educated, well meaning people, so please figure out a way to stop throwing each other under the ‘school’ bus in single vision attempts of spend, spend, and spend some more.


We can no longer bank on tomorrow’s account; the bill is due now!


. . . . .’til next time . . .


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