Sunday, January 6, 2013

SP-EYE Focus for 2013

Here's what we're focusing on for the upcoming year.

+ Make School Safety & Security our #1 Goal
     The unthinkable tragedy which occurred at Sandy Hook recently should grab our collective attention.  We send our kids off to school, and we want to be sure that they are safe.  This is not to say that the security at Sandy Hook was in question.  Rather, it's a springboard for what we can do better.  Yes, enhanced security costs us ax dollars.  But if it saves just one child's life...isn't it worth it?

Screw Ashley Field.  Nobody seems inclined to do any fundraising; they seem to want their turf to come from the taxpayers' teats.  Instead, let's focus on moving  the timetable for completing planned secure entrances at schools that require an upgrade.  Let's make this happen...NOW.  And while we're t it...can we glean anything from the tragedies to further enhance the safety and security of our kids? 

+ Improve the Quality of District Information
      Someone needs to be held accountable, and the message has to be shouted from the mountain tops that district staff will provide the school bard and the public with only the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...or else.

“Please don't lie to me, unless you're absolutely sure I'll never find out the truth.” --Ashley Brilliant

“A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.” ― Mark Twain

+ Resolve Facility Rental issues
     Is it just us?  Or is anyone else tired of that "It's all about the kids" mantra that is pulled out whenever folks want to do something that seems inherently wrong?  Let's be crystal clear here: athletic camps are great for our student athletes.  But (A) you're (usually) doing it on fields or in facilities paid for by the taxpayers, and (B) SOMEONE is pocketing oodles of cash.

While there are some cases where rental fees should be waived or at least negotiated, there needs to be a clear and consistent application of policy which already exists!  Someone or someones think that they are above policy and that should win the offenders a trip to the 'Splainin' Room.

We have an athletic director who publicly suggests that his budget isn't large enough. might be if you collected all the missed revenues from granting uses of fields and facilities for free!  Of course we don't know...YET...who "ordered the code red", so to speak, but one would think that an AD with budget woes would be all over facility use fees like a monkey on a cupcake.  Right?

We just went through a fiasco where the poor kids that happen to have chosen hockey as their sport wre gonna get bashed on the head with an enormous fee increase....all to support the re-introduction of freshmen soccer teams.  Icetime costs were the culprit named.  Really?  So, because we built an expense fieldhouse for indoor sports and costly fields for outdoor sports, and even a pool...but didn't build an ice arena, hockey kids should get screwed?  We DON'T THINK SO!

Ice rental may be costly, but these fields and the fieldhouse have expenses associated with them as well. But those are never considered.  Where's the leadership in our athletics program to work at the state level to get all districts to understand this?  The other reason for raising the hockey fees was that all of the Joneses are doing it.  We say: stop being one of the sheep and start being the shepherd.

+ Fish or Cut Bait on Ashley Field Turf Project
      The Ashley Turf dealio has languished for too many years.  A year ago at a school board meeting, we learned that not one dime had been raised.  A year later....and still the only revenue we appear to have comes from a single club.  We also learned in July that more backroom discussions had transpired and what we were never told is that the plan to pave what is now Ashley's baseball field has folks wanting to increase the project cost by at least $350K for  new freshman baseball field.  Really?

And then we were given a figure for replacing that ticket booths that's only a small percentage of what the true cost will be.  This whole thing smells more than just funny and we're not even going to consider eating it.

+ Establish a Salary Cap
      Just as the NFL(which means us, since we ultimately bear the cost)  cannot afford to be paying a bust like JaMarcus Russell a guaranteed $31M (that's about $17M per TD pass), we cannot afford to pay $90,000 for an elementary school teacher with a PhD.  Most jobs in the real world have salary minima and maxima.  The complement to raising the floor for young teacher salaries is to install a ceiling...and not a glass one.

The "cap" can be flexible to move as needed due to outside pressures such as inflation...but we have to first have one.

+ Finish What You Started:  Rid the Grid
      It's time, people.  The grid must go.  It seems like that's what's coming if one reads between the lines in the district offer to teachers (which they didn't like...fancy that).  It's time to 'git 'er done.