Edifice wrecks

A teacher explains why she’s not voting for her district’s bond issue this fall:

I have lived in this district for over twenty years. And in that time, I have seen four bond issues passed that promised all of these things before. What almost always happens is that the big-ticket items come first in priority, they go massively over-budget, and then the little things get swept under the rug. After all, what the public will be looking for is the Natatorium and the Stadium-o-dreams. Most people who actually go into a school don’t always notice the holes in the wall along the thirty-year-old vinyl floorboards which are exactly the color of baby poop. Or the mismatched tiles on the floor which enterprising teachers have covered over with twenty-year-old rickety furniture through which twenty years of butts have rotated.

It gets worse.

And no, she’s not in one of those districts, either:

We are a nice, diverse, middle class, suburban part of town. But this school district is run based on abstract expressionism when it comes to appearances: from a distance, it looks hazy and beautiful, but get up close and it’s a blotchy mess. And the supervisors of this district from the superintendent on down like it that way. As long as we have that new swimming pool and flashy stadium, people will assume that this is a well-run, affluent place.

The public isn’t quite as easily gulled as it used to be, I suspect. Bond issues this year in several districts in Oklahoma have been voted down, perhaps because of questions like this: “Are we building an educational facility or are we building a sports center with a school attached?”


  1. fillyjonk »

    27 October 2010 · 3:13 pm

    And then there are those who seem to live to make any childless person who dare breathe a word of doubt about having their property/sales tax raised for whatever school-related project (however marginal to education) sound like we are fire-breathing, child-eating ogres.

  2. McGehee »

    27 October 2010 · 3:28 pm

    Filly, I’d be willing to live down to that, if the fire-breathing didn’t give me heartburn, and if the damn kids tasted better.

  3. fillyjonk »

    27 October 2010 · 3:34 pm

    Yeah, kids today are too fatty and salty. Their parents need to make them run around more, and give them more water to drink….

  4. Charles Pergiel »

    27 October 2010 · 9:18 pm


    Actually, what I think what you’ve got here is a good example of what’s wrong with America, but scaled down to a microcosm. Nobody wants to be bothered with the details, especially when you have also having to deal with the big picture. The big picture captures people’s imagination and all the money so there’s nothing left over to take care of the details.

  5. McGehee »

    28 October 2010 · 9:57 am

    Free-range children — delicious!

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