By David Webster
Do you like to go to amusement parks? I really enjoyed it when I was a kid; there was so much excitement there. The food, the people and the rides brought joy for a short time. One of the most exciting rides was, of course, the roller coaster. Whether or not we enjoy that type of ride, we as school board members have been on one this entire year, with the multitude of legislative issues we have been involved with and the ups and downs that go with them.
The ride – which we are still on – encompasses financial difficulties that are being faced and the ones that are yet to come, ranging from likely increased pension costs for our employees to potential budget cuts to K-12 education if lawmakers do not come up with plans to raise additional revenue. Those scary loop-de-loops may also make us dizzy as we try to figure out how to attract new teachers or find school bus drivers if we can’t offer a defined benefit pension. It’s going to be a white-knuckle ride.
In my years of being on the board of education, I do not remember having been on this much of an extreme, death-defying ride with education-related issues. In the past, some of the dips, both at the federal and state levels, have caused excitement, some have caused nausea, some have been a letdown and others have been enlightening.
You as school board members have poured your heart out on behalf of your students and staff, trying to intercede on their behalf. Some pleas have been heard and some fell on deaf ears. I commend you for the valiant effort you have made and I pray that you will continue to stand up for public education for all students by communicating your concerns to your legislators, both state and federal.
I commented to one of our highest leaders that, “We as school board members make our decisions on a nonpartisan basis.” His reply was that Democrat and Republican children all need an education, because they are all our children. That may be so, but it seems as if the decisions are made on the legislators’ terms and not on the judgment of those who are elected locally to provide that education – especially not when it comes to public education!
By letting party affiliation become part of education we are gambling with all the students of Kentucky and their education. In a perfect world, there would be a statute that says all education bills have to be nonpartisan. If that were so, we would not be in the mess we are now. The ante for this game of cards is the students in public schools. It seems as if the value of our students’ education has diminished, so the players just keep raising the ante to a point where the only winner is politics. The students of our public school districts are expendable, trapped on that roller coaster ride while the players at the controls seek to accomplish their own desired outcome.
You may think your voice is not being heard, but somewhere there is an attentive ear that you will reach, and that one political voice may be all it takes. We have some outstanding legislators that stand up for public education and I applaud them. I applaud them for not letting the students of Kentucky down and looking to the future of our great state.
So, you as school board members, keep voicing your concerns and keep the fight for public education alive.
“Aspire To Inspire Before You Expire."