So what are my school levy taxes going for?

Ways that our tax dollars are spent for good (really?) and for bad.
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bernomatic
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#1 So what are my school levy taxes going for?

Post by bernomatic »

The public school system of Durham, North Carolina is shutting down the the half dozen schools there due to the Kung Fu Flu. The students will do "online learning". But wait all you single parents with no place to send your children, they have opened six "learning centers" where your child can go with their laptops and use the wifi to complete their assignments. The learning centers are, of course, at six schools.

But wait! there's more. There is a $35 registration fee and a $140 per week fee to use the "learning centers". :?

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#2 Re: So what are my school levy taxes going for?

Post by luke strawwalker »

Yep nuts ain't it??

Betty just went back to school today. Evidently the administration felt the need for everyone to come back to the building to do their ONLINE classes. No students arrive on-campus til Oct 3rd... although they are starting with the elementary grades very soon, then a "phase in" of the older kids by grade culminating with the highschoolers on October 3rd. This DESPITE the district doing a "poll" of all the students and parents in the district, and only about 28% of the high schoolers and their parents elected for them to return. They've been VERY hazy about what school was actually going to look like, since *basically* they had NO REAL IDEA how to do it, doing BOTH online learning and in-school classes at the same time. I was like "well, if they're having 25% of the kids returning, tell 25% of the teachers in each department to pick the 25% that are coming back to teach "in school" and the rest continue doing their online classes as they have been. But no, the idea was (for awhile) doing the ONLINE classes at the SAME TIME they were doing the in-person classes, which would never work. Unlike last spring, when all the classes were basically online "zoom" meetings or posted vids the kids could watch "whenever", (Keira ended up not doing most of her work until the last week before it was all due, and knocked it all out in just a few days... and they didn't advertise it, but basically it was a 'participation grade'... if you did ANYTHING, you passed). Well, of course this year they figured out that they actually needed REQUIREMENTS and STANDARDS for the kids to have to meet, and so they set up these "virtual classrooms" (the name escapes me at the moment-- basically online meetings) where the kids have their cameras on their phones or laptops or tablets ON so they remain visible to the teacher at all times, but are MUTED until they hit "unmute" to talk... Betty has on her screen, basically a huge "Brady Bunch" type screen with all the kids appearing on it... that way you KNOW the kids are actually there and paying attention and participating, not just "turning on the page" and then going off to play video games or whatever... ANYWAY, it's working good, BUT she has to 1) admit students into the virtual meeting "classroom", 2) work on making sure everyone "has access" to the parts of the coursework or test work they have to do, and fixing any problems they have accessing it or doing it, 3) actually teach the course material, answer questions, do head counts, be available for questions and answers, tutorials, etc. Now there is NO WAY that you can do ALL THAT *AND* handle a classroom with kids in it at the same time... Either the kids in the class get neglected, OR the kids online get neglected-- it's simply TOO MUCH to handle at the same time when each one demands 100% of your attention.

SO today they finally get a REAL LOOK at how at least their campus plans to do it... block schedule, A and B days, with the kids having half their schedule on A day and the second half on B days, so basically 1.5 hour classes, but half the classes on A day and the other half on B day. I didn't ask but I guess they'll be doing the computer stuff concurrently, not sure. Anyway, that's how it's shelling out around here.

Keira was SO DESPONDENT about the fact that basically that Travis (where Betty teaches English 2 and some other stuff, and Keira was going to be a sophomore) that whole area of Fort Bend County was SO overrun with covid that basically their entire year was looking to be "online"... NO marching band, NO sports, NO JRTOC drill competitions... Since mom died back in May we'd been coming to Shiner nearly every weekend anyway doing stuff around the house and farm preparing for the estate stuff and we were attending church in a small congregation in Gonzales 20 miles NW of here since our church we attended back in Rosenberg had been basically "online only" until a month or two ago, and even then it's only half attending "in person" all masked up and sitting in every other pew and all that, and the rest "online"... But going to a church in a county with very few cases versus one with THOUSANDS of cases is a lot different (and less risky) so we went in person. A nice HS girl there told Keira "you should transfer up here! We're gonna have a "normal year" so long as there's no big outbreaks or something!" and Keira, who had always shot that idea down, was like "well, I COULD". SO Keira is now a Shiner Comanche now... going from a 5A school to a 2A is a bit different, but people are 'so much nicer" here (small town) and she's playing trombone and marching and playing volleyball (which she didn't get to do at Travis- they make it IMPOSSIBLE to do more than "one thing" at school pretty much-- they want you to "live eat and breathe" the one thing). She's even excited about softball again... She's happy again!

speaking of which I gotta go get her from the school-- her volleyball bus should be back soon... OL J R :)
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#3 Re: So what are my school levy taxes going for?

Post by Joe Wooten »

Time for everyone to pull their kids from the public schools. They are too far gone to save.
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#4 Re: So what are my school levy taxes going for?

Post by luke strawwalker »

Yep more fun...

Betty was convinced when she got out for Christmas break that they were gonna take an extra week or two off before returning after New Years... After all the numbers in Fort Bend County have still been hovering just below the red zone official shutdown triggers and all of that. The school even told them to take their computers and stuff with them so they could teach from home all-online after New Years "if necessary". After all, the gubmint nearly shat themselves over the number of people that travelled over Thanksgiving despite their "stern recommendations" not to travel, and Christmas is a bigger holiday yet. Needless to say a LOT of travel would go on and a lot of people would be exposed to other folks in other places before returning home a day or two at most usually before returning to work or school... so an extra week at home seems like sort of a no-brainer, but not announce it til the last second so people don't just stay travelling an extra week still getting "exposed". After a week at home if they're not sick they're not gonna GET sick and shouldn't have exposed anybody at school thus reducing the travel risks to essentially "zero" in terms of spreading it to the school upon someone's return from Granny Schickelgrubers house in Podunk or whatever...

Well, it didn't QUITE turn out that way. We of course said "eff the gubmint!" and loaded up the van and travelled to Indiana for Christmas just as we always do. We did take a few more precautions-- normally we only stop for gas and pee breaks and get drive-thru twice a day and go in for a sit down meal and stretch somewhere along the line just to get out of the car for a bit. We did that pretty much like that, though we did do more takeout and less sit down than normal (on at least one of the two day drive up there). We usually eat at Lambert's Cafe in Sikeston, Missouri (home of the throwed rolls!) but we arrived late Saturday night and spent the night at Motel 6 and they didn't open til 10:30 Sunday morning by which time we were WELL into Illinois. We didn't get to go as many places or do as much "fun stuff" as we'd ordinarily do while in Indiana... mostly stayed at the inlaws and visited family though we did get some good takeout from the usual places around town and stuff. We stopped in Nashville at Betty's best friend's place to visit her and her mom and son; her Dad passed as school was starting and we drove up on basically a flying trip to the funeral since he was like a second Dad to Betty, and they asked me to speak at the funeral. Anyway it was all takeout and one trip to Lowe's for a new door handle and lock they needed replaced that was about it.

On the way home, Betty gets a call from my sister back at her home in Needville. She teaches as a band director at a Middle School about 4 miles from where Betty teaches high school. She's also a breathless follower of all the latest goings on and announcements by the school leadership and all that gubmint crap. She was excited that the county judge had announced that teachers were considered "essential workers" and thus bumped up to the head of the line for the covid vaccine, right behind docs and nurses, firefighters, EMT's, and cops. While the school "highly recommends" teachers get the vaccine, they were and are DOING NOTHING to procure a supply or tell teachers where they can get it. My sister was eagerly waiting in line for it and glad to have priority to get it, but couldn't seem to find it anywhere, and the school was no help, which she greatly lamented... Betty is like, "I don't care either way-- I don't necessarily want to take it, but I figure sooner or later the school is going to MAKE all the teachers take it, and when they do, well, I'll roll up my sleeve and take it to keep my job, otherwise I don't care and I'm not going looking for it..." Personally I'm like 'Eff the vaccine" and ain't gonna take it... vaccines are NOT without risk and covid is NOT that bad of a disease unless you're just really unlucky or have a lot of preexisting complicating conditions, are elderly, etc. I've had two extended family members in poor health in their 70's and 80's die from it, as well as several elderly family friends, and have heard of some younger folks passing from it, but h3ll that happens with the flu too every year... At any rate, that's MY decision. Back to the school BS...

SO, the State of TX Education Dept. was guaranteeing the school that they would pay teacher salaries for teachers who either got covid or were exposed and had to go into lockdown quarantine for 2 weeks because of it. Betty understood that was for the entire school year-- not true-- it expired on Jan 1. SO, now, if you get covid or get exposed and the gubmint people tell you to quarantine for 14 days, it either burns your vacation and sick days, or if you don't have enough, it comes out of your pocket and paycheck... and for teachers, that usually means having to pay $50 a day for a sub while your out as well. As a teacher if you don't have enough sick days it comes directly off your contract, IOW out of your paycheck for the rest of the year. My brother and SIL confirmed this-- they work for the county drainage district and the state had guaranteed the local gubmints the same thing for their employees stranded at home due to covid-- they'd cover their salaries while in lockdown. That is, until Jan 1 when they tossed everyone out "on their own" and told them to p!ss up a rope. The state gubmint ALSO passed a law saying if you knowingly were exposed or had covid and went to work anyway you could be heavily fined... which is a great moneymaker for the gubmint! SO, at the very time the state is squalling wanting everyone to get tested and be extra careful and not expose anybody, they're pulling the safety net out from under everybody and leaving them to their own devices, and if you lose a half-month's pay because of it, OH WELL who gives a sh!t?? SO basically they have DISINCENTIVIZED actually staying home if you're sick or possibly contaminated, because you're burning days that you may actually NEED if you actually come down with it later and don't have it right now... and at the same time, with the new "law" about knowingly going to work with it, well, there goes any incentive to get a covid test-- after all, if you DON'T know, you can't be held responsible for it! If you get sick and are low on sick or vacation days, the temptation will be to maybe take a day or two off, after all for MOST folks they're only sick a couple three days at most anyway, with something akin to bad flu, and some cases are FAR more mild-- Betty's best friend is a nurse and she had covid and her son and 80 year old mother caught it-- her 15 year old basically tossed his cookies for 24 hours like stomach flu and was fine after that, her mother had the trots for 24 hours and was fine after that, yet she herself had the bad flu-like aches and pains and fever and no taste for about 3-4 days before she got better. All of them were tested and tested positive for covid. Somehow her 80-something year old Dad in the house didn't catch it til several weeks later, and then he died from post-covid pneumonia... but he had a lot of health problems anyway. SO, if you don't want to lose a half-month's pay or burn up all your days because you think you *might* have been exposed or you wake up sick, take a couple three days to recover, don't get tested, keep your mouth shut, and go back to work. If you're tested and it's positive, you're screwed, so DON'T GET TESTED! That's the normal response to this ass-backwards gubmint edicts anyway... They can't have it BOTH ways-- stay home if you even suspect, whether you have sick days or not because we'll pay for your sick days if you don't have them, BUT NO, it's "stay home if you think you might have it, and you're on your own!" Oh, and if you get tested, then you're liable if you do ANYTHING to expose anyone for 14 days after you're told...

It's really stupid, but then again, it's the GUBMINT so I don't expect anything else... Oh, and one other tidbit of news my sister shared-- the State Education Agency had been paying schools the regular "per diem" for enrolled present students according to Texas school financing law... regardless of whether they were "in person" (attending school on-campus) or "online school" due to covid concerns. The state, in their infinite wisdom, informed the schools they would no longer pay the regular "per diem" rate per present student as they had, but now would only pay that for actual "IN PERSON" students actually sitting in the schoolhouse... the "online only" students would be paid at a rate of ONE HALF the normal "per diem" state funding rate. IOW, they totally DISINCENTIVIZED the online school option, because every student the school is teaching online is costing the local school HALF the money they would ordinarily be getting per student-day if they were actually sitting in the classroom... thus the schools, which up to this point have been bound "by law" to provide an online option, will be incentivized to do everything in their power to FORCE the kids back into the schoolhouse rather than doing the online school, simply to get their hands on the other half of the gubmint money that the gubmint intends to keep if they continue doing online school... BRILLIANT ain't it?? We've spent the last 30 years building only these big 3000+ student campuses where they're crammed in like Jews in cattle cars, and then WONDER OF WONDERS a communicable disease comes through and runs through it like WILDFIRE... well with kids all assholes to elbows in the hallways ten times a day is it ANY WONDER?? Now that the only ones actually attending school "in person" are the kids that actually WANT to do football or band or JROTC drill marching or basketball or whatever sport or extracurricular activity that is still actually HAVING *some* sort of a season, while all the rest of the kids that just want to get school over with the fastest and easiest way possible are content to sit and home and do online schooling, NOW the state is basically signaling the schools to rope them all back in if they want full funding, while at the same time telling everyone to minimize contact to prevent the spread of the disease... INSANE. I mean, h3ll make up your mind one way or the other-- if it's still a problem and the state is SERIOUS about trying to combat it, then put your d@mn money where your mouth is and actually have people's backs to do the things necessary to fight it... and if it's NOT a big deal and there's SO MANY OTHER IMPORTANT PLACES that school money can be blown, then STFU and just tell people, "do the best you can, do whatever, you're on your own" and leave people the h3ll alone-- reopen the businesses, STFU about the damn mask mandates, and all this other bullshit, and just let the cards fall where they may... QUIT TRYING TO HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, BECAUSE HUMAN NATURE AND REALITY SAYS YOU CANNOT!!!!

Later! OL J R :)
My MUNIFICENCE is BOUNDLESS, Mr. Bond...
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