Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs….

I’ve been seriously trying to write a post about the on-going school budget debates, but it seems that every time I do something else happens, or there hasn’t been enough solid information to write an intelligent post.  It seems we are now at the breaking point where State funding is set, board members have filed for re-election or election and things have gotten ugly.  We have been dealt with more aid cuts and the fight to save programs continues to rage.

As I see it, there are basically two issues at play as we draw closer to the big budget vote.

1).  There is a decisive rift between those who believe our budget crisis is a funding issue evolved from years of steady decline in State funding and those that believe the district has an expenditure issue that goes way back.  Then there is the silent majority that has no idea what to make of it all and are tired of rising school taxes each year despite the cuts in school programs.  Paying more for less gets old very fast.  You can find me in the third group.

2).  There are also similar factions that have an ax to grind ever since the emotional closing of the George Washington Elementary and those board members who voted for it are slowly getting picked off at each election.

The result is an internet war between these factions and it has gotten beyond ugly with hate, vitriol, stupid cartoons, bigotry and baseless accusations.  I have considered an attempt at constructive discussion with participants on one blog but it seems that if my child was not part of the GWS closing, my opinion doesn’t mean anything.  The other seems to have its head in the clouds and I cannot deal with that either.

The feud has resulted in large signs recently popping up on Rt 43 accusing two board members of leading the school district to ruin (and yes, they voted for the closure of GWS) and accusations are flying as to who is responsible for putting up the signs.  One appalling, and public,  accusation is that a sitting Board member assisted in erecting those signs.  Yikes.

Last night there was a BOE meeting where the signs were publically decried and apparently names were brought up.  Amongst all of this craziness, I am still trying to figure out whether or not the Board adopted a budget!  Thankfully, this meeting stayed out of the media but it makes getting info a little difficult without resorting to consulting the feuding blogs of the McCoys and Hatfields.  Anyone??

My view from 5,000 feet is that it is both a revenue and expenditure problem.  Until some kind of compromise can be made and acceptance of what is reality, the district will continue to lose its programs.  And yes, the State is short-sided in hammering districts like ours who are not classified as High Needs but seriously lack a tax base due to its “Bedroom Community” structure.  Until we have representation with clout in the Legislature (I can’t believe I’m saying this but oh don’t we miss Joe Bruno now?) we will continue jump up and down pleading for more assistance with no one to notice us.

The expenditure issue is something we can somewhat control (unfunded mandates and mandatory expenditures aside).  The district needs to stop operating as usual because it is the way it’s always been done.  Things need to change, policies need to be re-examined and strive for more efficiency.   Apparently we can’t apply for the State competitive grants in administrative efficiency because we don’t qualify…why the hell not??

Fixing our revenue problem is a long-term issue.  The Town needs to bend and encourage bigger businesses to put down roots, and lobbying for mandate relief and an examination of the GEA cuts (see section on Gap Elimination Adjustment) for possible relief of this inequitable cut.

I’m going to try to examine different aspects of the battle beginning with an examination of peer districts and the size of their administration as compared to us.  Those screaming for admin cuts may be surprised to see that we are not spending lavishly here and we are pretty much on par.  Competency of those in these positions is moot…I can’t quantify that.

And when the final budget scenario is released, I will try to get that up here too.  The last one I saw was on April 3 and is posted here.  It ain’t pretty folks!

!@#$ Punxsutawney Phil!!

The Truck Parked in Front of Fenway

The Truck Parked in Front of Fenway

In spite of Phil’s prediction of more doom and gloom, the best sign of Spring is occurring today in Boston.  It is a happy day known to Red Sox fans as Truck Day!

What is Truck Day, you ask?  Glad you asked.  It is the day that all the team gear leaves Fenway a truck bound for Fort Meyers, Fl., aka Spring Training Camp.

The next best days are Feb. 12th and 14th, where pitchers and catchers are required to report and their first spring training workout occurs, respectively.

And for my birthday on Feb. 18th, the Sox will have their first full squad workout.  Thanks Red Sox.  Good birthday present.  I appreciate that.

That means Major League Baseball is not that far away and better days are coming.  And after experiencing the Longest Winter Ever©, I am overjoyed to see the beginning of the season.  Bring on the heat and humidity, hot dogs and peanuts, and strikes and homeruns!

And yes, only us screwball Red Sox fans could get THIS excited over a truck.  And Marlene…I am not a truck.

Oh When the Saints Go Marching In…

siena_saints_logo…right into the top 25 in the RPI rankings!  How about that?!  For you non-sports types, that means that the Siena Saints Mens Basketball team is ranked right up there with the national powerhouses such as Syracuse, Georgetown, etc.

Okay, it just means that they are REALLY REALLY GOOD!  Undefeated so far in the MAAC this season and are on a rampage to March Madness. They are even getting some national coverage!

Sports Illustrated had a thing or two to say about the Saints.

Siena may have fallen off the radar after the Saints lost all three of their games at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando in November, but now they have won 12 of their last 13, they’re undefeated in the MAAC and they’re ranked 20th in the RPI.  No team will want to see its name pop up next to Siena’s on Selection Sunday.

He then goes on to rank them #25 in the country in his own personal rankings.  I’ll take it.

They will be also be playing in Bracket Busters tournament that will be on ESPN and an ESPN writer already had some decent things to say about the team.

Wow. Yep, that’s my alma mater! Not bad for a little ole college in Loudonville.    While I’m not a huge basketball fan, and I don’t follow the Saints games that closely, I do keep an eye on them, go to an occasional game and get real excited when they make the NCAA tourney.  It’s fun!

So….GO SAINTS!!

Very Superstitious

To celebrate the Red Sox Ring Day/Opening Day, and also inspired by a comment on Sweetpea’s blog, I’d like bring up an interesting topic: Sports Superstitions

Here is the comment:

Go Caps! My husband has been banned from Caps games by friends of ours because they lose any game he attends. Now he’s watching (and going nuts) in our downstairs rec room.

Naturally, a rational person would say, “Oh c’mon.  Do you really think whether or not a particular person is present at a game will actually have an effect on its outcome?”

Say it with me Sports Enthusiasts!!  “HELL YES!”

Fanatic sports fans are not rational human beings.  Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.  During a Super Bowl or a World Series in particular, a stench can be percieved from the home of a die hard fan because he/she refused to change their socks or remove a certain shirt/jersey through the playoffs. To do so would alter the outcome of the championship game with horrific consequences.

Case in point….Me.  I am a Red Sox fan.  What does that tell you?

I bring you back to October 2003 when I was a Long Suffering Red Sox fan, (Sorry, I refuse to re-live 1986), Game 7 of the American League Championship Series between the Sox and the Evil Empire Yankees.

Superstition #1- I had to  wear a cotton Sox jersey that I had purchased at the Hall of Fame many moons ago.  I wore it faithfully for every post-season game that October, no washing.  That would wash out the winning momentum! 

Superstition #2- I had to be doing laundry during the games, whether it was folding, sorting, etc.  No problem in a household of 3+ people.  (That means, three of us plus two part-time stepkids, get it?) 

Superstition #3 – I couldn’t be in the room when the opposing team was at bat, though I do admit to peaking around the corner at the television now and then.

Despite my efforts, in typical dramatic fashion, the Sox lost in extra innings to the Yankees – Aaron effin Boone’s walk-off home run off of my boy, Tim Wakefield.  Heartache and anguish continued to consume Red Sox Nation as the Yankees moved onto the World Series.

The shirt was immediately removed and disposed of.  (Should have burned it)  And my only consolation was that anything that could possible go in the wash was clean, folded and put away….that and the Yankees eventually lost to the Florida Marlins.  Heh.

I still faithfully do laundry during playoff games, but I rotate Red Sox shirts, if they lose a game.  Somewhere in my head, I actually believe that this makes a difference!

So sports fans – do you have any fun rituals that perform in the hopes that it does in fact alter the universe in your team’s favor?