One of my latest projects is volunteering with this political action committee. After hearing about what trouble was brewing at the school district, I didn’t really have a choice. My contributions might be small but I would like to explain why I am passionate about this.
First I’ll try to explain what is happening to the best of my knowledge. Located in the district are offices of a very large insurance company. A few years back they requested an appeal on their property taxes and were granted one. Our problem is that about one third of those taxes went to the public schools of district 31. The district tried for a permanent tax increase but voters did not pass it the first time. Now they’re trying again. They have made about $1.8 million dollars in cuts since 2008. If this referendum does not pass the board has approved a $1 million dollar reduction plan for the next two years.
THIS LIST RIGHT HERE brought some tears. Bus transportation- Some students live more than two miles from their school which is an unreasonable distance to walk two times a day for kids of this age in the unpredictable weather. Being driven to school would only further clog up our small turnaround (if you’ve ever driven by at 3:30, you know). I took the bus to elementary school for six years.
*OFF TOPIC* I’m some trouble getting focused again because like 50% of women and 10% of men I have a fear of spiders. Finally into my groove of focused writing and researching, this spider caught me off guard, scurrying across the desk. Now, following the jumping, shouting for my dog, running for my mom, some cowering in the next room, a prayer, some chocolate, a warm drink and sweatpants to stop the chills, and a quick cloroxing of the computer, I still feel hyper-sensitive to small movements. I do not feel ashamed of this phobia because what I do feel is overwhelming fear. I am, however, skeptical to call it arachnophobia because I don’t want to downplay anyone else’s fear that may be more than mine.
I vividly remember losing sleep over my fear or spiders in third grade when I attended Winkelmen Elementary School.
I look back so fondly at my grade school years because I was so comfortable at my school and took the opportunities presented. Despite sacrifices made in the classroom, the words ‘all sports teams and extra-curricular activities will be eliminated’ should never have to be put together in a sentence. Where would I be without my compilation of art, musicals, science, knitting, FPS, band, yearbook, (cheerleading), track, and so much more experience? Next week I am visiting that middle school and thanking each teacher because I like to think I’m a better person because of them. The fact is that Winkelmen and Field will not be schools if these cuts take place. Another fact is that I and many other alumni feel that we will always have a home at District 31.