I sat in on a special school board meeting called to review budget proposals for the 2022-2023 school year including one for a 4.7% cost of living raise for teachers. Except for teacher, student and some parent testimony, what concluded was sad and frustrating.
This is my interpretation– a parable, if you will.
Please note, 2 out of the 5 school board members were well-prepared and expressed support of the 4.7% cost of living raise for our valuable teachers:
Situation: The house is burning. It’s firefighter appreciation week.
Firefighters, experts and people of the house: “We need 4.7 units of water to put out this fire and preserve this building and its purpose.”
Board member: “So, the roof is on fire, and you are asking us to put 4.7 units of water on it RIGHT NOW? Can’t we wait?”
Firefighters, experts, etc.: “We need to act now. We have the 4.7 units of water available now, and we need to put out the fire NOW.”
Board member and some speakers: “But, I am a conservationist, and this is a lot of water.. What if we give 2.5 or 3.5 units of water and ask a consultant to take a closer look next year?”
Firefighters, experts, etc: “That is not how fires work. We understand that water conservation is good, but we have enough water here to put out the fire AND keep the rest of the house in good order. The data and experience tell us this – 4.7 units of water will put out the fire.”
Board member: “But I don’t understand water or how to measure it, and anyway the house looks fine from here. Maybe we just put on a few drops. I heard somewhere that less water is good and we could run out someday – also I want it to look like I conserve.”
Firefighters, experts, etc.: “But we are telling you that we need the 4.7 of water or it will burn to the ground. Sixteen firefighters have already left, because there is not enough water. The little ones in the house are struggling with lack of resources. Can we get the water we need?”
Some Board members: (very quietly now) “No. You get drops, and we can’t keep discussing this out loud. Aren’t we good conservationists?”
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