Re: Second wave of down economy
The system Mike and I graduated from in 1972 had roughly 5200 kids in about ten schools when we got out...crammed in and filled to the gills. That included a huge central high school buitlt in about 1965, I think, at a cost of about $1 million. It was too small, and soon extended with two wings for English (the only air-conditioned portion, since everyone had at least one class a day there, with English required every year of the curriculum.)
About 25 years later, with our eldest in the same high school, the county had 1700 or so fewer kids, and was closing elementaries right and left, saying they were too expensive to renovate.
Mothballing was not a good idea...they really were not able to re-open them, since they did not meet newer building codes for schools. So, basically, wasted and another decade or so later, $33 million in bonds was floated to prettify the few schools ( about 2/3 of the ones we'd seen active in our school years) they sitll ran.
Ten years after that, a bond was let at $80 miullion to renovate the older half of those, and then build a single new elementary and high school. That was without any of the infrastructure - water/sewer, power, roads, etc., to the two new sites, so they ran very short of funds, and woukd have aborted the elementary, but for the bond wording, which required both to be built,
Fast forward...county is broke, and still have way under 4000 kids on roll call there. Beating on the federal gov't to build schools for a BRAC expansion of the Quartermaster Corps HQ of the US army in neighboring town/county...but no new kids have shown up, in fact, school pop is dropping. in other words, build schools for kids that are not here....
Meanwhile, our county here in NC buitl a new elementary for less than 200 kids, at a cost of $9 million...and the main housing type is singlewide mobile homes, and not new ones at that...and our county board still thinks trailers are tax base.
Now, they want to bulldoze the two existing high schools and build one central one...but when diesel got over $2.50 a couple years back, we were discussing schools only four days a week. It's pushing over $3.50 now, so by all means, let's decide to haul everyone further to one location, instead of keeping them at the two ends of the county, and save a few bucks. How can you afford public buildings made of brick and mortae, when the homes that support them on taxes are made of aluminum and plastic?
(As an aside, I have taught in school buildings vintage 1939 to 1989, and the 1939 one was the most habitable by far...but God forbid, any kid attend class in a paid-for classroom with windows that let in fresh air.)
No one has had the heart to tell either local government that the price of gasoline is making more and more of each county marginal for habitation. Poor people cannot live out here and afford to drive to work in town for what's paid there or back home...it's a death spiral.
Got to turn in now...hope I can sleep after this rant!
Re: 2 addresses
If you leave out college and our rental when we first married, while our house on Mike's family farm was being built, he's had two addresses, I've had three. We are 56.
We would have been satisfied to stay one place back, but could not get the county there to approve our farm expansion plan. Everyone hates hog farms until tax time, then they dammit adore us!
I would move back to my childhood hoemeplace, but the whole farm has been obliterated by mining...that is a hard thing to see. I will still sometimes dream about the feel of the sandy loam between my toes, the scent of honeysuckle on certain fencerows, and the narrow back sidewalk that started the pathway to my grandmother's house, across the pasture. It is too real in some dreams...
I would like to think that our children will enjoy the comfort of being in a place that ony comes with taking time to know it. For now, two of them seem happy to stay put, but one gets antsy every 3 or 4 years. That is the one who has not found a life partner, either...so, maybe not too surprising.
Re: Second wave of down economy
Kay I was going to respond to your "rant" about schools with similar stories. But I got to thinking, it's much deeper than local folklore. Many times being elected to a school board is the start of a political career. Your situation in NC is very like us in Ohio. So it must be the political minds that do such stupid things. Then that thinking carries right on up the political ladder. We haven't had any farmers on our school board for over 15 years. They are all "professional" people, even a lawyer. Amazing how smart college made them.
Re: Second wave of down economy kay/NC
Does the Wisc governor pay for any health insurance -I can't locate the info ? On the other hand I've known some very successful folks that where educated in a one room country school and where transported there by the parents--
Re: Second wave of down economy kay/NC
It should not be too difficult to Google the salary and benefits info you are seeking, sicneit is public information.
As to the matter of school facilities being crucial telements o learning or not, I've always been amazed that parents want their children educated in new, fancy public schools, with the lofty goal of being eventually taught in very old buildings on the campuses of private universities...sort of a logical paradox to me. We all know that - given that safety is not an issue - an older building may be as sufficient as any newer one.
I have a theory that I've seen in play with landfills and county managers. Back in the eighties, when my home neighborhood was held in fear of a huge reguonal landfull citing there, we learned that there are guys hired in local governments that are the frontrunners for companies that put in landfills. They will set up a similar financial scenario...the one we had tried to get the county into serious debt with some tax anticipation approval.
The tactic he'd used in the previous seven or eight jobs he'd held was identical. Spend in anticipation of revenues...basically put the county on credit for operating - not just capital - expenses. Not good fiscal policy.
Fortunately, that required a public hearing, and I heard the board say one thing, but make a different motion than their discussion reflected. They had said, they would only use the option if they needed the money. (We knew by then that their shiny new manager had found ways to indebt the last several places he'd worked for, so knew that the shortfalls would be constructed.
I stood up (yes, I was out of order) and said, "Then put that in your motion."
I never noticed the TV camera in my face, or the microphone that had been shoved under my chin. The board chairman, who we eventually learned was promised the county's trash pickup contract in return for his support of the landfiull proposal, played dumb as hell. He just could not understand why I "did not trust him." (BTW, that scheme is called "take and pay"...they take your trash, and you pay. The county we live in now fell for it before we got here.)
I would not sit down during the exchange with the chairman. He foolishly engaged in conversation with me, and never told me to sit down and remain in order. The rest of the room started rumbling in support of what I was saying (I may have accidentally incited them a bit...I am told I am a convincing speaker, especially extemporaneously.). The rest of the board, which had evidently not been clued into the plot, finally agreed, amended the motion, severely limiting the access to borrowed money by this route, and the plan was thus thwarted.
There are guys that do the same thing with school building. Superintendents who come from somewhere else, who are the frontmen for commercial builders. People want the best for their children, and it does not take much persuasion to get them on board to lobby for new facilities.
If you look into the career history of some public employees at the managerial/school superintendent level, you will see the landscape littered where they have been - new schools and other public buildings,:"regional" landfills in county after neighboring county...all receiving trash from NYC or DC. And, the revenues from those imported tons of trash end up doing what? Usually building new schools, of course.
They tend to move on once the town or county's ability to borrow is pretty much exhausted. They tend to move to the next place that is not yet buried in debt.
I can tell you who's behind it...I was eventually offered state police protection from them by my state legislator, and he knew for sure.
As for finding a safer and affordable alternative, it is fortunately much easier to engage in homeschooling as an alternative now than it was when our kdis were young. Lots of curriculum materials and guidance have been developed, plus you have the Internet as a new and broadreaching resource. States have let up on some of the more ponderous restrictions in many instances. Lots of good networking and group activities, too, so homeschoolers are not out there alone, viewed as whackos.
The truth is, while I never considered homeschooling our kids, my daughter asked me if I'd think about teaching any children she may have someday. Times have changed so drastically, I actually think it might be an advantage...children taught at home tend to either do much, much better, or not well at all. It would have been too isolating for us 25 years ago...but isolation right now might not be as bad as immersion in the schools around here...and that includes the nice, new buliding that is half-empty.
Re: Reverse mortgages?
Multi-generational households were the norm until well after WWII, I think. We are one of the few nations on Earth that invest so much in staying away from the ones we love, aren't we?
I have recently offered one of our young adult offspring the chance to return to school, so as to make a career change that seems sorely needed. The most sensible path on this course appears right now for that one to move to this place - but not this house - for a cheap (basically free for us both)living arrangement. Neither of us needs that much togetherness. We will certainly see much more of each other than we do now; so, it makes me wonder how we will manage our relationship in this new configuration.
I've seen several news reports about families crowding more generations into one house, or a kid and their family parking in the yard in an RV. Evidently, many places have zoning far more amenable to that than our county does...they would be cited and moved off here. I am also guessing that a lot of public enforcement officials are looking the other way now.
Having kids and grandparents together under one roof can potentially solve a lot of costly care issues for both, and there are definite social upsides. Extended adult presence can lighten the load for each individual. There is a lot to recommend the arrangement. The fact that most families do not live this way - unless or until forced by finances to do so - is illogical, so I am guessing the trend to separate housing is emotionally driven.
Re: Second wave of down economy kay/NC Teacher pay
Daaaammmmnnnnn! Might be worth dusting off my degree and relocating....
"Average" can be a bit crazy to calculate, though...is that the actual mathematical average of all salaries/benefits, or the median (midpoint) level of pay.benefits of all teachers actually being paid in the workforce at present, or is the the midpoint of the projected pay scale?
NC teacher pay is based off of a scale set by the state. Poor localities (like our county) pay nothing more. As you may imagine, recruitment is difficult. Wealthy ones add local contributions to the scale, and salaries can get pretty decent. If I recall right, there is a state supplemental retirement payment by the locality, too. Health insurance is usually on the employee, and you may pay to add dependents.
Our county is apparently such a crappy place to live and work, the core curriculum in secondary schools is almostt entirely in the hands of Teach for America folks working off two-year commitments. Then, they are gone.