Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Before City Council, mid-June, 2004

My Name is Mark Rauterkus.My family and I live at 108 South 12th Street, South Side. Internet hang-outs are Rauterkus.com -- and CLOH.Org.

At 6:30 pm, on Thursday, June 17, 2004, I'll be helping to coordinate another community meeting. Everyone is invited. The meeting is on the South Side -- at South Vo Tech High School. We'll meet in the School LIBRARY. Come early as we'll be finished by 8 pm.

South Vo Tech is closing. Today is the last day of regular school for 450 students. Have a great and safe summer vacation.

A number of concerned citizens made objections concerning the decision to shutter South Vo Tech. This meeting won't be only with a focus of South Vo Tech -- but given the setting, it will be part of the discussion.

I advocated for a staged shut-down of South Vo Tech throughout a three or four year period. I think that the kids that are there now (9th, 10th, 11th graders) should be able to graduate -- even with night and summer school.

Otherwise, the drop out rate are going to be massive. The worst move possibe is what is school board has done. A couple hundred kids are NOT going to terminate their high school educations and NOT graduate.

The shift to CHARTER Schools is expected -- costing district MORE money. The outward migration accelerates. Families get yanked around again. And, the impact upon the other schools that must absorb the displaced South students is going to trouble everyone.

Students in HEATING & Airconditioning,
Commercial Art,
Small Engine Repair,

Go to Brashier for academic work and still use the South Vo Tech Annex for trade work. Then the following year they'll need to move to Peabody. Treating High School students to a smorgasboard of four schools in their career within the district is a prime example of why we are in such a serious decline around here.

To phase out the school is a little more trouble for the ADMINISTRATION -- but in the long run it still gives the tax payers the same results -- and for the students it offers a world of difference.

When people see this treatment to other people -- they want no part of it for themselves. They choose to NOT come here.

Furthermore, this same group of kids won't be able to go to Connelley Technical School for adult eduation -- as that too has been closed.

These are Dr. Thompson and Bill Isler CAST-OFFs. A whole group of kids -- within a special category -- get flushed away. These kids are NOT the darlings of the CULTURAL DISTRICT.

The Vo Tech vision in this district is an undisputed failure. That burden goes to Mr. Fondy -- of the Teacher's Union (who has serious ties to South and yet he can turn his back upon them) -- and the TRADE UNIONS of Great Pittsburgh.

The UNOINS have been worthless here -- when it comes to our treasured future.

Another invite

On Wednesday, June 16 from 7 to 8 pm --- people in the city can tune into a TV Show on PCTV 21. Our last meeting held on the North Side at the National Aviary was turned into a show.

We talk about the Save Our Summer -- and beyond.

Looking back I called Save Our Summer a process that put a band-aid upon a band-aid and that it didn't address the real wound. I think I might have been TOO GENEROUS with Elsie Hillman's and Bill Truehart's efforts -- in tandem with Citiparks.

I think we have a new band-aid that has been applied to a system held together by old band-aids ----- but the new wrinkle is something that I've not seen before. Then I read the ACT 47 RECOVERY PLAN.

The band-aids -- are going onto a CORPSE.

They want to put on a big show -- work on this to save face -- but THE BODY is DEAD.

City Council -- you might have expired. The last breath of city life in Pittsburgh might be just a memory. When the ACT 47 Agreement is signed ..... we should all send flowers -- to have the aroma to cover the stench -- even if it is another tempory fix.

We need a Lazarus - like REVIVAL. To come back from the dead is going to take a lot of work. It starts with the understanding of cooperation and serious -- all day all night work in proactive ways. If you want ME to help you with the COUNTER OFFER -- as a REJECTION of the ACT 47 plan --- we can do it.

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