Roosevelt faces hard choices in balancing financial, education needs 'They're the generals, and we're just the minions ... I think that's a Smoky City legacy,' said South Side parent Mark Rauterkus, who complained Mr. Roosevelt developed the budget cuts behind closed doors instead of seeking the community's input.The proposed closing of Pgh Public Schools Gifted Center is very bad news. The decision isn't going to get support from me. And, the moves announced this week might sink the entire reform agenda.
I talk about this "smokey city legacy" in the quote. And, it is illustrated with great clarity with the quote at the end of the article. "Some of the sacrifices, I think, in the end will be understood not to be sacrifices," said the director of A-Plus Schools. Bingo! See what I mean.
We (citizens, parents, customers of our schools) take crap. They (foundations honchos, unelected leaders, appointed neighborhood weenies, special-interest takers) call it A+ Beef. We have to eat it. In the end, they'll expect to be thanked by the citizens (minions).
Meanwhile, another 10,000 flee the city this year. The one's who value choices and freedoms vote with their feet.
I wanted to see a meeting among the parents of gifted students. I wanted to see some open meetings among the teachers, or various sections of the city. How about a meeting of gifted center alumni too. What do the gifted center staffers say? I wanted to have the facts put out before us for all to see.
Just a year or two ago we (citizens) heard that the Pgh Public Schools was running a nice, healthy surplus. Then the RAD tax was stolen. Then the crossing guards pay was shifted onto the backs of the kids in the classrooms -- rather than the mayor's budget. Then the foundations pulled $3+ million a year for a few years. That's all in all more than $20-million.
Dr. John Thompson said that there wasn't a budget problem. Now Mr. Roosevelt says we have a $49-million annual shortfall.
I remember when James C. Roddey said that Allegheny County government was an island of stability in a sea of red ink from all the other failing governmental entities. Then Dan Onorato came into office and the story changed in drastic ways. And, Mr. Roddey defended his claims for the next number of months.
Who do you trust? Who is right?
Perhaps they are all wrong.
There has been a changing of the guard. Around here that must mean that there is about to be a purge of the opposition. That's a smokey city way that is tolerated.
Bob O'Connor gets the spotlight shifting to him next. We'll see. Is there a "budget surplus" (already kicked around by Murphy) or not?
We need change, of course. We need to make stong, bold steps to moderize and right-size -- of course. But, we don't need to churn and burn. We don't need to have this shoved down our throats. We need to have the best possible solutions -- and that takes time, effort, communtity and interactions. Those qualities are absent in Roosevelt's actions so far.
Thanks to the director of A-Plus Schools for proving my point in such vivid color.
We need to think again. I would insist we act out in the open. I'd insist we seek valued input from all sectors. I would overhaul the process for change. I would make an open system. I want a more transparent governement -- so we can terminate this "smokey city", behind-closed doors, knee-jerk reaction mode of operations.
I would be PROACTIVE among the entire community.
I know that this is messy -- but it is original and it makes a huge difference. You can't be self-reliant when all the brians and brawn are concentrated in the few.
This week alone we have opened up the newspaper to read for the first time that the outgoing police chief is expecting the South Side Police Station to close -- and the school superintendent and board are going to close the Gifted Center. That's a big one-two punch -- and they are SUCKER PUNCHES, blindsided bad news, little options for ducking or sidesteps or even rolling with the punches.
But in the end we'll thank them --- ha, ha, ha. You better be good because Santa is coming to town.