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Monday, October 19, 2009

Jane Thumbs Up On Greeley District Six Mill Levy Tax And Thumbs Down on School Board

People are emailing and ringing up and asking me what my final opinion is on the Greeley Colorado District 6 Schools Mill Levy Override. I've reposted the closing paragraphs near to the end of my last essay, Part III, on the topic for clarity.

Basically Jane is thumbs up on 3A and thumbs down on the District 6 Administration.

All told, the above suppositions and scenarios lead me to the last question: Is the performance problem a direct correlation to money?

Of course it is. It isn't the only problem but it is a fundamental one.

You get the quality of administration you pay for. If Greeley wants this situation resolved it needs to either clarify what Ms. Lang sees as the real problems in this district and demand a detailed plan and timeline for cleaning it up or replace her with someone who can build a better engine by distributing and using the parts given more effectively. This may also entail recalling and replacing the school board. If Greeley wants the students to perform more effectively against other districts then it is going to have to pay for higher quality administrators and probably better supplies and materials.

I'll also mention it is going to have to pay for high quality teachers as well but that argument is already being made by the Union.

The gist of my post here is that good effective systems are built and maintained and paid for by an involved community. If this community really wants to be fiscally conservative there is nothing bad about being sure money is spent in prudent ways to get effective results. But at the same time trying to micromanage systems after the damage has been done by gutting funding is extremist and dangerous. You have to pay to rebuild the engine and then make sure it is maintained once optimal function is reached. That is the time to get the fiscal conservatism argument in. Right now Greeley has to pay for the mechanics to fix the machine that crumbled while the electorate looked the other way.

Arguing, as some have done, that punishing administrators and making their jobs even harder is the way to get this administration to spend more wisely flies in the face everything this community has voted for and believed in for decades--smaller government is better and fiscal conservatism rules the day. The inflexibility of that ideology has built the system these administrators are now faced with changing and are being pummeled for creating. Even if guilty for continuing poor policies they certainly didn't get here all alone. They are elected.

... I still think that the Mill Levy Override has been poorly and misleadingly sold to a community looking desperately for an easy solution to the performance problems. Measure 3A won't fix what is wrong with the distribution of human resources. But not passing 3A will certainly do the students of D6 more harm than good as new priorities in funding would likely be made on par with ones suggested in the Greeley Tribune scare-tactic editorials. If the poor choices I pointed about above, do indeed exist, I hate to think of the impact of what a new round of cuts would mean. And the consequences of such damage in the long run is a bullet in the heart of this community that Greeley needs to avoid.

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