School Votes without the Bulldog

It’s the school budget vote today. So first off, if you haven’t voted yet, get out there and vote. You can find out all the details about the budget and where and when to vote over here. But beyond that, it’s a strange year for the vote. Yes, last year we had the whole COVID thing to deal with, which swallowed up any recollection I have of the vote. (It passed the first time? I think? I honestly can’t remember what happened.) But every year before that, the community had its annual flamewars on the local online paper, The Daily Bulldog.

That was all before the Bulldog stopped allowing comments on its articles. I am still very pleased that they did that, though I also know all it did was sweep the problem under the rug. There’s still plenty of disagreement in the community, ranging from people earnestly trying to do the right thing on both sides down to people who really just want to troll the other side, down to people who espouse some pretty base ideas. They’re all still there, only very much muffled.

So in a way, it’s disconcerting to have this vote happening today and to not have any real idea how much opposition there is to the budget. It’s another increase, so you have to assume there’s a fair bit of chatter and consternation, simply judging by the fact that there always has been, and the trend has been toward that increasing, not decreasing. Budget uncertainties elsewhere will only compound the problem.

Without all that bickering back and forth, it’s hard to know what will happen. How do you convince people who aren’t inclined to vote that there’s a need to vote? Though at the same time, that door swings both ways. I imagine it’s just as hard for the budget hawks to really feel like they’re getting momentum when there’s no tangible way to gauge how it’s going.

So what will the end result be? I honestly have no idea, and I’m worried about it. I suppose we’ll find out tonight just how big the feeling on each side is in a vacuum. I do understand the desire to keep the school budget nice and svelte, and I also understand the arguments that it’s much bigger now than it was before. But at the same time, so is every budget. In my book, as long as the increase is under 2%, then there’s no cause for alarm. (It’s 1.76% this year.) Things get more expensive. Salaries. Technology costs. Energy costs. Equipment costs. Just because they’re non-profit doesn’t mean schools are immune to that. And if the increase is more than 2%, then I think it’s worth listening to hear why it’s as big as it is. In my experience, there’s always been a good reason for that. But the argument that the budget needs to flatline or be cut is one that willfully ignores many extenuating circumstances.

Anyway. We’ll see how it turns out tonight. Go vote!

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