Dear mom at the bus stop with the petition to exclude our school from the redistricting process,
This morning I didn’t want to sign your petition.
I didn’t know why at the time, but my gut told me “no, it isn’t right.”
Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I’m really glad that I went with my gut on this.
You’re very passionate about your cause. I could tell that just talking about it was upsetting for you. I’m sorry that you’re upset.
But I will never be signing your petition.
I’m sorry I didn’t say more at the time – I needed time to process my thoughts.
Thank you for shooting down the one statement that I did contribute – suggesting that we shouldn’t be too concerned about it because it doesn’t impact ‘our’ neighborhood. You were right to dismiss it. Doing nothing because something doesn’t affect you is always the wrong thing to do. I was annoyed with myself for even suggesting it (Introvert problems…).
I do have some good reasons for not signing, though.
The first has to do with the fact that your leading argument was that we’d be losing half our PTO board and a bunch of volunteers and…oh-my-gosh-the-sky-is-falling-something-must-be-done! (You’re passionate – I think that’s awesome – but you should reign it in a bit)
This PTO thing is what you started with so I’m led to believe this was your most important concern.
Let me ask you a question – would it be fair for the district to make an exception for people that hold a privileged position?
I hope that you would say no. I don’t think they should be asked to make an exception for anyone – especially someone with power and position. What kind of precedent would that set? And also, if they grant an exception to our school, why not grant an exception to the other nine elementary schools in the district. Don’t you think they might be dealing with the same issues and concerns that we are? Yes, of course they are. Then what makes us special?
No exceptions should be made. The PTO will recover – more people will step up, volunteers will be found. We’re losing 68 kids (according to you) – that’s 12%. That’s nothing. It will be alright.
My next point is that I believe that you are only concerned about how the redistricting is affecting us RIGHT NOW.
Is this an issue about just the ‘right now’? No, it’s not.
The district has to think about what’s going to happen in the future, too.
They hired an actuary to figure that out.
I don’t know if you know anything about actuaries but they are crazy good at their jobs. If they say such-and-such school is going to be overcrowded in 3 years or 5 years, then they will be right. They’re amazing at predicting things.
I don’t know if you read the actuary’s report – I did (nerd alert). Here’s a link if you’re interested – but you told me this morning that our school wasn’t one of the ‘overcrowded’ schools and how dare they take our PTO away…(ahem) I meant students. Students. – but I’ve read the report and we’ve been over capacity since 2008. This year is supposed to be an all time high at almost 100 students over capacity. 100! Projections suggest it will stay that way unless they do something about. So, I’m sorry, but the argument that we’re ‘not overcrowded’ falls flat on it’s face unless you change the meaning of the world overcrowded or change the rules of basic math.
My point is that it’s both an issue about now and later and do you or I really have enough information to make a better decision than the people that have as much information as they could possibly gather to make this very difficult decision easier? You know, the committee who has our Principle and PTO president on it (if I was paying attention at the school’s open house – psst, I was paying attention).
I don’t believe they are out to screw anyone over (though you seem to from some of the comments you made to me this morning – a word of advice: don’t make this issue personal). We should not assign these people motivations for their conclusions simply because we disagree with those conclusions. We do not know their hearts. We were not in those meetings. We don’t know what was said or felt. But I believe these are good people. I believe they have the best interests of the students at heart. Even though I’ve only got a first grader, nothing in the various interactions I’ve had with these people suggests to me that they aren’t trying their very best to be fair, to consider the students first, to make the best decision, for now and for the years ahead when you and I (and the PTO) will be long gone.
We should give them our support. They need it. This is a very hard thing to work out. They need to know that we appreciate the care and concern they’ve put into it. They’re trying their best. We should give them a break.
What a nightmare it would be for them to have to revisit this in a few years because they gave into flimsy arguments that were only concerned with how the change affected people in the moment.
Further, all of the schools in our district are exceptional. I don’t think anyone really loses if they are chosen to make a move to a similarly awesome school.
Therefore, I will never sign your petition. But good luck with it.
I have just one more question to leave with you – if there were no members of the PTO board living within the affected area, would you still have been there this morning with your petition?
I hope so.
Thanks for reading,