Reggie Paulk: Budget Problems or Political Theatre?
October 28, 2010
To the Editor:
With all the hype surrounding amendments 60, 61 and proposition 101, I thought it appropriate to point out some interesting observations regarding the school district’s handling of the issues.
On July 30, referencing a story from the Sky-Hi News, Channel 7 in Denver warned that if the amendments passed, East Grand Schools would be forced to shut down from Nov. 4 through Jan. 24.
A letter describing the district’s position was not mailed to parents until well after the story broke, and in it was explained that the schools had about a 1 percent probability of being shut down during that time. After the letter was mailed to parents, Channel 9 ran the sensational story, claiming the district faced a mandatory shutdown due to budgetary constraints.
The news coverage was rather timely: It gave organizations opposed to the ballot measures a great talking point when discussing the tragic consequences of the measures being approved. And at an ideal time during the voting season to boot. Personally, I was angered that we were told of these issues after the news outlets, and saw it for pure political theatre. The intervening months have shown that to be mostly true.
Recent articles in this publication have fleshed out the details of the district’s plans should these measures pass. The worst case scenario doesn’t involve closing the schools at all.
As a parent, it disturbs me to see the school district making public threats about the level and quality of education to serve a political purpose, only to turn around and downplay the effects of proposed legislation in editorials and parent letters.
The “sky is falling” pieces may be found here:
Two later pieces, with a bit more rationality, may be read here: http://www.skyhidailynews.com/article/20101005/NEWS/101009959 and http://www.skyhidailynews.com/article/20101011/NEWS/101019999