Monday, March 30, 2009

Tax Levy

This topic is very heavy on my heart. Recent comments by others have burdened me. I lay awake last night thinking this issue over and over. I just don't understand. I'm not usually a vocal person, but I think this issue deserves the extra attention.

Trenton & I obviously do not have children. Which is why we feel that it is extra important for us to be informed on the issues, such as school board members and the tax levy, because our vote affects the lives of other people's children. I feel that if I'm to vote on electing a person to a board to make choices for other people's children, I should have as much knowledge about that person as possible. We attended the school board forum last year and this year, in order to make informed decisions. We've read the material and plan on going to the forum for the tax levy as well. I don't feel that we are particularly biased on this issue because our jobs are not affected by this levy, nor will it likely influence OUR children's education, because they will possibly travel with me to school at Scotland. I, do, however feel very strongly about providing the best possible education for all students that do attend school at Schuyler.

Yes, the enrollment numbers are going down, so in THEORY the operating cost should go down as well. However, it costs just as much to run a bus to and from the school hauling 30 kids as it does one transporting 50 kids. It's costs the same to fill that bus up with fuel either way. Could the district cut the number of buses and routes, the simple answer: yes. The following information was found in an article researching the subject further (and yes I googled it):

"Research addressing the practice of school busing and its effects on children and families is quite limited. Even though approximately 60% of public school students in the United States ride buses to and from school, there is very little research examining the impact of this experience on students' health, family life, course choices, involvement in extracurricular activities, school performance, or academic achievement (Zars, 1998). Some investigators, however, have collected anecdotal data as a way to increase public awareness of the difficulties faced by many rural riders of school buses. Two researchers in West Virginia (Spence, 2000a, 2000b; Zars, 1998) gathered information from children and parents about how children and families were being affected by long bus rides. Several of the reports provided to these researchers suggested that children who experienced long bus rides tended to participate in fewer after school activities. Children with the longest rides also reported little time to do homework, especially when compared with children who walked or had short rides. Furthermore, children who experienced the longest rides over rural roads described the physical exhaustion that resulted from those rides (Spence, 2000a; Spence, 2000b; Zars, 1998). Focusing on consequences for family life, Fox provided a more recent study of the effects of bus rides on children. The study focused on the effects of long bus rides on children's home experiences, including the amount of sleep they got, the time they had for homework, the time they had for play, and the family activities in which they were involved. In the school district studied, Fox found that length of ride did have an impact on these features of children's lives and was a consideration when families made decisions about what activities to engage in. Fox reported that students with long bus rides chose to participate in fewer in-home and out-of-home activities."

I know this information is only a small piece to a much LARGER picture. But what if this was an area that had to be cut? What if instead of running 12 buses, the district decided to cut that down to 8 routes? What if a student who is already riding a 30 minute bus route now has to ride 50 minutes? Our county expands over many areas. Unlike other neighboring counties, we only have one school in our district. Scotland County hosts: SCR-1 and Gorin. Adair county hosts: Brashear, Novinger, and K-ville R-3 to cover their counties. What if this means a parent decides that since their child didn't get off the bus until 4:15, that after homework, supper, and family time, there isn't time left for activities such as Sonlight or Youth Group? Personally, for me, a longer bus route is not the answer.

Ok, so if we can't cut costs there, let's look at another area. What about less teachers and classes per grade? Cut some salaries and you could save lots of money. If there are going to be 42 kindergartners, instead of having 3 classes of 14, let's only have 2 classes of 21. Not unmanageable, but not ideal by any means. Any number of you can Google, go to the library, whatever, and research the effects of larger class sizes on student achievement and performance. I researched this in college, and I've seen the effects. I went to a three room school house until 6th grade where there were 2 people in my class. I know the kind of attention and education I received was far more individualized than when I was sitting in a classroom of 30. To me, one of the benefits of smaller schools and homeschooling, is the reduced class size leading to more one on one attention and education by the teacher. Every teacher is expected to perform what is called differentiated instruction. This is keying in and tuning into each student's individual needs, whether they are auditory learners, visual learners, tactile learners, etc and adapting each of your lessons to meet their needs. Seems to me this certainly would be more effective with 14 students vs. 21 students in a classroom. With less students, you have less disruptions, less distractions, and in general spend more time educating the students and less time doing crowd control. Differentiated instruction is also a main reason for technological tools, such as the remote controls, in our classrooms. These tools stimulate brain function in each chlid in more ways than reading out of a simple textbook ever could. About those textbooks, without proper funding, the school district will not be able to update and upgrade the textbooks the kids are learning out of. This can greatly affect student achievement. I personally know that the teachers at Schuyler are VERY resourceful in supplementing their textbooks, but I also know that teacher's personal funds are limited as well. I'll gladly give my extra $85.39 for taxes, because I can guarantee you 90% of all the teachers at that school are spending that plus some out of their own pockets for their classrooms each and every year without reimbursement!

I'm sure I could keep going on all the issues like this. Does it cost the same to heat and cool the school if there are 300 kids enrolled as it does if there are 250 kids enrolled? Yes. Are the costs of heating and cooling rising in today's economy? Yes. I don't know about all of you, but I feel like we've been trying to be as energy efficient as we can be at our house and our utility bills are still on the rise. I can only imagine what it's like for an entire school district. Could programs be cut? Yes. Would our children be as prepared for today's world without opportunities such as college prep classes, foreign language classes, etc. No. Part of the district's funding is based on the acheivement scores of the state testing. Will our kids achieve as high without the exposure to certain areas of academics? No. Will the school district eventually possibly just maybe get some funds from the federal/state government? Possibly, but I don't know bout you, but I don't particularly have a lot of faith in our leaders in Washington right now and am not sure I trust them to have the best interest for the children of Schuyler county at heart when they sit down in there little meetings to talk about the $$$ issues in our country right now. I'm going to put a little bit more faith in the board of people elected to worry directly about the kids of Schuyler county and the administration hired to decide what is best for the kids instead of the President or some other wonderful politician.

Besides this information, what weighs heaviest on my heart is the fact that regardless of how much you want to believe it isn't happening in our county, there are SEVERAL children who come to school, simply because their parents know they are going to get 2 meals a day, they are going to be protected and kept safe for 7 hours out of the day. If this wasn't the case, there wouldn't be a line as long as there is each month for the food pantry. We wouldn't have families seeking out places like the Clothes Nook. As a school employee, I know it is my job to keep the best interest at heart for each child's mental, emotional, physical, and intellectual security and growth. As a Christian, I believe that it is my duty to give to those less fortunate than me. You can sit there and say that if they can't afford the kids, then they shouldn't have them. That's great, but what about those kids that are already here? What's more important to me is trying to break that cycle. I want the kids at Schuyler to know that there is more out there than just staying in the county and doing what their parents did if that's what they want. I don't think any of you would squelch your own child's dreams and ambitions. So why are you willing to sacrifice the dreams of other children b/c you're not willing to pay a few extra dollars? I give offering every week because God calls us to give to our church. I don't question where that money goes or what it's being used for b/c I trust that the church board and leaders are using that money in whatever way they see the greatest need. However, it would be very easy to look at the back of the bulletin and think "$3000+ dollars???" What in the world could we possibly be using that on every week? It would be easy to say, well, why don't we cut Sonlight or why do we need the technology the church has, or why do we have to run a bus for the kids? If we cut expenses, then we wouldn't have such a high weekly need. But I don't believe that is the case. I believe our church is doing the best to meet all those needs, just as I believe the school district is doing the best to meet all the needs of the children that show up on their doorstep each and every day. I just believe they could do a lot MORE if we would all give just a little bit more.

Acts 20:35b — “[T]he Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

I'm sure Trenton & I could use our 85+ dollars somewhere within the next year. But I'm going to vote YES and hope that the school district gets to use my 85+ dollars to help change lives. Even if it's just one. It all starts somewhere. Be the change you want to see.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Busy Busy Bee.....

I love this time of year because once the weather gets nice, it seems like the weeks just fly by. At the same time, I hate it, because I feel like we can't catch a break. I'm blogging in between sessions of questions, scheduling, and general busyiness (is that how you spell that?) So far today, I've ordered pizzas for screening Saturday, re-written an IEP for a student that showed up to re-enroll this morning, tried to make my husband a hair appt, scheduled a dr. appt, and about a million other things. We had a wonderful weekend. We had planned to ride 4-wheelers with the Jones' on Friday, but it was too windy for Adi to be out, so Trenton & I went by ourselves. We stayed out about an hour...looking at property and scouting our turkey hunting spot! Then played cards at the Jones' until about 11. Tried to sleep in Saturday, but Trenton was too anxious to get back out on the four wheeler and go shed hunting(old horns off of deer). We found several sheds and I even found a matched set. I've never really been around 4-wheelers that much, so I really enjoyed getting to drive and just be outside. We both honestly just love being outdoors. We were out for about 4 hours and I got my first sunburn of the year. It's kinda nice to have a little color!

We had a wedding and reception Saturday night and got to see Holly, Logan & Myra. I love that kid! I'll attach the latest pics! Sunday we didn't make it to church unfortunately. Trenton had to help move some furniture and Austin got back from his spring break trip, so we went to Lisa's for lunch. I slept for a good hour. I think being out in the sun made me extra tired. We came home and I did a little cleaning and fixed supper while Trenton went to an emergency call. I think we were both more than ready for bed by the time 10:00 came.

Cutest girl in the WORLD!!! (I might be a little biased)

This week is crazy busy. I have a meeting after school tonight. Hopefully it won't be too long and I'll have time to sneak in a walk when I get home. Tomorrow is a busy day with 2 meetings and MAP training after school. Wednesday, is the school spelling bee, extended day tutoring, dr. appt, and Sonlight. Thursday, we have the all school Family Fun Night, so I won't be home until 9-10pm. Friday, is a meeting in Kirksville and Saturday is Pre-school/Kindergarten screening ALL DAY!!!! By Sunday....I think I'll be ready for a break! AND next week starts 3 weeks of MAP TESTING! I'm tired just thinking about that...but THANK GOODNESS, I have wonderful teachers and paras who know exactly what to do and are stepping up to the plate and making sure things are getting done!

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I'm bummed I won't be at Bunco tonight :( I'll miss you girls! And SUPER bummed, that instead I'll be stuck inside at a food stand instead of able to enjoy this beautiful day :( Have fun girls!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our new swimming pool

So here are a few pictures from the basement on Saturday night. This was about an hour and a half into pumping water out. You can see the water marks on the wall about how high it was. In the pictures of the stairs you can see that there is one step still covered and two above that were wet. We (and by we, I mean Trenton) got it completely water free last night. Swept out the miscellaneous straw and debris. Only to wake to about another foot of water this morning! Fantastico! Really super glad we (and again, I mean Trenton) didn't hook up the new water heater yesterday. Nelson's should have the parts to fix the furnace on Wednesday. Apparently the pump Trenton bought yesterday at Home Depot didn't kick in during the night. And to top that off, my office ceiling is leaking water on and around my desk! Tada! I'm thinking about taking swim lessons if this keeps up because I'm getting nervous about what water "situation" I might be in next!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The wrong life

I was talking to Amee on the phone this morning and told her, sometimes, I wonder if I'm actually living someone else's life and somewhere out there is the life I envisioned for Trenton & I. But then, I wouldn't wish the problems we have to deal with on anyone else. And I know in reality, they aren't worse than anyone else's problems.

We worked the cattle show in Kirksville all weekend. Went to see The Watchmen on Saturday......TERRIBLE. Came home. Went to bed. Got up at 5am (4am if you count the time change). Stayed at the wet & muddy show all day. Came home. Noticed it was only 59 degrees in our house with the heat set on 67. Should have got a clue. Didn't. Decided at 7:45 we were hungry. Decide to order taco pizza b/c I was being lazy. Trenton goes to order pizza. Decides to go downstairs first and see about furnace. Opens basement door. Yells "****". Run to doorway. Discover 3 feet of water in basement. Debate...laugh or cry...laugh or cry. Do neither, too much wasted energy. Call James & Amee. Never happened to them. Decide with husband, if it wasn't for bad luck, we'd have no luck. Suddenly realize, water heater and furnace probably shot. Quickly realize, savings down the drain, unlike 3 feet of water in basement. Call Butch, no pump. Call Chuck, no pump. Call insurance man. No answer. Call Phil Beeler, man with all answers and gadgets. Wait. Knock at door. Phil with pump. Yippee! Suddenly remember why I love small towns. Knock at door. James Jones with space heater. Thanks! Here noise in basement instructing to turn the dryer on. Realize James Jones is a monkey or gymnast, not sure which and has climbed through water, without touching water, to check break box. Turn space heater on. Sit on couch under blanket and do nothing but watch TV, b/c girl help is not needed to watch water get sucked out of basement. Leave hostile messages on facebook about situation. Make plans to shower at the Jones' in the a.m. Wait until 11:30. 1 1/2 feet water still in basement, realize tomorrow is Monday. Thank father-in-law for ALL his help and patience with stupid daughter-in-law. Insist that we won't freeze to death. Wait for husband. Go to bed. Close eyes, open eyes. Not a dream. Darn. Go to sleep.

Sounds like fun huh? I'll post pictures later. So my husband, bless his heart, stayed home from work today to take care of things b/c I #1) have no sick days left after Mom's surgery last week and #2) don't know anything about water heaters or furnace blowers or sump pumps, etc. He bought a pump and water heater at Home Depot today. Talked to the insurance man, and it really isn't going to help unless it was a leak or water break of some sort. Nelson's is supposed to come look at the furnace today to see if it's salvageable. We truly are blessed though, because not only do we have amazing friends and family willing to help us out, whether it be letting us shower at their house, offering heaters and beds, or just standing in the 3 feet of water commiserating with us, but because it could have been a lot worse. 2 weeks ago we had a brand new washer and dryer of Chuck's down there that would have been ruined. 1 week ago we had 8 puppies living down there that probably would have drowned. And worse case scenario, the furnace and water heater could have exploded or shorted out causing a fire, which would obviously have been devastating. So we are trying to look at everything from a glass half full perspective.

Several of you have asked about my mom. My posting was limited at best last week. I missed work Monday and Tuesday. Mom called me on Monday morning as I was walking out the door for work and asked if I could take her to the ER in Columbia. She had just been at the hospital Wednesday-Saturday, but wasn't feeling any better. Upon arrival they admitted her and decided to do surgery on Tuesday morning. Trenton had stayed home from work Monday b/c he was running a fever. We stayed in Columbia Monday night. They did the surgery on Tuesday morning and I came home that night. She was released on Friday. She's doing great. They removed another 3 inch section of her intestine. The problem being that when she had the surgery last May and they removed the 18 inch section, the two pieces they reconnected had grown shut. Basically disconnecting her upper bowel from her lower bowel and obstructing with anything she would eat. This has caused her pain over the last few months, but no one was able to figure out the cause. She is recovering great and feeling ALOT better! I returned to work on Wednesday to a very overwhelming amount of work and was running a fever and sick. However, I burnt the last 1/2 of a sick day I had on Monday and couldn't afford the pay cut to stay home. Bummer. Hope I stay healthy the rest of the year!

That's all for now. Promise to bring good news soon!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

House Fire


Lancaster Christian Church is collecting financial donations for the Joe & Kim Schmidt family who lost everything in a home fire in Lancaster Wednesday evening, March 4th. The family includes three sons, ages 16, 14 and 9. The family had no insurance. Donations can be sent to Lancaster Christian Church c/o Schmidt Family P.O. Box 145 Lancaster, MO 63548 or drop off at the Exchange Bank in Lancaster. Call (660) 457-3598 if you have questions.

Kim (Mom) Joe (Dad)

Size small or 5, 7 XL

Cody (age 16) Colby (age 14)

Size 18-20 or Size 18-20 or

mens small Mens small

shoes: 10 ½

Clay (age 8 )

Size 8-10

shoe: 3-4

I'm here

I'm here, I'm swamped, I'm sick...that's all folks

Maybe more later...