Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hello Stranger

I know... my blogging habits have been less than prolific these days. Instead of telling you, I'm going to do what a good writer does and SHOW you instead.

Meet Maybelline. We call her Maybel.
We adopted her from a no-kill shelter after she was rescued from Doggie Death Row. She's a sweetie and will make a great pet for someone, but we're not a good fit. We have her on a trial basis and are placing her in foster care due to one of the boy's major dander allergies. I guess we're more of a fish family...

Eli's First Black Eye
... and hopefully his last. He took a tumble off some bleachers at a birthday party and stopped his fall with his head. The result was a HUGE goose egg that took our breath away:
Eli's 2nd Goose Egg

St. Patrick's Day
Happy St Pattys Day!

We got to march in this year's parade with the library! It was a blast and the most well-attended parade I've ever seen in Huntsville. We decorated the bike trailer and even got these Wild & Crazy Guys to march too.

Top that off with work, work, and more work - and that's where we've been.
Hope YOU are doing well and seeing some glimpse of Spring in your neighborhood!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

School Daze

So... this horrible thing happened today - Public School Rezoning Disaster.

(I know... again with the chipmunk.)

The PSRD pretty much means we aren't doing public school and are headed to private. And why work, school, and church in one city and live in another? So putting the house up for sale is looking likely. I hate selling a house. 

Good times. 

I was pretty upset, and cranked out the following correspondence to my city councilman. I thought I behaved pretty well under the circumstances... I had to keep cutting out mean things in my email to him, but in the end I think I still managed to get the point across. 

Somehow, I don't think my questions were answered. I'm hoping he just didn't want to blow smoke up my butt by making answers up. What do you think? 

-----Original Message-----
From: BookMamma
Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 7:48 PM
To: The Councilman
Subject: school rezoning

Hi Councilman -

I'm sure you've heard quite a bit from your district about the school rezoning. I hope you will consider posting something on the district website to help us understand the change.

I'm pretty upset and my family hasn't even started elementary school!  

I can't imagine how other families must feel who will have to move their kids. My oldest son will start Kindergarten in 2010 and my youngest in 2011. We moved to Little City from the county when I was pregnant in 2004, primarily because of the fantastic school system. We were excited to find a house on because we knew Fantastic Elementary was coming. I was even more excited when I discovered how wonderful the teachers and technology were, and their principal is wonderful. When I heard a few months ago rezoning was going to take place, I wasn't really worried - we live less than a mile away from Fantstic Elementary, and I couldn't envision us being rezoned.

Please help me understand the logic behind the change announced today.

Explain to me why I shouldn't be upset from being moved to one of the newest, best schools with the best teachers in the city to one of the oldest schools. The experience I have had with the teachers at Sucktastic Elementary has not been great, but I am sure there are some good ones there. Their building is old, the technology bare.

Explain to me why we shouldn't put our house up for sale and move to Bigger City, where my husband and I both work, and where my kids will most likely now go to private school. (We are fortunate that we can afford private school tuition - by the skin of our teeth. I was planning on quitting work to be home for my kids after they started school. Now that a private school tuition is in our future there's no way.)

I truly want to understand. I know a rezoning doesn't mean instant upgrade for everyone. But why was our district chopped up so badly? We don't include the highest or the lowest income in Little City. Was Little City's middle class just the easiest to break up? And how will this affect our home value?

We will be attending the Town Hall meeting on the 12th at the high school. I appreciate your work as liaison to the schools and helping host this meeting.

Very Sincerely,
The BookMamma
From Your District

-----Original Message-----
From: The Councilman
Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 9:44 PM
To:The Councilman
Subject: school rezoning


First, thanks for contacting me. I hope you've contacted Dr Superintendent and the School Board as well. You've asked some great questions. Additionally, I've posted some basic info on the District website but want to wait and hear what Dr Superintendent says tomorrow night and then listen to residents at the Town Hall meeting before posting more.

I'll admit, I'm not happy with the proposed changes but realize that growth in our city has caused these changes. Has our District unfairly suffered the brunt of the changes? - it appears so but I'm willing to listen and ask that you do the same.

I will share with you that my daughter, now a sixth grader at Fantastic Elementary, attended 1st grade at Mediocre Elementary when we were rezoned to Fantastic Elementary. I helped build the play ground at Heritage with her and my oldest daughter; now a freshman in college. When Fantastic Elementary needed help with the playground - I was there with my daughter once again. So, yes I've invested a little of myself in both schools over the years.

One positive that I've found in the proposed changes is that the size of the classes are smaller at Sucktastic Elementary; not the individual class size but the grade class size. For instance, at Fantastic Elementary they have five 6th grade classes at an average of 30 students each; that's 150 6th graders. At Sucktastic Elementary they have two 6th grade classes of approx 30 each. Class size (student to teacher ratio) is dictated by State Board of Education. Of course this is based solely on the physical size of Sucktastic as compared to Fantastic and that has it's positives. I'll share that we have friends whose children attend Sucktastic...they absolutely love it for it's small size and are not happy about being rezoned to Mediocre Elementary. 
In the end I wonder if we'll make anyone happy.

Thanks again for contacting me and I hope to hear from you again on other issues that affect our city. Please introduce yourself to me should the opportunity arise at the meeting tomorrow night.

The Councilman
from Your District

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