Sunday, June 3, 2012

Now, What? began nearly 5 years ago in the fall of 2007. The site’s purpose was to raise awareness of local issues and present ideas for improving the community.

Shortly after the site’s launch, I became convinced the core problem was leadership and targeted all of Aberdeen’s elected leadership. 4 years later, every one of Aberdeen’s elected representatives on the school board and town council resigned their positions.

During my short stint on the school board, we cut the prior year’s budget by $2.3 million and introduced several educational initiatives, including a renewed emphasis on writing skills, a revised special education program, investments in technology, and a push to reduce grade inflation.

In the nearly two years I’ve been gone, school spending has increased 6.2% ($3.7 million) and education is once again adrift.

As for the township, we’ve been blessed with competent leadership in the new town manager, Holly Reycraft, but the council itself is still mired in pay-to-play. Anchor Glass, Aberdeen Forge, Train Station, Pool Club, Senior Housing have all been torpedoed by the council and its gang of experts who seek to extort every penny they can get from the developers.

Which brings us back to the blog.

Now, what? Nobody has stepped forward to assume the blogger role. Nor has anyone done the gritty investigative work of requesting documents from the municipal bodies.

Once again, we’re being asked to trust our government without any ability to verify.

What is the municipal budget? Why have more school employees not been outsourced, like transportation, secretarial, and child study teams? How much money is being paid to big political donors like CME? Where are our children going after they complete high school?

As a school board member, I continued to submit OPRA requests and never allowed the administration to be the sole arbiter of the school agenda. After high school, where do our graduates go? What’s the correlation between class grades and state exams? How are we progressing compared to other districts? Why are expenditures outpacing inflation and population growth? Has teacher training been cost effective? How are the academies raising student performance?

Getting the raw data is relatively easy. I’d be willing to submit the OPRA requests via email and pay for the documents but someone needs to retrieve and fax them to me. Until then, the blog will focus upon small initiatives and hopefully someone will take the initiative to lead.  
>>> Read more!