Tomorrow is Election Day.

Tomorrow is our annual school election day.  We have eight school candidates running for three seats.  We (our teachers' "association") just settled our contract negotiations, and got a decent deal for the next three years.  A reasonable raise, no real cuts in benefits, no change in working conditions, including workload.  Not too shabby, considering what's going on state-wide.  So I'm leaning toward at least two of the incumbents on the ballot.  A few of the wannabes are using terms like "fresh ideas" (trans.: privatization) and "fiscal responsibility" (trans.: budget cuts), so they got cut from my list real quick.

We also have to vote on our local budget, and the budget for the regional high school district that our town feeds into.  Of course, I'm going vote for the local budget: I have to vote to pay myself, as I teach where I live.  There's a real question as to whether the budget question will pass.  We're off from school this week.  The Local Powers That Be decided (for some reason I'll never understand) to hold the election this week, even though a significant number of families (the voters who vote to support the budget) will be out of town.  That leaves a few folks like me, who don't go away in the spring, and people who don't have kids in public school to come out and make this decision for all of us.  You see the problem.

I'll also vote for the basic package for the high school district, even though I think that the whole "regional district" idea is out-dated and not very cost effective.  I don't like the fact that some of my school tax money goes outside of my town, at least not this way.  One of the five high schools in the "region" is ten minutes from my house: that should be our town's high school. We don't get to vote to change that.  Yet.

However, there's also another part of the high school budget package I won't be supporting.  There's an item on the ballot asking parents to pay for an interscholastic ice hockey program (male students only) for the high schools.  Now, these schools have had ice hockey for more than ten years.  The program is run as a club, with all funding coming from the families of the players and from independent fundraising.  And frankly, that's as it should be.  Taxpayers should not be expected to pay for this.  We have serious school funding issues in our state.  We are always living on the edge when it comes to asking the locals for more property tax money for our town's schools.  This is asking too much right now. Here's some other reasons:

1.  Ice hockey is a hugely expensive sport.  All sports cost something, but hockey is in an entirely different time zone, expense-wise. 

2.  There is no comparable program for girls on the ballot.  Anyone ever hear of Title IX?

3.  High school hockey, around these parts, is a goon's game.  The behavior of players, coaches, and especially parents, at youth ice hockey games is deplorable.  I don't want my money paying for this, thanks.  You want to pretend your kid is Dave "The Hammer" Schultz (again showing my age), do it on your own dime.

Now, I say all this as a life-long hockey fan.  I live for my Flyers, and frankly, went through a major funk last season when the knuckleheads who are involved in the NHL shut down the league last year.  I love the game.

But, with all the other things our kids need, I really don't want to pay for it.


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