Stunning may be the only word to describe the reaction of Nashville proponents of the sales-tax increase referendum that failed 70% to 30% margin yesterday. Anger will probably rise, shortly.
The time for leaders to come to the forefront with sleeves rolled up and bringing a commitment to do the hard work of reworking the budget has come. Hand wringers and whiners should just stay home, you'll only waste their time. If our elected officials (school board and council members) are unwilling to do this job they need to step down.
If you want to give them some help you can read the current budget at the MNPS site. I thought that starting my reading with what the MNPS calls "Budget Highlights" would have been helpful before actually reading the numbers, but I found it to be mostly PR. It was chock full of phrases that sound good but really don't mean a thing. It's as if, lacking hard facts and numbers to justify, like junior highers, they padded the assignment with extra words and bigger printing to bring it up to the required number of pages or keywords the teacher required.
- Raise the bar and close the gap to produce exemplary graduates from every school.
- helping them make greater academic achievement
- to facilitate a successful transition to high school
- increase promotion rates
- appropriate level of psychology testing
- highly successful program that helps underrepresented students
- to expand this successful program
- strengthen ...by streamlining staff and improving technology support
- *pending MNEA negotiations
- Positioning our resources and operations to fulfill our vision for all our students
- Build community ownership through trust and confidence
Some comments in the local papers are of concern to me.
Nashville Tomorrow's Kendall Poole: "We're disappointed that our message wasn't received, but we know it's not an easy proposition for voters to accept, voting a tax hike on themselves."
Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell in the context of the multiple votes that were required to obtain our metropolitan form of government seemed to be saying that it took a couple of votes to get the metro government and so the same will happen with this issue. "It will happen again sooner than most people imagine possible. You keep the faith for these kids and for our seniors."
Dewey Branstetter described as an attorney who is considering a run for mayor is quoted as saying: "People usually will not vote a tax increase, and that's what we elect representatives to do. We elect representatives to fund budgets." From the Tennessean.
So let's see if I'm following this correctly, we'll keep voting until we get the results we want, spending a half a million dollars every time. And we'll do an end run around the citizens by going to elected representatives to get this money.
The best quote may come from Steve Glover, the government liaison for the district's Parent Advisory Council. "Unfortunately, there were things we couldn't control."
Like voters. Thank goodness.