Wow, what a day Friday was. First I learned that President/Dictator for Life Murbarak of Egypt stepped down making that country the second one in a few weeks to overthrow their government. There are several other countries in the background who may begin the process of overthrowing their government. Time will see how this will all play out and how it will affect us.
Then shortly after lunch as I was scanning the local headlines, the Superintendent of our local school system abruptly resigned for personal reasons. When he was hired three and a half years ago, he had a history of going into a school system, building a new multi-million dollar school and then moving on so it was no surprise when he moved into our district that a new school was on his agenda. There were a couple problems with that agenda. The first is that although this town is a local hub for the surrounding rural area, we are still largely a rural area. Rural Iowa area don't have a lot of businesses and thus high paying jobs and so we are not capital rich. The only way to afford a new school that cost more than selling bonds could raise, we would have to dramatically increase our taxes. I have a fundamental problem with raising taxes because once they have been raised, they never are lowered. Instead, whatever entity gets their funds from this increased source of revenue expands to fill the void so to speak. In a time when household income has been stagnate for two decades, it just didn't seem like we could afford such a project. The school board at the behest of the Superintendent tried to raise our taxes to build a brand new school but it was soundly shot down by the voters. His next attempt was to add onto the current school and yet all published plans essentially had a brand new school right beside the old school that might or might now be remodeled in the future. It too was soundly shot down. I wasn't in the minority who felt we could afford paying more in taxes. My second fundamental problem with a new school is that the student enrollment at our local school has been dropping steadily for the last 30 years. This past year alone we lost 46 students to the urban areas of our state. I had figured once that the high school building, the one they wanted to build a new one to replace, had lost almost 400 students in the last twenty years and yet the biggest reason given as justification for building a new school was lack of space. It just didn't make sense. Finally, the building itself is a beautiful brick building 50 years old and structurally sound. Without internal load bearing walls, it could very easily be remodeled to bring it up to date at the fraction of the cost of a new school and we would still have a very beautiful school. So with the resignation of the Superintendent, I breath a temporary sigh of relief until we found out the next one and I hope the next school who gets saddled with his leadership either have deep pockets or the fortitude to keep voting his absurd proposals down as we did.
Finally, as I was driving up to the urban jungle for the weekend, I tuned into one of my favorite local to our state talk show hosts with whom I politically agree with on a lot of subjects. To my shock, he was holding his grand finale show and had resigned his job to pursue other opportunities. What those opportunities were he couldn't elaborate as he really didn't know just then but he suspected they would be political in nature. Being Iowa is moments away from jumping into the presidential race of 2012 since our presidential caucus is less than a year away, he may be helping out a candidate or perhaps a candidate himself for an Iowa office either here or in the national legislature. I wish him well but I will miss listening to him on my drives up to the urban jungle in the evenings.