K was upset that I told her that some things could not
be researched because they were unknowns. She sent me this email.
If, "There is no way to calculate the unknown," then where does the school
board members get their figures? There are ways to logically calculate the amount of spending between the current case and the purposed plan. I
personally learn several methods in doing such thing, while attending UMD
for industrial engineering. There is only one thing holding the school board back from solving this problem; RESEARCH. Other schools through out
the United States has had to deal with this dilemma. Probably several, in
fact. Do the research of the possible out comes. Calculate the worst case scenario.
How much is the traveling cost for the children going to increase? (This is an easy one to calculate.) What expenses are lost in firing 50 teachers?
(Do they have children in the school?) Check the local private schools for
enrollment, and subtract the number of children increased in there schools from next years enrollment. If the school board has done their research
they would know that the majority of the private schools (mostly covering the east corridor) have near full enrollment and possible a waiting list.
There are simple ways for the school board to estimate the outcome. I personally believe it is not the work, but the time need to be spent that
holds you back. I will offer again. I will do the research for the school board, if the school board would provide any/all information needed to solve
the problem. If the school board does not have numbers, facts, and correspondence to help understand the problem, then they have no right
purposing a plan to the public.
My Reply to K
Some of the things you've suggested can be predicted with some certainty depending on our assumptions. For instance, if all the children in the Duluth School system stay here after the boundary changes it would be very easy to calculate transportation costs and compare them with existing costs.
What no one can predict with any certainty is how many children will leave the district because of the changes. We can count the number of people who threaten to pull their children out but I believe this would be a fool's errand. We can't tell an empty threat from a real one. It is a real threat however, and if a hundred students left it would be terrible.
Its a little like the study of economics and calculating public perception. When people feel good about the economy they keep it healthy by consuming. When they feel bad about it they stop spending. Perception becomes reality as in a self fulfilling prophecy.
I think the Board recognizes this and is trying to prevent this particular prophecy from coming to pass. We can make some guesses about what people will do in reaction to our final plan but that guess would still be a guess.
Its been said that there are only limited opportunities for children to find other alternatives to the public schools. I'm not so sure. Even if Marshall is full there is no limit to home schooling. We live in a market driven economy. Why wouldn't Hermantown add a few relocatables to take in our students? They face a budget problem too and taking in our students could help them out.
I appreciate your offer to help us do the research but I'm not certain that we have the time to avail ourselves of your offer. Our secondary students must begin registering for class in a month or so. Before we can let that happen we must know whether we will have two or three high schools or a 6 or 7 period day. We still face a 4.8 million deficit and while it could be smaller it could also be larger. We must act precipitously but intelligently otherwise we will dither until our problems become even more intractable.