To borrow the words of a trustee from last election cycle, “not everyone that looks like us is for us.” People that had the opportunity to follow last year’s race closely and see some of the campaign activity life might remember this quote. It stuck with me. The words are poetic in a way. I’d like to add to these wise words by saying that not all people that look like they are doing the right thing for kids are actually doing the right thing for kids, even if they in their hearts believe that they are.
The last part is particularly important to me. It’s easy to demonize people and call them status quo, ill-informed, short-sighted, politically motivated, petty, incompetent, bad for kids, insane, moronic, backward, out of touch, etc. These are just a few venomous remarks I’ve heard in the past 10 hours so.
The trustees that voted against putting the TRE did what they did because they believed it was the best thing for Dallas students. Regardless of their motivation for doing so, I believe the decision was still, in their mind, the right decision for kids. They aren’t monsters and it isn’t fair to treat them as such. I still think the four of them are so very wrong, but they are still people fighting for the same thing that I am. Am I disappointed in my trustee, Audrey Pinkerton? Yes. As a homeowner, I would have loved for her to allow me to decide to raise my own property taxes for things that I believe in just like we the people of her district were allowed to vote for her, or not, in the last election. I’m pretty well informed. I may have even sided with her calculus, but instead of trying to convince me, that choice was taken from me. I’m sad about that.
The question I’m left with is, “Why?” Why did 4 trustees vote against the TRE. Many are speculating, so I’m going to try to make sense of it. Here are a few possible explanations:
We don’t need to raise taxes. We can make cuts to fund these programs.
Possibly, but says who? Certainly not anyone who is looking at the budget. Let me be clear. There are absolutely places we can cut to fund things that we care about. The problem is that those places are people and programs we are going to have to decide we no longer care about. Those cuts will come from other parts of our teachers’ and students’ lives. Part of the reason fo the success of new programs is they they have built upon the success of other programs. I’ll admit that I’m not as knowledgeable about the whole having to pay back the state stuff so I’ll leave that out of my attempt to reason through this reason.
We told voters no tax hikes.
That's noble. Honesty between elected officials and their constituents is important. Sure, but that was for the bond. The bond didn’t raise taxes. Promise fulfilled. No money, no honey. This feels like the “let them eat cake” of arguments. We won’t tax you but we also won’t provide you lifesaving services either. Deal?
You’re up to something.
Again, maybe the TRE people are up to something, Even if that’s true, it doesn’t mean that these programs that would be funded are bad for Dallas ISD and all of our communities. This is a reason to literally never do anything again. I understand it. I’d understand it more if the past 5-10 years were amazing in Dallas ISD. The if it ain’t broke don’t fix it argument doesn’t work if it’s broke.
Now isn’t the right time/let’s do it in May.
Better late than never, I guess. I will say that I want it to happen no matter when it happens. That said, it puzzles me that President Blackburn would support it then switch to opposing it. He wrote in support of it. Maybe at the time he was thinking “I support it in May,” but perhaps he just forgot that happened or changed his mind. People do that. In his interview with us last election cycle, he changed his mind between questions saying that charter schools couldn’t replace services offered by Dallas ISD or substitute for them and then in the next question said that Dallas Can Academy provides services to students that Dallas ISD can help or serve. Paraphrasing of course, but that’s why we don’t delete old posts.
People will be manipulated. We are doing what’s best for them even if they don’t realize it.
That argument is fine to use. I even respect it and, in theory, agree. People aren’t paying attention to this stuff. This is a human thing to do, but it’s always tempting to use tools when they help you and criticize them when they don’t. In the fight over Uplift expanding in South Dallas and talking students away from Dallas ISD, the argument was that it was being forced down the throat of a community that didn’t want it and that the people should be able to decide if they want it or not. Yesterday, some of the same people used the same argument to prevent the people of Dallas from deciding if they wanted a 13 cent increase in support of Dallas schools.
All in all I’m sad. I hope President Blackburn leads us to a May vote. He’s the most experienced person on the board and I believe in my heart that this may be his best term yet. These are the legacy years. People that think his vote was getting back at the reformers who supported another candidate last election cycle are probably wrong. Lew is too old and experienced to be petty like that. Making sure that the people that actually care about Dallas ISD are the ones that have the chance to vote (the tiny percent that show up in May) is a valid opinion. The important thing to remember is that any amount of waiting risks letting our kids fall through the cracks. We have to be careful of that.
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