Friday, December 9, 2011
In addition to the costume for DD, I also worked on the accessories for the Stars. That means top hats and bow ties for the boys and berets, muffs and earrings for the girls. There are 24 boys and 24 girls! I am thankful for the other parents that stepped in to help with this project!
Here's my best advise for adding sequins - sew them by machine using a wide zig zag stitch and a jean needle! Take your time and pay attention. You may be able to ease the machine through the rough spots and save your needle. It still took me three needles to sew on all of these sequins but a regular needle would have been much worse!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
But that is not the only change going on in town. Rumors have been flying with regards to the combination of Lee High School and New Century into the new high school that is being built. Until yesterday, the new school carried the name Lee High School above its entrance but now that has been removed. What name will go there is now up in the air, much to the annoyance of alumni and friends of Lee.
A parent meeting was held Tuesday night at New Century with our superintendent in attendance. This is where the news was announced that New Century would be moving into the new building and that the two schools would become one with a new name. It didn't take long for the trouble to be stirred up on FB!
I think this merger could be a very good thing for both schools but Dr. Wardynski could have handled this news in a much better fashion. The Lee faculty,parents and students should have received this news from Dr. Wardynski at the same time the New Century school did. Beginning with a joint meeting and then individual meetings to address concerns would have made this much easier on the two communities.
Now Lee students and parent plan to swarm the board meeting tonight to air their complaints. Sit-ins have been planned. Petitions are floating around. This does not bode well for the new school.
At this point, it seems a division has been created over who will have charge rather than a united community that can do so much more. Surely building a consensus from the beginning rather than dividing would have been better. I hope Dr. Wardynski rectifies this mistake quickly.
From earlier posts you may know that I live in the Lee district but chose not to send my oldest child there because I was not confident that she would get what she needed to continue her education. We chose to send her to Columbia and the IB program there. It is a long drive from my home but, she is thriving in the IB program and I cannot imagine a better choice for her.
My next child will be entering high school in 2012 and what school he attends is still to be decided. New Century was an option I was willing to consider for him but that might not be an option now. I am going to be watching to see how this merger takes shape. I certainly would not want to send him in to an environment that seems quite hostile at this point.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Dr. Guder spoke about life in a post Christendom world. This world can be very dangerous and full of stress. He argued that the time of Christendom really began to disintegrate with the beginning of the first World War when Christian kings attacked each other in what would be a the worst war the world had seen. We now see the rise of a new religion called Secularism. This has brought about the absence of prayer in school and pushing out of God from our public lives.
Then Dr.Guder became more specific in talking about the Presbyterian church and particularly the church in the US. He used scripture to point out the way early Christians made decisions. They would gather, pray, discuss, pray and await a concensus created by the Holy Spirit. He argued that our downfall might well be in our system of voting our way to decisions. I think there is much to be considered in this argument.
I think waiting on the Holy Spirit and God's timing might be one of the most difficult jobs a Christian has.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
This is the fabric of the pinafore before I begin the glittering. And this is the start of the glittering. I paint a fine line of glue made to be permanent after drying onto each individual large circle and sprinkle with glitter. Time consuming but the results are so going to be worth it!
Monday, October 17, 2011
And the best part is that she loves it! She wanted to be a button clown and I think we have made that work for her! Once it is all sparkled up, I will share another picture. We got glitter to paint on and lots of sequins to add!
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
The RCB group is full of talented writers and you are sure to find something in there you didn't know before.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I am also thankful for my carpool friends! Most afternoons I take 2 children from AAA to Columbia HS where their mom works. Today, I only had the youngest child as his sister and my two were staying after for auditions. He got in the car and proceeded to tell me all about his new recorder and then asked if he could practice it in the car on the way to Columbia HS. I agreed that he could after he buckled his seat belt. I would never have let my own children do this! I was serenaded all the way by him as he practiced Hot Cross Buns. It was so cute! It makes me sad that I never had the patience to enjoy my own kids this way but I am going to try to work on that!
So God has been so good today! I am blessed (though convicted) and inspired to be a better mom.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
I suspect if I did post, in most circumstances, it would not harm the relationship but there is still that chance that it would. So I write my replies and delete or erase them before allowing them to be seen. It leaves me feeling frustrated that I have not spoken my mind but yet insulated from any hard feelings that might occur on either side.
For the record, I am usually very conservative in my views. I will occasionally take a stance that is not but by in large, conservative would be a good word to describe my beliefs. I also note that my conservative friends rarely post things to FB or other social media. However, my liberal friends are quick to post and use inflamatory language to try to engage. That makes me frustrated too. Perhaps that speaks to the very natures of the liberals and conservatives. Why can we not be more respectful of each other?
I know if I were to post something that caused disagreement from a liberal, they would post back in a heartbeat and on the attack. I learned this lesson early on and have not been willing to put my beliefs out there since. I wonder how many other conservatives are the same way? I suspect lots of us! I am not ashamed of my beliefs but I refuse to engage with someone who is going to attack. They never ask "why do you believe that way?" or try to have a civil discussion. They merely seem to attack or so it seems to me.
My beliefs are mine and mine alone. So liberal friends and family, keep posting away. I'll keep taking my blood pressure meds and we'll all get through this.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Well, rather than bite the bullet on the repair, we employed our summer army (aka the three kiddos) with a rotating dish schedule. It worked relatively well for the summer but now that school has started, the army is busy with schoolwork and extra curricular activities. That means that Mom gets to wash a lot more dishes. But I have discovered that if I draft one of the kids to be my helper, I get quite a lot accomplished. Not only do I have clean and dry dishes, I also have an extended period of time in which to talk with the child. And that is a gift!
Today I worked with my youngest DD. She opened up about things happening at school and asked questions I might not have heard had it not been just me and her.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
In fact, take some big deep breathes! We are in the midst of teaching the oldest DD to drive. She acquired her permit last week and is taking driver's ed this semester in school. It will only be another 5 weeks or so before the teacher takes them out on the road. We have a lot of work to do!!!
So far she has driven only in the neighborhood. We started last Saturday up in a new development where there were minimal cars. Then we added some time around an empty school building to show her she didn't know as much as she thought she did. Then she got to drive home from that same school building at night with the whole family in the car. It is only a couple of blocks from our home and we made her stop before she got to the driveway.
Later this week, she was allowed to drive from a church in the neighborhood to home. The first time, she was not allowed to park, the second time she was. She did great. You should know that our driveway is a single car width and we have a fire hydrant and a telephone pole to one side of it. Makes it a tough turn from the right but turning from the left as she did the first time is not too hard. Then on the same evening, her father let her drive home from the school and park in the driveway but this was the right hand turn. I was not in the car but I hear it took 3 tries.
So this morning I got up early with DD and hit the streets. We left the house just after 6AM with her driving. First we drove to the church. It was a little scary. We had much discussion about how slow one must drive to make a turn. We missed one intersection because she was going too fast. We made it to the church though with no incidents. After parking there, we discussed our next destination, her school.
So off we went through the heart of downtown. We traveled a smaller road (Holmes Ave.) through town and out to the research park. We did meet some walkers out in the park who thought it would be okay to walk in the left turn lane. Uhmmm.... NO! I'm trying to teach a 15 year old how to drive here! You walking in the middle of the road is not good! She did hit one curb after a turn but that was minor. After reaching the school, I changed places with her and drove back toward home. By this time traffic was beginning to pick up a little . We reached the five points area where traffic let up a bit and I let her drive the rest of the way home. I actually had her turn at A. Jackson Way and go up to I-565. She drove from AJW to Maysville (sequential interchanges) and did an okay job. Traffic was pretty light and the speed limit is reduced currently due to a repaving project. It was her first time to drive more than 40mph.
After driving for 30+ years, it can be hard to remember what it felt like to drive in the beginning. This week has brought back lots of memories!
I'm fairly certain that she will be able to handle 'behind the wheel' when that portion of her class starts. I will be spending a lot of time in prayer!!! We would covet all prayers for both her safety and our sanity!!!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
He also brought us good news about the body of Christ and how it is alive and growing in many parts of the world. In Korea, China, Ethipoia and East India (the Meso people) the church is growing in staggering numbers. As PCUSA members, we are so used to hearing about how the mainline church is in decline and our numbers shrink each year (nationally). So how is it that the Presbyterian faith is so strong in other parts of the world? Are we doing something wrong? Are we just in the wrong place at the wrong time? In my opinion, we are hindered by both our self-destructive behavior and our culture in the USA. I am reminded of the rich man who cannot get into heaven without giving away all of his worldly possessions. But that may be a musing for another post.
For now I will leave you with my gratitude for today's sermon and my thankfulness for my family. I am truly blessed!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
When I picked him up from school the first afternoon, he had a headache from his class. That was not an auspicious beginning for him. I managed to speak with the math teacher and we determined that he had shown growth over the last year and that he could qualify to try Algebra I for the first 9 weeks. She put the plan in place yesterday after we spoke. What a difference it made when I picked him up yesterday! He was happy and pleased that he would be allowed to try this. I think he is committed to making it work! It took him all afternoon and evening to finish two days worth of homework but he did it without complaining. That is a serious change from last year!
So today I am thankful for a teacher who works with me for the best outcome for my child and I am so grateful for a child who wants to do his best. I have been blessed!
Thursday, August 4, 2011
I have 2 friends on FB who had trees come through their roofs! And another had a tree fall on the roof but not come through. And a fourth friend sustained significant damage to her home from the wind. After surviving the April 27th storms, this was relatively small but when your home is damaged, it is severe. So while I am counting my blessings, I am also thinking and praying for my friends who were not so fortunate last night.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Nothing hard about today though! I am thankful for my friends! They make me laugh and cheer me on. They listen and fill me in on things I need to know. Life without my friends would be rather dull in deed! I am also thankful for facebook and the opportunities it provides to keep in touch with friends spread to distant parts of the world. I think I would have kept up much better with some of my college friends had facebook been around back in the dark ages. With two friends about to move out of state, I have been thinking about this quite a bit.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Today I am thankful for my new doctor. She doesn't normally take new patients but we must have said the correct thing to get into the practice! I am so pleased! I had my initial appointment today and look forward to a long and hopefully healthy relationship!
She listened and seemed willing to work with me on the goals that I have set for myself. That seems to me to be the beginning of a good partnership if one can call the doctor - patient relationship a partnership!
Monday, August 1, 2011
The people of Kiwanis are committed to helping children. Internationally, nationally and on the state and local levels. Kiwanis clubs in Alabama are sponsors to the RIF program (or Reading is Fundamental). They donate books and read regularly at schools with fewer opportunities. Kiwanis is sponsoring a huge immunization effort right now on the international front. And locally, Kiwanis has played a huge role in getting the new Everybody Can Play playground created.
These civic minded people show me that we can do a lot when we all work together. Somebody should take the message to the US Congress. They could certainly learn alot from Kiwanis!
Sunday, July 31, 2011
First, I am thankful for the wonderful opportunity DD had to work with great clinicians this past week in the Acting in Singing Workshop put on my Ars Nova. She really did learn alot. One of the things they did was a one act play by Thurber called The Happy Journey. Katie had a lot of lines to learn and did a great job! I do not think she has ever had to learn so many lines so quickly. Ron Harris was the clinician for that part. Dr. Beazley worked with her on voice and Paul Houghtailing worked with the group staging their excerpts. DD's part was in Les Mis. She also worked with Susan Kelly on dance and movement. Dr. Beazley really did put together an excellent staff for this!
Secondly, I am thankful for the time I had today to be amongst God's family. It is wonderful to spend time with our church family. Being in the company of fellow believers is always welcomed.
Friday, July 29, 2011
But I am thankful for time spent, one on one with my kids. They are captive in the vehicle with me and we have some wonderful conversations while I am driving. It takes practice to draw information out of a 13 year old boy but the van is a great place for it.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
The picture says it all tonight! I am thankful for my sewing machine. Nothing fancy but getting the job done. I think I am going to name the machine finally. Care to make a suggestion for a name? I'm leaning towards Beverly at the moment. That would be in honor of Beverly Sills the opera singer.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Suzanne will be reporting volunteer hours and donations up to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, part of PCUSA. She is a resource for out of town groups who wish to help. She will know who has chain saws to put to use and who can provide meals for volunteers. You can reach Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org
At a time when there is so much strife about PCUSA, it is a blessing to see the reach we have when we all work together. I am so thankful for a connectional church and Suzanne Thornhill.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I have been reflecting on different cultures here in the US and how thankful I am to be where I am! The idea that girls are not worth educating has really bothered me. I have heard stories of certain cultures where that is the norm. It seems incredible to me to hear that! I suspect it is a small subset of the particular culture and not the whole. I am so thankful to have been raised by parents who did not put limits on my dreams or education!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Today's gratitude - I am thankful for the internet and the connections it makes for me! I know that might sound strange but it really is true. There is so much knowledge shared collectively on the internet and friendships and relationships are established and maintained because of it . What a blessing it is! (I know it can be a curse when misused but for me, it is almost entirely a blessing!)
Sunday, July 24, 2011
She has shared glimpses of her time in PA with me and I know that she had a blast. I also know that these conferences are extremely intense for the kids. This year seems to have been a particularly strong year. She wrote a beautiful song while she was there and shared with me the comments she received from her Bible study group. I am left in awe of of God's work in her life and pray that her gifts will take her far!
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
I don't believe that we were all meant to be artists in the classical sense. Certainly painting and sculpture are gifts or talents in themselves. Creators make the world around us though. Buildings are created. Automobiles, planes, trains and boats are created. Knitters and crocheters are creating. Quilters and sewers are creating. Engineers are creating. Parents are creating homes and opportunities for their children. Programmers are creating code to aid others. Medical professionals are creating health and healing.
If we see creating as a gift, we then are responsible for using our gifts in a positive manner. Certainly creators can make things that are not pleasing to God. Choosing to create in such a way as to be pleasing to Him is another layer to ponder.
Lord bless my works that they may be pleasing to you and a service to your people.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I have met interesting people this summer with this weekly ritual. I run into friends. My DH usually joins me when his meeting is over and we have a few minutes in the middle of the day to touch base.
Meanwhile, I have checked in with FB, Twitter, Google+ and read the blog updates which I find in my google reader. I check the news but not my email. I find it so relaxing to be there. Who would have thought that early Thursday morning would become such a treasured time. It will come to a screeching halt when school rolls around. Hopefully, I will be able to go still, just a little later after dropping off all the kiddos.
But for now, I as so thankful for Thursday mornings and this new ritual.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
One thing that we talked about was having a blog carnival. I admit it! I didn't know exactly what that was and I'm still not sure exactly how it should work! I googled it and will be adding links here to others who attended the meetup! Not sure if that is truly a carnival or not. See? I have much to learn with respect to blogging!
This is just a list of blogs from those who were there tonight. There are more to add and I will try to get to them later too! So for my gratitude today, I am thankful for this new circle of friends. I'm excited to see where we go and watching each one grow!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Please excuse me if I post a second one of these later today. I really wanted to add yesterday's gratitude here!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
When you are self-employed, work is a blessing! 2011 has been a rough year so far but we have survived (in a rough sort of way!) Definitely some bumps this year. An ice storm which kept the city shut down for a week and then the tornados which caused the city to lose power for 4-5 days and longer in some areas. Two weeks without work are not the easiest thing! And that is why I am thankful for work! Here's hoping your 2011 has been better!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
So for today, I am thankful for my sweet family. They are blessings to me in ways too numerous to count. They keep me going and lift me up when I am down. God is good!
Monday, June 13, 2011
I attended church yesterday where I was a reader for the early service and then I attended the pastor's Sunday School class. It was Pentecost Sunday, by the way. Much was said about the Spirit during worship and Sunday School. The class is reading the book Radical by David Platt. I missed the first week but quickly picked up a book and followed along. One of the things that was discussed was that if you are attending a seminary exploratory weekend at a PCUSA seminary, you will be told that if you think you have a gift for ministry, you are in the wrong place. The belief is that God equips those who he calls. He does not call those who are equipped. Radical thinking there for me. What does that mean in regards to the call I am feeling? I certainly don't feel equipped to stand before anyone as an "expert".
Then tonight, I attended the women's Bible study. I missed last week due to our busy schedule. The study is from Beth Moore and it is on Revelations. I gathered that we are charged to pray each day for Christ's revelation to us. Then the first thing that was said in the video was to get ready and she quoted from Psalms 81:10
I am the LORD your God,Oh my! Is that my first revelation? Open wide your mouth and I will fill it!!!
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
Needless to say, I am looking forward to see where this study goes this summer. I am trying to be patient for Christ's revelations.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
The kids have finished school. It was a rocky year for two of them. Though they all finished with passing grades. Summer is going to be different. We have not joined our neighborhood pool this summer. There are other activities that the kids would like to do and so we will be trying to put our funds in those places instead.
I have reconnected with a college friend who was also in our wedding. She has finally joined facebook and I am now having a midlife crisis! She looks so gorgeous in her photos! She looks much younger than I expected. Now I think I am going to have to do something to improve myself. My DH is sweet and encouraging. He loves me no matter what but I want to be better! For him and for myself and our children! Overwhelming is how the project seems right now.
In the midst of all this, I have been working on my relationship with my heavenly Father. It had been neglected but I am working on tending it daily now. I'm looking forward to starting a new Bible study this coming Monday night too. Any prayers for wisdom and support are greatly appreciated.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Tuscaloosa is getting lots of coverage in the national media but there are so many small towns that are hurting. You can check out al.com for coverage around the state of Alabama. Most of the deaths that occurred last week were in Alabama. Another great source is whnt.com which is a tv station in Huntsville.
There are no words to describe the devastation that was left. It is truly horrific. All of Alabama would appreciate your prayers during the difficult days that lie ahead.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
As we were trying to get out the door this morning, I looked at my middle child (DS) and noticed he was wearing white socks. I also knew that he would be dancing this morning in the dance concert for the student body. I then asked him if he needed black socks and where were his dance shoes. He looked at me like I was crazy! His reply was "Why?" The child had forgotten totally! So we had another delay while he found his dance shoes, pants and socks. When he is out the door he looks back at me to realize that he had forgotten his bookbag and lunchbox too.
Love that child but I really hope he finds his brain again soon.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Your help is so desperately needed! The precious people of Japan are in danger from the nuclear power plants. Please guide the brave engineers and workers who will put their lives on the line to protect others. Give them wisdom and comfort their families with your Holy Spirit.
Give wisdom to the leaders of Japan and bring about a storm of relief for these people who have lost so much. To You is the glory! I ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Next I think I will practice using a lens, if you will, that allows me to view others through the cross / grace of Jesus. I think I do this pretty well until days like today when I am humbled and realize that I really do have a long ways to go with this.
Care to join me on the Lenten journey? I would love to hear what you focusing on for Lent.
She was insistent that she be allowed to go to church this morning to play bells and hear the guest preacher and so I woke her around 9 AM. She was exhausted by the time it was over. I brought her home and put her back to bed and she will be spending the rest of the day at home resting. I also put myself to bed for some much needed rest.
While at church, I saw a woman who has made my soul grieve for lack of a better word. I called her several years ago to ask for help with a job situation and was turned down flatly. It hurt then and it hurts still. I did not realize until today that I will really have to continue to mend this relationship.
Then all of my problems are laid low when I see pictures of the devastation in Japan. The troubles of those people put mine to shame and I am again humbled. My blessings far outweigh my problems. I am praying for those people who have lost so much.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I spoke briefly with my pastor (and co-teacher) to find out the schedule. Since this is Ash Wednesday, he would be busy in other parts of LOGOS with imparting ashes. (Did I say that correctly?) He offered to talk briefly about Ash Wednesday and its history with the class.
Then I found my way to the library and started looking for a book that would be helpful. Initially I thought I might find a book on the Holy Spirit but nothing leaped out from the shelves. However, I did spot a trusted reference! Christian Doctrine by Shirley Guthrie. I love this book! His explanations for the Holy Spirit where such that I knew I could use them with my class and they would be able to grasp this challenging concept. If this book is not in your personal library (I do own this one!), it should be!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I will love the Lord
It is all Katie singing until the final chorus where she is joined by our music director, Patricia Ramirez Hacker.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I am so thankful for these past two weeks of class and being able to find a way to make the scripture meaningful for these children ( young adults, nearly). They seem to enjoy these activities as well. It is a blessing!
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
And so I pray that today finds you relying on God's protection and care. It is the best place to be.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Update: I think it went very well! I sketched a tree with roots and five main branches and then 3 smaller branches from each of the five. I had the kids list 5 things that are very important to them on the main branches and then 3 reasons why that is important to them. I then had them label the trunk as Jesus and the roots as the Bible. Then we read John 15:1-17. Then we discussed our trees. Each child told us one thing that was on their tree. I told several things that were on mine. We talked about how there might be times that we would need to prune some of our branches and why. I loved this lesson! It was very humbling for me to see my tree and realize that I have a lot of pruning to do on my tree. I know that the Lord has been pruning already and I can see that there is much more to be done. Bearing good fruit is the goal!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Here is the text:
Katrina came in 2005 and made a mess of my beloved New Orleans. Now 5 years later, there is hope that the grand city will recover. She will never be the same, but she will be something new. I am sad that the homes which welcomed my oldest two children home are no more. But we still have the memories and better yet - our family is thriving and prospering because the Lord has plans for us that are good, just as His plans for NOLA are good! Sept '10
The first tragic ensemble is here. Numbers 6, 7, 9 and 10 were truly hideous.
Now I need to go set up a Flickr account so that I can join in on the fun! To see more for yourself, check out this site: Iron Craft
Friday, February 18, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Spend a little time with Mark Strong and learn about the Lincoln Village Project. See how these children truly suffered from a home enviroment that was not conducive to learning. This group of volunteers went into Lincoln Elementary to mentor and tutor those children. They modelled for them the way to study and commit to learning. If it does not come from home, someone must teach them these things. Now that Lincoln and MLK have merged, the hard work is starting over. The teachers must be won over and the new students taught what was learned at Lincoln.
I have been raised and have tried to raise my own children to know that the color of a person does not matter. What matters is character and moral values. The Lord does not look upon our exterior but on our hearts to see who we are.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
where I discuss cutting off the cable. We are now 6 months out and still doing great. Instead of a pc box in the master bedroom, a new hdtv (small mind you) found its way to the room. It allows us to watch netflix via the internet. And then at Christmas, Santa brought the DH an HD antenna so that we could watch broadcast TV again. Perfect! The new combo gives us access to news and weather quickly and who knew there were so many new channels out there!
As for the other benefit of the Grand Experiment, well that seems to have diminished somewhat. DS has taken to playing more computer games, specifically MineCraft, and we have to limit the computer time for him.
In all, I still consider the Grand Experiment to be a success. We saved money and have truly not missed what cable brought us in terms of content.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Huntsville is a city that has so many things going for it. We have a large military installation that is growing. We have a NASA center. We have multiple colleges and universities, including UAH which is a leading research school for science and technology. We have multiple research parks. One would think, and rightly so, that we have a very well educated populace. They say we have more engineers per capita than any other place. I don't doubt that at all. And the number of residents with advanced degrees is staggering.
I have barely scratched the surface of things that are great about Huntsville. When we relocated here in 1998, we rented a house for 1.5 years. That time allowed us to find our place in the area. We knew where my work would be, and then we found child care. And soon we had found a church. Our oldest enrolled in a dance program. And then we began to work with a realtor to find a place to purchase. We looked in the city of Madison. We looked out in the county. We checked out neighborhoods all over. The traffic in Madison was a nightmare and I don't see where that has improved at all in the past 13 years. If anything, it has become worse with the influx of new citizens.
Madison county, and to some extent Madison city, have mushroomed. Cotton fields have become subdivisions almost overnight. The county does not provide the services that come with city living and the zoning laws are not very strict. You could find your new home downwind of a pig farm if you weren't careful. They are the growth areas and it seems realtors often start their clients in these areas. But because we knew after 1.5 years that Huntsville is where we wanted to be, we were able to narrow our focus.
Huntsville will continue to find most new residents gravitating to Madison city and county if we don't fix the problems with Huntsville City Schools! What problem? The debt that is hanging around our neck like a millstone! The current total is $19.5M. That is not small change. Things have gotten so bad that the state board of education has threatened to step in and take over.
So now we find ourselves faced with difficult choices. We have already had a significant round of cutbacks at the schools. For instance, my children's school only has a part time assistant principal and a part time counselor. We have to share these administrators with the other magnet school (k-8). It makes it very difficult to arrange a conference when the person is out of the building. And that is just small sample of things all over the city. We also closed several schools this past year. There were hopes that at least one of the buildings would sell quickly after the school closed. Now over 1 year later, these building still sit empty with taxpayers still covering the utility bills that are required whether the buiding is in use or not.
Then comes word that our board is over paid! This has been going on for 2 years! Even with the cut back in pay to the max allowed, we have the highest paid board in the state! Incredible! If only our schools reflected that.
So now things are coming to a head. A former state superintendent is being hired to come in and help the current superintendent make the decisions necessary to balance the budget. Mind you, the current superintendent is a lame duck. She has resigned her post and will leave as soon as an interim can be put in place. It is hardly fair for an interim to handed this problem and told to make the cuts.
So what happens now? Rumors are swirling all over town! Some say the magnets will be targetted but they are still part of the court ordered desegregation. Unless the order is lifted, there is no way for the magnets to be cut. It is said that ASFL has the highest number of locally paid staff. I'm not sure what that means for them as certainly, the locally funded positions are being targetted. Non certified staff are going to be cut as well. Does that mean fewer aides in the classrooms? Fewer custodians to clean? Fewer maintenance workers to maintain an aging set of buildings?
I don't have any answers but I am following the debate closely. Like many other parents and homeowners, I will be watching to see that my children continue to receive a quality education in an environment that remains safe and nurturing for them. I am watching to see that cuts are made equitably. It is not fair to target one side of town and not the other. It is not fair to cut programs that advance our children's education. I believe that the arts make a difference. I believe that gifted education is vital. I believe that foreign languages are a requirement for success in a global society. I believe that learning a trade can put an individual on a path to success. I believe that our schools are a tool for growth. If Huntsville expects to benefit from BRAC, our schools must be fully funded and flourishing.
I would love to know what you think about this. Do you have ideas to improve our schools? Have you met with resistance before? Maybe now is the time to put those ideas into practice.