After being accused of some intemperate columns lately (who me?), instead of issuing my trademark “I told you so,” I’ll simply echo Sheldon Cooper’s milder Big Bang Theory refrain, “I told you thusly.”
Though I have to say that wasn’t nearly as much fun.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve tried to teach you people, as even fictional physicists will attest, for every action in this life, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Unless, of course, you write a column about high school purses or backyard chickens, in which case some reactions are more equal than others.
And it’s this very regard that I’ve tried to warn y’all about the TaxFACTS group. While they certainly performed a valuable service by sounding the runaway School District spending alarm, like most folks who vastly overestimate their importance, that group has no clue as to when to back off and let the pendulum complete its swing.
As my good friend and occasional WRMN Left, Right and You radio co-host Tim Elenz likes to say, “It took years to get the state into this mess, and it will take years to get us out of it.” And the same thing goes for that District 304 debt.
All that said, especially when you consider their host of challenges, I think this School Board iteration has made the mental shift much more quickly than most.
But back to my self-righteous meanderings.
My regular readers already know my longstanding supposition has been that the TaxFACTS group’s inability to moderate and adjust their approach to an evolving situation will ultimately make the School District versus Geneva citizen situation even worse.
And now it has!
As evidenced by last week’s School Board meeting where District 304 teachers, dressed in highlighter green “United We Teach” T-shirts, came out in force to urge the board to “"ignore the bullies,” and give teachers “the respect and compensation that we all deserve.”
So I’ll reiterate my equal and opposite reaction argument while reminding you that I told you thusly!
While I may not completely concur with their logic (we’ll cover that on Wednesday), I don’t blame those teachers for ratcheting up the rhetoric one bit. Especially when you consider the increasing number of parents who expect them to raise their children, I would be sick and tired of that insistent hammering a group who tend to be bullies on their best day and something else entirely on their worst.
Fed up and figuring there was nothing left to lose, my somewhat unmeasured response would be something along the lines of “The heck with you, I’m going for everything I can get in these contract negotiations!”
Trust me, those teachers were mild by comparison.
What actually did manage to amaze me about that board meeting wasn’t the green shirts, but the TaxFACTS group’s blisteringly oblivious reaction to coming face-to-face with a healthy dose of their own tactics.
One of ‘em had the nerve to say, “I’m kind of appalled that you guys are wearing these shirts in the schools. I would recommend that you make a motion as a board to disallow that messaging. These teachers are here to teach. They’re not here to give propaganda. It’s just not right.”
I’d say something about pots and kettles, but I’m guessing you’re way ahead of me on that one. Ain’t it funny how, whenever anyone stands up to the them, bullies always run right to mommy.
But the utterly incomprehensible cake topper had to be this one. TaxFacts founder Bob McQuillan, with a straight face, said he’s been attending School Board meetings for six years and “there has been no harassment of any School Board member.”
The only thing that could surpass that kind of chutzpah would be GOP Senate hopeful Todd Aikin writing a book on the female reproductive system.
First, we watched previous Board President Tim Moran step down from that position after succumbing to a frightening cardiac reaction that came as a result of all the TaxFACTS falderol heaped upon him.
Then, board member Mike McCormick, the man who was supposed to bring TaxFACTS balance to the District 304 budgetary force, received anonymous threatening letters labeling him a “turncoat” when he realized Rome wasn’t built in a day. And then someone threw dog poop on his front porch.
And we’re not even talking about their persistent emails, their use of FOIA laws as a bludgeon, and that general board meeting badgering.
Again, I’ve always said their message is a reasonable one, but the messengers clearly aren’t. In fact, they’re the ones who are creating this equal and opposite reaction, and now we’re going to have to pay for it, literally.
Just like it is with the national stage, this is exactly what will happen when we allow a small group of loudmouths dominate the debate.
“The district is not in a healthy situation,” McQuillan said. “This display tonight is not about the students; it's about compensation and a Cadillac benefits package. Why is it so important that every teacher receive a salary increase every year? Why is it that teachers cannot understand that this is not 2009 anymore?"
For the answer to that question, Bob, all you have to do is look in the mirror.