Sunday, April 8, 2012

PYMWYMI Update: goose eggs all the way around

We told you a week ago in this post that we’d provide an updated total of individual commitments to pay increased property taxes, by names and amounts, as they were reported to us.  Such reporting is specifically intended to salute loyal “Imagine our future” and “Invest in our schools” folks around our town. 

At least those among them who adhere to the PYMWYMI principle: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

You know who we mean; they’re the same ones proudly displaying those signs in their front yards with that message -  that very unpolitical message, which is not intended to influence anyone’s vote on anything, not even yours.

Well, you might think we’re shocked, shocked at the results so far, but we’re really not.  Here they are:

- A grand total of zero persons (and zero dollars, obviously) reporting in directly to Other Side, by any of the channels open to them.

- A grand total of zero yard signs that have been augmented with this suggested statement:

“This family cares enough to pay X dollars more in property taxes to invest in our schools.”

(While we haven’t seen every single yard sign, we’ve seen a large enough sample to conclude no one has gone public in the true PYMWYMI spirit.)

- A grand total of zero signers of the petition at Brunswick Community United that have stated how much more they will pay in property taxes next year to prove their PYMWYMI street cred.

That petition, by the way, reads:

“We, the undersigned, petition the Brunswick School Board and the Brunswick Town Council to prepare and approve a school budget for 2012-2013 that fully funds the educational needs of the community, that preserves the quality and reputation of the Brunswick public schools, and that does not cut the many valuable programs that enrich and improve young students’ lives. By signing below we pledge to stand by the Brunswick Town Council as they work to fund the public schools.”

If you read that statement, it really boils down to a lot of generic squish.  How much more forceful it would have been if it said ‘we the undersigned are willing to pay 10% more on our property taxes,’ or ‘we the undersigned are willing to pay $700 more in property taxes.’  

Instead, they use language with plenty of wiggle room like ‘fully fund,’ ‘preserve,’ ‘many valuable programs,’ and ‘stand by.’  Don’t want to get too pinned down, do we?

So, folks, after a full week of standing by for incoming numbers, we can report that the grand total pledged so far is, we’re afraid, a great big goose egg.

The reason we aren’t shocked is that for years we’ve watched speakers at public meetings avow their willingness to pay more in taxes, and then suddenly go awol when asked to sign a list giving their name and amount they’d be willing to pay.  Doesn’t sound much different than a showy petition, does it? 

Other than having to put your money where your mouth is, that is.

As long as we’ve got your attention, we’ve got one more item to relay before we say ta ta on this post.  We came upon this curious little item:

At the new Stowe Elementary School, the building is causing ‘unexpected technology demands.’  Turns out, according to a spokesman, ‘the design of the school leaves no alcoves for printers and no space in the hallways for those units either.’  She adds ‘we had to put 40 printers in the school that we never anticipated.’

Too bad we didn’t have the school designed by professionals who had done this sort of thing before, with input from those who knew what the needs were.  If we had, maybe this problem could have been avoided.

Makes you wonder what a health care system designed by those in government who know best will be like.

Looking on the bright side, though, at least we didn’t end up with open classroom design, or flat roofs where snow load build up could be a problem.

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