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Fixing Ohio School Funding April 30, 2006

Posted by makingyourdashcount in Ohio Legislation, Ohio Politics.

Basically, we are in the 11th hour for our school systems. Ohio's broken school funding formula regularly pits community members against eachother while the futures and livelihoods of our oldest and youngest citizens hang in the balance. There is no good answer, as long as Ohio's Legislature sits on their hands and refuses to address the issue.

The 10.3 mils that the Westerville District is asking for at this Tuesday's election equates to about $200 a year in additional taxes on a $100,000 home. For those on fixed incomes, this $200 can be the amount that breaks their budgets on top of other rising costs. For our schoolchildren, however, that $200/ year represents outdated textbooks, class size, 1990's technology and the chance to participate in Band, Athletics, Chess Club and other extracurriculars.

For the upcoming senior class it also represents no senior prom and no yearbook. Although some in our community believe that these are idle threats, all you have to do is follow a highschool student around for a day to see where the schools have already cut. There is no more room to cut. Last year, our daughter's Biology class had 33 students. How can a teacher, no matter how much experience he has had, teach a lab science effectively to that many students? This is happening all across Ohio.

Districts have language, testing, and Federal and State "unfunded mandate" challenges that they never had before. Our senior citizens have financial challenges they never anticipated. $75/ barrel oil plays havoc on everybody's budgets, but even moreso those on fixed incomes.At the same time, our children are asked to accept substandard educational offerings and opportunities. As communities, we should not have to pit our least able to pay against the futures of our youngest generation. It is morally wrong.

As the 11th hour approaches for the Westerville Schools, our community has to VOTE YES for this funding. After that we have a moral obligation to implore our legislators to address the bigger issue of adequate and fair school funding at the state level. Until that happens, every levy will be seen as an US against THEM vote, which is not fair to anyone in our communities.

For further information see: Our Community Our Schools and Ohio Fair Schools

Wrapped in Prayer April 29, 2006

Posted by makingyourdashcount in Judaism, Spiritual Musings.
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I don’t spiritually transform when the sun sets on the week and Shabbat begins, although I envy those who have that ability. My life doesn’t naturally slow down on Saturdays. To make it slow down, I have to make a concerted effort to break from the busy-ness of everything that is still to be done. Sometimes, however, I need to make that effort to bring my life, my emotions, my self back into balance. One place I am able to do that is within the sanctuary of prayer in our Synagogue.

At different times in my life, I have used that sacred space and time differently. When my children were young, it was a time for them to see friends and for me to see adults. As they grew, their friendships developed and mine blossomed. As part of an interfaith marriage living far from my parents, this time and space allowed me to be among an extended family and allowed my children to experience generations. Without this time and space, I am not sure that my children would have had that.

Now that time and space have become a safe place for me. As life takes its turns, it is nice to know that there is a place I can go and be among friends, if I wish, or to be alone in the comfort of ritual and prayer.

Although I would love to feel the spiritual transformation that Shabbat promises, I suppose that that can only come if I allow it to happen. By slowing down on Shabbat with family at home and family in our sacred spaces, I am taking that first step. I do know that when I make a concerted effort, it does help bring me one step closer to balance in my life