A stock photo of some kids.
Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:
Have you ever heard of a “death spiral?” I realize this is the weekly “feel-good” article, and death spiral doesn’t exactly scream “warm and fuzzy.” It’s a dramatic term with a specific meaning that I first heard ten years ago during the great Obamacare debate, but it applies to other things, too.
For Erie schools this would begin with a healthy system being hit with something to throw it out of balance (like jobs and industry leaving), resulting in falling salaries and less population to pay the same amount of school taxes. That means taxes go up, which can eventually mean more people leaving for the suburbs, thus the cycle repeats itself – a death spiral.
Once something like this sets in, it’s almost impossible to stop without some kind of external factor helping out – state or federal grant money, for example – to stabilize the system before too much damage is done. In the absence of that you’ll see blighted buildings, population decline and negativity bloom. Sound familiar?
Grant money is tough to come by, too. There are more hands out looking for cash than there are wealthy communities looking to give something away, and if a community can’t stand on its own feet there’s no guarantee a one-time cash infusion will do anything to help it in the long term. This has been Erie’s situation for a while now.
So if you’re still here enjoying the beach and the sunsets, going to work, feeding your family, and ignoring the Negative Nancys all around us – thank you. We at Idiotville happily join you in doing our part to hold this community up until something, anything comes along to lighten our load.
With that long intro out of the way, it’s now time to mention that this week’s Something Good is Erie School District Superintendent Brian Polito’s recommended to spend an additional $1 million per year on hiring a bunch of teachers. You know what doesn’t happen in a death spiral? Additional staff.
From the GoErie article:
“The proposed budget…includes 13 academic “interventionists,” or one for each school, and the addition of three “specials” teachers, who would instruct elementary and middle school students in music, art, and physical education.”
You know what else doesn’t happen in a death spiral? Additional focus on music, art, and physical education. True, this is all coming due to a $14 million per year state grant but, as mentioned earlier, those dollars aren’t just given away like Halloween candy.
Obtaining a grant like this in the first place is a sign Erie is turning a corner. Hiring new teachers will provide much-needed relief to any local teachers currently fighting the good fight. Allocating the remaining grant money will provide additional good news. All of this is a reason to look to our future with optimism.