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Tom Boheman

February 23, 2015
Reinbeck Courier

Dear Editor,

Those of us not living in a cave are most likely aware of the fact the GR school district currently finds itself in a bit of a sticky wicket regarding finances. When it comes to matters of finance, I may not dole out the most sound financial advice. This fact is evidenced my wife's advice shortly after she drew the short straw and we began our journey of wedded bliss. It was then she informed me that balancing one's checkbook by utilizing overdraft statements is not a sound financial practice.

My knowledge of managing money disqualifies me from making an informed decision as to what the best course of action would be when it comes to trying to resolving our financial woes.

Having said that, I can offer something I generally use, along with 75 cents, to purchase a cup of coffee, that being my opinion.

One of the aspects of this quandary seems relatively common is the fact that many of us have AN agenda. As we have progressed through this process, I think a lot of four letter words have been tossed around as we trudge through this issue but when it comes to what I consider THE agenda, we should all use another four letter word, KIDS. Taking into consideration scenarios that involve topics such as main street, housing sales and a business's bottom line profits are certainly germane to conversation but should not be the driving force to our decision. As a teacher who feels proud to be associated with this district, I am only concerned about what I was hired to do, help kids.

To any of you that have, are or will send me your kids I simply want to say thank you. We have some of the brightest, well behaved, special kids I have ever been associated with. In 33 years of working this gig, I have visited a great many other school districts and I will stack our kids up against any I have seen in the many, many districts I have visited. Your kids are why I love this job. (Maybe I should qualify that by saying there are certainly days they drive me nuts!)

I assume that many of you are privy to a recent publication that rates schools in the state. There are hundreds of different organizations rating school districts across the state and nation based upon a wide variety of criteria but in this particular survey our school was rated 37th in the top 100 schools in the state. I think we are allowed to exhibit a sense of pride regarding that rating but for me, that is not good enough. I want us to be in the top ten and I think things of that nature should be our focus.

I have to admit I may have an opinion as to what that best course of action may be but when it comes to the facts, the reality of where we are and a look into the future I am probably not as

informed as others. I feel confident that Mr. Holloway and the board have looked at this from a variety of angles and they are much more informed as to what the best course of action may be than I. I do not have the answer nor would I propose that you listen to me if I were to share it. I liken the situation that the board and Mr. Holloway find themselves to someone, such as myself, who mistakes the exit door of an airplane for that of the bathroom. As I am falling through the air, I see myself trying to figure which trajectory I should pursue. Should I try to land on my feet or should I shoot for the head. Either way I am afraid I will not be happy with the outcome. Regardless of what decision the board makes, people are going to be unhappy with the path they choose. For me, if a board member can look me in the eye and tell me their decision was based on what they thought was best for our kids, I am good to go. In the end, I simply ask myself one question. Are we trying to save a building, any building, or are we trying to save our kids. If we focus on the former and not the latter, then the closing of one of the buildings becomes a nonissue with me. If kids are not our primary focus then we

have done them a disservice and to me, it really does matter which building is taken out of the picture. I want our kids to have the best educational experience we can give them and so I wish the board all the best and once a decision has been made, let's work together to break into the top ten.

Let me close with this thought. Imagine you are confronted by St. Peters "Earthly Representative". He informs you that St. Peter feels your resolve, faith and ability to confront

adversity need to be tested before you leave this "sod" and head to the ultimate north. You have your choice of four different tests. First you could be a parachute test pilot. Your second choice is to become a crash test dummy. Thirdly a lion tamer in a meat suit and lastly a member of the

GR school board. I would have four simple questions: 1) Do I get a backup parachute? 2) Could I crash test tanks? 3) Does the suit come in a 44 long? 4) Could I do every one of the

first three choices rather than the last one? I think maybe before any of us run to Menards to try and find the tar and feather aisle, maybe we ought to walk a mile in their shoes?

Well there you have it, my opinion. Next time you are in Caseys, maybe I can use it to buy you a cup of coffee? Just a heads up, you might want to have 75 cents in your pocket.

Thanks for you time!

Tom Boheman



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