Millard School Bond

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Millard School Bond

Postby HuskerDave » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:50 am

So the Millard school board is upping the ante, asking for $140,000,000 from taxpayers (on top of the regular tax levy), telling us it's "only" $15 per $100K of valuation.  Uh, make that another $15, on top of the last bond issue, and the one before that.

This bond is nearly twice as large as any previous bond for the Millard schools; but doesn't build a single school.  So where is the money to go?  

-Field turf for several practice fields. Supposedly it's a 'safety' issue for the marching band - honestly?  I was in the marching band.  I never knew of anyone to have a $3 million turned ankle.

-Replacing computer cables at schools.  I happen to know they just did this a couple of years ago, and it didn't need to be done then, either.  When is the last time you threw out all your old network cabling at work and ran new lines?  Never?  that's like the rest of us then.  Good grief, it doesn't expire like old milk!  By the way, this costs about $1 per foot of cable, not counting the labor.  How many feet do you think goes into a high school?

-Undisclosed 'security improvements' as a knee-jerk reaction to the shootings at Millard South last year.  It is IRRESPONSIBLE to spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on measures that would NOT have stopped a lone shooter.  It's just as dumb as forcing you to leave your nail clippers in the trash can at the airport security line.

-'improvements' to classrooms.  Like what?  A room is a room is a room.  We're already spending $10,000 per student, per year, to teach these kids.

VOTE DOWN THIS BOND!  The taxpayers have ponied up enough already.  Don't give me that "don't you care about kids" nonsense.  Throwing more money at a school board with no fiscal responsibility doesn't help Johnny read.

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Postby bigredmed » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:17 pm

Millard has been known ever since the 70's for building flashy things that get noticed, but not doing much regarding practical stuff.

Can't support this kind of spending either.

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Postby HuskerDave » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:30 pm

http://www.omaha.com/article/20110907/NEWS01/709079918

http://www.omaha.com/article/20110822/NEWS01/110829929/-1#millard-eyes-140m-bond-issue

$25 million for 'technology.'  I'm pretty sure that would buy 62,500 brand new laptops, at $400 each.  What could possibly cost $25,000,000?

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Postby joeglow » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:34 pm

Is this a mail in bond?  Are they going to be sneaky like they were before and do their own special election, knowing hardly anyone would show except ardent supporters (as opposed to including it on a general election ballot and getting much more people to vote)?  Sadly, most school districts have ZERO accountability to what they upset their money away on (really, OPS you need a full football stadium for EVERY high school in the district?) because if you oppose it, you hate teachers and want our kids to fail (just like if you oppose a fire contract, you want children to die by the hundreds in fires).

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Postby HuskerDave » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:38 pm

joeglow wrote:Is this a mail in bond?  Are they going to be sneaky like they were before and do their own special election, knowing hardly anyone would show except ardent supporters (as opposed to including it on a general election ballot and getting much more people to vote)?  Sadly, most school districts have ZERO accountability to what they upset their money away on (really, OPS you need a full football stadium for EVERY high school in the district?) because if you oppose it, you hate teachers and want our kids to fail (just like if you oppose a fire contract, you want children to die by the hundreds in fires).


Yes, they're making it a mail-in bond.  I'm curious to see whether they make it look like junk mail so that people are inclined to throw it away.  I also expect something to come home from school with my kids encouraging a 'yes' vote.

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Postby bigredmed » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:43 pm

HuskerDave wrote:
joeglow wrote:Is this a mail in bond?  Are they going to be sneaky like they were before and do their own special election, knowing hardly anyone would show except ardent supporters (as opposed to including it on a general election ballot and getting much more people to vote)?  Sadly, most school districts have ZERO accountability to what they upset their money away on (really, OPS you need a full football stadium for EVERY high school in the district?) because if you oppose it, you hate teachers and want our kids to fail (just like if you oppose a fire contract, you want children to die by the hundreds in fires).


Yes, they're making it a mail-in bond.  I'm curious to see whether they make it look like junk mail so that people are inclined to throw it away.  I also expect something to come home from school with my kids encouraging a 'yes' vote.


Two things we need for accountability:

1.  No elections outside of the normal cycle.
2.  The school district can not use our kids as campaign workers.

This strikes me as they see Elkhorn and LaVista breathing down their necks and they need to do something super flashy to get the soccer moms all a twitter and make the rest of the school districts look bad.

If you took the 25 mil for "technology" and you tried to spend it, you could do so very fast.

1.  Top of the line Ipads for each kid in school.
2.  High speed wifi in all the schools
3.  T1 lines connecting the schools to the central admin server farm.
4.  Lots of overpriced and underpowered "educational software" that will have to have individual site licenses and user keys (and of course they will pay retail.)
5.  Replacements for the Ipads that get "lost" or broken.
6.  Security for the wifi system with frequent upgrades.
7.  Security for all the Ipads (again at full retail).

If 10,000 kids get a 1000 dollar Ipad, that comes to $10,000,000, add $1M for replacements, the wifi and net farm would run easily into 7 figures.  The older schools have lots of steel and lots of asbestos, so putting in effective Wifi is hard and expensive, there is another 500 grand in mo money.  I got half way to the 25M and didn't even get to the stupid software or the inevitable graft, corruption, and mismanagement.

Its things like this that make me glad to live in OPS.  Though they certainly are a weak hand to draw to as well.

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Re: Millard School Bond

Postby Garrett » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:02 pm

HuskerDave wrote:So the Millard school board is upping the ante, asking for $140,000,000 from taxpayers (on top of the regular tax levy), telling us it's "only" $15 per $100K of valuation.  Uh, make that another $15, on top of the last bond issue, and the one before that.

This bond is nearly twice as large as any previous bond for the Millard schools; but doesn't build a single school.  So where is the money to go?  

-Field turf for several practice fields. Supposedly it's a 'safety' issue for the marching band - honestly?  I was in the marching band.  I never knew of anyone to have a $3 million turned ankle.

-Replacing computer cables at schools.  I happen to know they just did this a couple of years ago, and it didn't need to be done then, either.  When is the last time you threw out all your old network cabling at work and ran new lines?  Never?  that's like the rest of us then.  Good grief, it doesn't expire like old milk!  By the way, this costs about $1 per foot of cable, not counting the labor.  How many feet do you think goes into a high school?

-Undisclosed 'security improvements' as a knee-jerk reaction to the shootings at Millard South last year.  It is IRRESPONSIBLE to spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on measures that would NOT have stopped a lone shooter.  It's just as dumb as forcing you to leave your nail clippers in the trash can at the airport security line.

-'improvements' to classrooms.  Like what?  A room is a room is a room.  We're already spending $10,000 per student, per year, to teach these kids.

VOTE DOWN THIS BOND!  The taxpayers have ponied up enough already.  Don't give me that "don't you care about kids" nonsense.  Throwing more money at a school board with no fiscal responsibility doesn't help Johnny read.


I can explain the first two. Our practice fields right now are |expletive|. Really bad |expletive|. Very bumpy which can cause difficulty in marching and then they become mud and they are just a mess to maintain.

As for the computer cables, the ones at Millard North definitely need replacing. They crash constantly, which these days basically ruins entire days of lesson plans. They just crashed yesterday and are still iffy today. The last two I have no clue about, except perhaps the 4th could be more smart boards.
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Postby Brad » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:53 pm

Darn kids these days...  When I went to school, We had 1 Apple 2E computer that was wheeled around on a cart, No Air conditioning, and our "soccer field" was dirt with a few weeds mixed in...  I guarantee we had better grades and behaved better too.  :;):
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Postby Coyote » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:08 pm

Kids these days... The Commodore 64 wasn't released until I was in college.
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Re: Millard School Bond

Postby S33 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:25 am

Axel wrote:
HuskerDave wrote:So the Millard school board is upping the ante, asking for $140,000,000 from taxpayers (on top of the regular tax levy), telling us it's "only" $15 per $100K of valuation.  Uh, make that another $15, on top of the last bond issue, and the one before that.

This bond is nearly twice as large as any previous bond for the Millard schools; but doesn't build a single school.  So where is the money to go?  

-Field turf for several practice fields. Supposedly it's a 'safety' issue for the marching band - honestly?  I was in the marching band.  I never knew of anyone to have a $3 million turned ankle.

-Replacing computer cables at schools.  I happen to know they just did this a couple of years ago, and it didn't need to be done then, either.  When is the last time you threw out all your old network cabling at work and ran new lines?  Never?  that's like the rest of us then.  Good grief, it doesn't expire like old milk!  By the way, this costs about $1 per foot of cable, not counting the labor.  How many feet do you think goes into a high school?

-Undisclosed 'security improvements' as a knee-jerk reaction to the shootings at Millard South last year.  It is IRRESPONSIBLE to spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on measures that would NOT have stopped a lone shooter.  It's just as dumb as forcing you to leave your nail clippers in the trash can at the airport security line.

-'improvements' to classrooms.  Like what?  A room is a room is a room.  We're already spending $10,000 per student, per year, to teach these kids.

VOTE DOWN THIS BOND!  The taxpayers have ponied up enough already.  Don't give me that "don't you care about kids" nonsense.  Throwing more money at a school board with no fiscal responsibility doesn't help Johnny read.


I can explain the first two. Our practice fields right now are |expletive|. Really bad |expletive|. Very bumpy which can cause difficulty in marching and then they become mud and they are just a mess to maintain.

As for the computer cables, the ones at Millard North definitely need replacing. They crash constantly, which these days basically ruins entire days of lesson plans. They just crashed yesterday and are still iffy today. The last two I have no clue about, except perhaps the 4th could be more smart boards.


I don't think the "computer cables" are what crashes. Are you speaking more of their HP wireless environment?

Brad wrote:Darn kids these days...  When I went to school, We had 1 Apple 2E computer that was wheeled around on a cart, No Air conditioning, and our "soccer field" was dirt with a few weeds mixed in...  I guarantee we had better grades and behaved better too.  :;):


Sounds about like my elementary days - which is weird since you're like 20 years older than I am. lol

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Postby Melissa » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:34 pm

Article from the New York Times this past Sunday:

In a nutshell: schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.


Critics counter that, absent clear proof, schools are being motivated by a blind faith in technology and an overemphasis on digital skills — like using PowerPoint and multimedia tools — at the expense of math, reading and writing fundamentals. They say the technology advocates have it backward when they press to upgrade first and ask questions later.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/techn ... value.html


I think this adds an interesting twist to the argument.  At what point do schools need to strip back some of the technology and require students to write essays and work math problems on a piece of paper and read literature from a book?  Pretty sure an iPad doesn't help me do any of these basic skills any better.  

Technology is awesome and I'm certain it is revolutionary in special education classrooms.  Perhaps, however, it's time for students to understand that shorthand they use when text messaging is not proper grammar and not an effective means of written communication?  I don't know that giving every student an iPad helps spread that message.
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Postby iamjacobm » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:47 pm

nebport5 wrote:Another $22.50 per year? So about half the cost of one Husker pay per view game?  :eyes: Dear God!


The Huskers have no more pay per view games!  Hello B1G Ten Network!

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Postby HuskerDave » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:50 pm

S33 wrote:I won't disagree that there may be a portion of waste included. But I think some of the middle-older generations seem to underestimate the importance of "keeping up with the Jones'" when it comes to technology. I don't know why the older folks downplay technology so much; maybe it's childhood nostalgia? idk.

But overhead projectors, chalk/marker boards (in most instances) are becoming obsolete. Lesson plans are increasingly becoming interactive, web-based and include on-the-spot information gathering via the web. These digital boards, mixed with the right wireless environment, can do HUGE things with teaching these students - most of all, captivate their attention with technologies they use on a regular basis.

It's just the way it is. I trust nobody gave you a chisel, hammer, and slate for quizzes when you were younger, right?


I agree that we want kids to have good, usable computers in the schools.  Those computers are already there, and I strongly suspect there is already a maintenance budget to replace and upgrade computers on a revolving basis.  

My kids go to these schools, and the Millard high schools have thousands of computers that are at least as up-to-date as what most of us are using at work today.  The smart boards are already in the schools, and already paid for.  

I don't know that I could spend $25 million on technology if I tried, unless it were to involve some over-arching mainframe replacement.

Consider that the last bond built four schools, AND outfitted them with computers, smart boards, etc.  It was also HALF as much money.  We can argue all day about how people in the Millard schools "don't want to pay for it."  The facts are that we've already paid for it, continue to pay for it, and for these administrators, it's NEVER ENOUGH.

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Postby nebport5 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:55 pm

iamjacobm wrote:
nebport5 wrote:Another $22.50 per year? So about half the cost of one Husker pay per view game?  :eyes: Dear God!


The Huskers have no more pay per view games!  Hello B1G Ten Network!



Well, H e l l, there ought to be enough for this from all the money saved on pay per view.
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Postby Garrett » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:51 pm

HuskerDave wrote:
S33 wrote:I won't disagree that there may be a portion of waste included. But I think some of the middle-older generations seem to underestimate the importance of "keeping up with the Jones'" when it comes to technology. I don't know why the older folks downplay technology so much; maybe it's childhood nostalgia? idk.

But overhead projectors, chalk/marker boards (in most instances) are becoming obsolete. Lesson plans are increasingly becoming interactive, web-based and include on-the-spot information gathering via the web. These digital boards, mixed with the right wireless environment, can do HUGE things with teaching these students - most of all, captivate their attention with technologies they use on a regular basis.

It's just the way it is. I trust nobody gave you a chisel, hammer, and slate for quizzes when you were younger, right?


I agree that we want kids to have good, usable computers in the schools.  Those computers are already there, and I strongly suspect there is already a maintenance budget to replace and upgrade computers on a revolving basis.  

My kids go to these schools, and the Millard high schools have thousands of computers that are at least as up-to-date as what most of us are using at work today.  The smart boards are already in the schools, and already paid for.  

I don't know that I could spend $25 million on technology if I tried, unless it were to involve some over-arching mainframe replacement.

Consider that the last bond built four schools, AND outfitted them with computers, smart boards, etc.  It was also HALF as much money.  We can argue all day about how people in the Millard schools "don't want to pay for it."  The facts are that we've already paid for it, continue to pay for it, and for these administrators, it's NEVER ENOUGH.


Yeah, you can. Our servers need updating, badly. And most of the elementary schools don't have smart boards. Also, thanks to the new technology my Math teacher can plug in a graphing calculator and show us EXACTLY how to plug in data. Like it or not, the world is advancing rapidly, and, as a result so is our education. If it doesn't, the quality of our schools will decrease.
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Postby bigredmed » Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:20 pm

To do an experiment without interpreting the results is folly, and to ignore results that don't fit with you hypothesis is incoherent with the scientific method.   I would like to see proof that kids need to see their math teacher plug numbers into a graphing calculator in order to learn math.  Gosh, Einstein must not have learned math.   Newton and Descartes invented whole areas of math without an awareness of electricity, much less graphing calculators connected to smart boards.

It simply seems to me that while all these things are sweet toys, they are not mission essential.   Better to take students to a field trip to the west papio creek where they can see fractal patterns in the stream erosion than buy toys that really don't add anything.

Of course, our educators don't want to do those kind of studies or release those analyses when they can more easily scare the voters into thinking that if they vote no on yet another bond issue, their kid will end up illiterate.

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Postby Uffda » Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:12 pm

bigredmed wrote:
Of course, our educators don't want to do those kind of studies or release those analyses when they can more easily scare the voters into thinking that if they vote no on yet another bond issue, their kid will end up illiterate.


:roll:

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Postby joeglow » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:37 am

Axel wrote:
HuskerDave wrote:
S33 wrote:I won't disagree that there may be a portion of waste included. But I think some of the middle-older generations seem to underestimate the importance of "keeping up with the Jones'" when it comes to technology. I don't know why the older folks downplay technology so much; maybe it's childhood nostalgia? idk.

But overhead projectors, chalk/marker boards (in most instances) are becoming obsolete. Lesson plans are increasingly becoming interactive, web-based and include on-the-spot information gathering via the web. These digital boards, mixed with the right wireless environment, can do HUGE things with teaching these students - most of all, captivate their attention with technologies they use on a regular basis.

It's just the way it is. I trust nobody gave you a chisel, hammer, and slate for quizzes when you were younger, right?


I agree that we want kids to have good, usable computers in the schools.  Those computers are already there, and I strongly suspect there is already a maintenance budget to replace and upgrade computers on a revolving basis.  

My kids go to these schools, and the Millard high schools have thousands of computers that are at least as up-to-date as what most of us are using at work today.  The smart boards are already in the schools, and already paid for.  

I don't know that I could spend $25 million on technology if I tried, unless it were to involve some over-arching mainframe replacement.

Consider that the last bond built four schools, AND outfitted them with computers, smart boards, etc.  It was also HALF as much money.  We can argue all day about how people in the Millard schools "don't want to pay for it."  The facts are that we've already paid for it, continue to pay for it, and for these administrators, it's NEVER ENOUGH.


Yeah, you can. Our servers need updating, badly. And most of the elementary schools don't have smart boards. Also, thanks to the new technology my Math teacher can plug in a graphing calculator and show us EXACTLY how to plug in data. Like it or not, the world is advancing rapidly, and, as a result so is our education. If it doesn't, the quality of our schools will decrease.


And this, my friends, is exactly my point.  When I took Calculus in high school, our teacher let everyone use a graphing calculator for all tests.  However, he required every answer to be in a fraction and, at least at the time, the calculators could only do decimals (in short, they were worthless).  I had a C+ in his class.  However, we could elect to take the class for college credit by taking Creighton's final exam each semester, with that being our entire grade.  For both Calculus I and Calculus II, I got an A+ on their final.  The experience was similar for my classmates.  In short, I learned a heck of a lot more without technology than the college students who relied on technology to do their math for them.

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Postby almighty_tuna » Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:49 am

joeglow wrote:In short, I learned a heck of a lot more without technology than the college students who relied on technology to do their math for them.


+1

But, fwiw, I also learned a lot when making my own custom programs to do the dirty work on my TI-85 back in the day. You have to know what you're programming to do it well.

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Postby Big E » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:24 am

Also FWIW, I'm yet to use anything I learned in a math or science class after the 7th grade in any real world application.

That being said, turning graduates loose into the real world without a solid understanding of the use and/or implementation of technology is career suicide.  We simply do not hire people for non-labor positions without solid computer skills, regardless of career experience.  It's too darn expensive to do it the good ol' fashioned way.

I also think this is as big a reason as any for why you better get used to ±9% unemployment.  Companies are figuring out they don't need bloated payrolls at any level to get things done.
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Postby Stargazer » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:26 pm

Would be nice if they used a portion of the 'security' budget to actually get lights in the parking lot at Millard North... far more likely someone gets hit by a car in the dark before school than someone walks into the building with a gun.  Our twisted priorities continue to prevail.

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Postby chaoman45 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:49 am

I just hope they don't overindulge on SMART Boards. Those things are useless and expensive.

When I was at West in 2008 (after the 2005 bond passed and renovations were complete) I admit the changes were nice. On the marching band issue, we'd typically use the parking lot. The grass field (soccer field) was used in the mornings. There were NO problems with bumps, so unless something has gone horribly wrong it seems kinda silly. It could get a little muddy, though. Still, if they make a few cuts here and there I wouldn't be against this.

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Postby iamjacobm » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:04 am

Here is the latest major expense I have heard about this.

Millard built a bunch of open concept schools with their last few bonds.  These large rooms house multiple classes.  The same room would have a history class on one side math on another and english on another.  Well the teachers tend to hate this and most of them have put book cases up to create "walls" so they can be separated from the other classes.

Well it sounds like much of this bond will go towards placing walls in all of these open classrooms to create single classrooms.  Basically they tried to an untraditional design it didn't work well and they want to fix it.

Just what I heard though, I don't have a source or anything.

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Postby bigredmed » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:20 pm

If open concept repair is on this budget, then they should save a goodly chunk of it to rename all the buildings named for 70's era MPS officials who started them on this mission despite alll the evidence that it didn't work.   I graduated from MHS in 77.   They had several open concept elementary schools that were bombing with teachers, kids, and parents.  They ignored this data and kept doing it.   Sad.

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Postby joeglow » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:21 pm

2 "no" votes dropped in the mail.

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Postby jessep28 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:14 pm

Millard voters have rejected the bond issue.

http://www.ketv.com/news/29778938/detail.html
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Postby Brad » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:04 pm

I am suprised it was not even close.  4000 vote difference.
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Postby chaoman45 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:20 am

I don't think the Millard officials have a full grasp on why it was voted down.

It's hard to sell a bond issue when you don't have new schools


No, it's hard to sell a bond issue when taxpayers already have enough of a burden, especially in the current economic situation.

It's the first time and we're not used to it


Well, what do you expect with frivolous spending? Unless students feel safer walking around in Afghanistan with a plate of bacon than their school hallways OR their classrooms have ungodly amounts of asbestos, then there's no need to spend so much.

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Postby Stargazer » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:58 am

Too many empty or near empty nesters like me beginning to emerge in the district.  Notice young Elkhorn passed their bond issue with ease.

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Postby jessep28 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:26 pm

I heard this from someone the other day. Based on the lack of a public awareness campaign or advertising, it's been speculated that this bond issue was more of a balloon sent up to gauge taxpayer reaction. I'm sure we will see a bond issue which is more palatable to taxpayers down the road.
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

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Garrett
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Postby Garrett » Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:27 pm

Well... rumor has it that teachers may be taking a pay cut to pay for this stuff.
From Omaha to Chicago
From Axel to Garrett

Still the same guy

joeglow
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Postby joeglow » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:40 pm

Stargazer wrote:Too many empty or near empty nesters like me beginning to emerge in the district.  Notice young Elkhorn passed their bond issue with ease.


Was Elkhorn asking for a bunch of wants in the middle of a crappy economy?

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byrdrules
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Postby byrdrules » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:23 pm

almighty_tuna wrote:But, fwiw, I also learned a lot when making my own custom programs to do the dirty work on my TI-85 back in the day. You have to know what you're programming to do it well.

YES.  I totally remember acing a physics test in high school by making a program with all of the formulas on it, so all I had to do was input the numbers - it was brilliant.  Ah, good times.

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jessep28
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Postby jessep28 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:22 pm

byrdrules wrote:
almighty_tuna wrote:But, fwiw, I also learned a lot when making my own custom programs to do the dirty work on my TI-85 back in the day. You have to know what you're programming to do it well.

YES.  I totally remember acing a physics test in high school by making a program with all of the formulas on it, so all I had to do was input the numbers - it was brilliant.  Ah, good times.


I mostly played DrugWars and Tetris on my graphing calculators.
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum


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