kitchen table math, the sequel: the sky is falling

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the sky is falling

The vote on the Fields bond took place yesterday.

Ed was in DC all day, and when he got to the school to vote, close to poll-closing time at 9, the place was mobbed. There were men in business suits, just off the train, lined up waiting to vote.

He ran into another dad we're very fond of but don't see often, who said that 20% of his firm had been laid off. He expects they'll hit 50% before this is over.

When the results came in, I was horrified. At this point, I am a 'no' vote on budgets and bonds until residents have a voice in our schools, but this.... I've never seen anything like it. I've never imagined anything like it. This is a town that has faithfully passed every budget since we've been here, more than doubling its taxes in 10 years' time. $25K per pupil spending.

And suddenly we have fathers who work all hours of the day and night making it a point to get home in time to vote 'no.'

This morning, though, I saw things less catastrophically. The defeat of the first bond two years ago was a watershed moment, and last night's 'no' has been coming for a time.

The truth is, though, that I can't tell what the vote says about how bad things are, or how much worse things are going to get.


Ben Calvin said...

New York is very dependent on Financial Services, which is being hit disproportionably hard in the current downturn. Probably worse than any industry with the possible future exception of autos.

Catherine Johnson said...

Ben - what's your guess about my little town.

I'm shaking in my boots....because I keep thinking a lot of the financial "base" here has to be Wall Street -- but in fact I don't know.

There is a very high number of professionals: doctors, lawyers, scientists.

I'm not entirely clear how many residents are employed by Wall Street - and I don't know what that number would mean in any case.

We have huge, almost fantastic levels of spending on the schools, with extremely high permanent, built-in debt & obligations -- and a firm resolution on the part of the administration that the budget will continue to rise and certainly not fall.

And nobody can sell his house.