I suppose it’s time for an extremely overdue update. I was actually thinking of taking the blog down, partly due to diminishing interest, but I’ve decided to leave it up – for now. Its sixth birthday is approaching, and it does make me proud to know that I’ve been regularly (depending on your definition of the word, of course) contributing for that long of a time period. Most people hadn’t even heard of the word blog when I began this in 2001; look how far society has evolved since then!
Really, not much has happened in my life since the last time I wrote anything of significance. I started my third year at UND in the middle of August and have been kept consistently busy with classes and assignments since then, even though my schedule is not necessarily that crowded. My major (chemistry) and minors (German and atmospheric sciences) remain the same as last year. As long as some possible scheduling conflicts work themselves out, I should be able to enroll in German 408 (Second Semester German IV) this upcoming spring semester. This is the final course I need to fulfill requirements for a minor in German, so hopefully I’ll be able to take it and officially say that I have a minor in German upon the successful completion of the course’s final on May 7, 2008.
If you’ve tried accessing the blog through mitchsblog.com recently, you will have noticed that it’s not working. I’m not quite sure what the problem is, but it likely has something to do with my domain name registrar. The solution to the problem may involve spending some money. Nevertheless, I’m going to try my best to get it fixed.
Finally, I wanted to say something about gloomy news that came out of Brainerd last week when area voters handily rejected a school district levy referendum. As a result, the district will now have to make $5.5 million worth of budget cuts for the next school year. These cuts will be comprehensive and deep, affecting students at every grade level and at every school in the district. Some of the proposals include laying off between 60-100 teachers, eliminating a huge variety of academic and athletic programs, and closing two elementary schools (to my sorrow, one of the two closed will likely be Lincoln, the one I attended). It greatly disappoints me to think of all that will be lost when the 2008-09 school year begins next September. However, even with that said, and despite the fact that I sent in a supportive absentee ballot, I can see to a certain degree why more voters of the Brainerd School District disapproved of the referendum than approved. Although the reasons for the failed referendum in Brainerd likely cannot be transposed to explain the results in other cities that held levy referendums, it should be noted that of the 99 school districts in Minnesota that had a referendum on the ballot, a majority – 67 – got their referendums passed either completely (61 districts) or partially (6 districts asked more than one question as part of their referendum). 32 districts saw complete failure, including Brainerd, Crosby-Ironton, Wadena-Deer Creek, Milaca, and Princeton.
The full results of all referendums asked in 2007 across the state can be found by clicking here and accessing a PDF put together by the Minnesota School Boards Association. Note that only five districts (Frazee-Vergas, Granada-Huntley-East Chain, Jackson County Central, Norman County East, and Windom) asked for a larger per-pupil increase in tax revenue funding than Brainerd. The referendums in all five of these districts passed.