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The Spin

This page was inspired by a conversation with a SC member who disagrees that there has been a lot of spin coming from the SC & the administration. Here are some examples of their spin, organized into 3 groups:

General Spin Happy Hollow vs. Loker Damage Control

But first, now that school has opened, there's a whole new round of spin out there. During the first week of school - a week when several children didn't make it home on the right bus, kindergareteners took 90 minute bus rides to go a mile and a half from Loker to their homes, and parents waited for 40 minutes in line outside the schools and were told not to enter the school and retrieve their children on their own - the spin has already begun. Here are some gems:

Recent Spin

  • To say that " The opening of school at all five locations has gone very well, with the exception of a few bus issues," as Dr. Burton did in his September 3 newsletter, is spin.
  • To say that "To avoid other unforeseen issues, such as overcrowded buses and lost children, I would like to reiterate to parents that your children should board the bus at the stop closest to your house in the morning, as this will be the stop at which they will let them off in the afternoon. " as Dr. Burton did in his September 3 newsletter, is spin. This is presented as if it is the parents' responsibility, when the overcrowding and the several lost children the first week were on on the school's end.

General Spin

Happy Hollow vs. Loker

  • To claim, as Dr. Burton did that HH's cafeteria is "slightly smaller" than Loker's which is more than twice the size, is spin.
  • Calling the new Loker gym a "gym", (especially when voters approved the expenditure), but then relegating it to being simply a "Multipurpose Room" when comparing it to HH, is spin.
  • To choose HH due to "more walkers", yet turn virtually all Loker kids (walkers included) into bus kids to HH and CH at a time of unprecedented oil costs and the impending initiative to "green the schools" - and claim it will save the town money, is spin.
  • To suggest that you can get 80 more kids fed in HH's smaller cafeteria without adding lunch periods and without rushing the kids (presumably through some mysterious distortion of the space-time continuum), is spin.
  • To briefly inflate the claims of the number of kids that will fit in the HH cafeteria from 120 to 150, claiming that a recount uncovered more seating than previously thought (only to take it down again shortly thereafter, presumably recognizing the absurdity), was spin.
  • To say, as Dr. Burton did many times, that the buildings are "essentially equal" (one time even joking that "they are both in equally bad shape"), and then, at the very last meeting, just before the vote, to claim that "HH is more structurally sound", is spin.
  • To give Dr. Burton the last word immediately prior to the SC taking its vote, where his prepared notes of lengthy rationalizations were designed to neatly segue into a yes vote for HH, was spin.
  • To insist on January 25, that we would reopen a school before we would ever resort to using modular units, but then to emphasize that HH has more room for modular units than Loker does (which is untrue anyway), is spin.
  • To claim that HH has more parking spaces than Loker until it was proven otherwise, and then to say that, well, parking doesn't really matter anyway, is spin.
  • To dismiss the larger playground at Loker and turn it from a positive into a negative by saying it will cost more to water, is spin.
  • To add a sledding hill as an asset for HH, when the kids aren't allowed to use it, is spin.
  • To talk about a hiking trail at HH that the kids aren't allowed to use, is spin.
  • To say that there is room to expand parking at HH, but there is not at Loker, is spin (and not true).
  • To say that the traffic "flow" is better at HH, while ignoring the issue of safety until the community brought it up, is spin.
  • To say that safety is the most important thing of all, but then to disregard a respected traffic consultant's findings, is spin.
  • To say on your comparison chart under the safety heading that HH is on a "neighborhood street", while Loker is on a "cul-de-sac" and that "police/fire chiefs view as equivalent", while making no mention that 1. the specialist's report, 2. the Google Earth photos, OR 3. simply a quick drive-by to both schools with ones eyes open, so clearly show otherwise, is spin.
  • To mix up the points on the comparison chart so that some items showed things as they were in the present as they existed at that time, while others showed things as they would be after a reconfiguration, was spin.
  • To publicly state that the $10,000 extra for the cost of water at Loker, over that of HH, was most likely a billing error and that that the consumption is probably about the same at both schools, but then to post it anyway as an additional expense at Loker on your comparison chart, was spin.
  • To claim that Loker would be easier to cordon off, simply because the back wing is up a few steps, when all it's going to take is a few 2x4s and some sheet rock, no matter which school gets closed, is spin.
  • To dismiss the fact that Loker was in the Top Ten, voted the #2 school in the state as irrelevant or basically the same as being 11 or 13, is spin.
  • To suggest that there will be utilities savings by closing half of Loker, when the entire building is on the same zone, is spin.
  • To say that doing keyboarding in the hallway at HH, is just as good as in a classroom at Loker, is spin.
  • To suggest that the tighter and smaller spaces at HH with 25% more kids, will not impact their "educational experience", is spin.
  • To suggest, as you do on the comparison chart, that the impact on real estate value is equal at either school, when closing Loker for a second time now establishes a pattern and will surely effect home values, is spin.

Damage Control

  • To say we’re saving $ by eliminating a K section that would have been eliminated whether we closed a school or not, is spin.
  • To claim that we’re saving money by cutting the number of buses, when we are only now addressing inefficiencies in our system that we have tolerated and/or ignored for years, and then attribute the savings to the school closure, is spin.
  • Barb Fletcher not letting Brad Crozier answer a pivotal question about "nine models", was spin.
  • Adding insult to injury by having a notable absence in the minutes on the SC website of that question - “You don’t have to answer that, Brad!”, is spin.
  • Providing this much detail in your minutes to a supportive parent’s comments:
    “A parent commented that as a community they needed to move forward. She is a community supporter and has worked with many members of the Committee and Administration, and no one deserves what people are doing by making such harsh comments.”,
    while only providing this much detail to a disappointed parent’s comments: “A parent asked for an apology”, is spin.
  • To suggest that the window assurances made on the video tapes don't apply, because the school is only partially closing, rather than fully closing, is spin.
  • To now suggest that we're going to save $500,000, is spin.
  • To refer to this as "a carefully considered decision", is spin.
  • And finally, to suggest that there is no spin is in and of itself, spin.

"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.
When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were,
instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”
~ George Orwell (1903-1950)