I am tired.
I had a crazy afternoon on Tuesday. It was the first day of spring park district classes for all 3 kids, the second day of LSC elections, and I had a meeting for a few of my projects scheduled with a stakeholder. I spent the day walking from my house, to the second campus, to Athletic Field Park, back to campus, back to Athletic Field Park, and then a little job over a few streets for dinner, and back to campus again. In flats. The kind that look cute, but have no sole support on hard Chicago sidewalks.
I’ve spent nearly two years on the Disney II Local School Council, and decided to seek re-election for the next term. In the last election, there were seven parents and one community member running for six and two spots, respectively. We didn’t have a second campus and an expanded grade set. The District hadn’t just closed 49 neighborhood schools in one fell swoop. And the reformy fervor that is the public (and private) dialogue about public education hadn’t yet reached a fever pitch. (Perhaps it has not yet reached its apex, and perhaps it had in 2012 and I just wasn’t as aware of it as I am now.) In 2012, I ran because I want to know how stuff works. That remains true today.
I actually thought about not running, but I realized that even if I don’t sit on the council, I’d likely attend all the meetings anyway, so I might as well have a metaphorical and physical seat at the table. Even The Girl knew this, and she helped me to “electioneer” outsize the second campus on Tuesday afternoon, handing out cards with my name and asking them to vote for me. The candidate pool was wider this year, with 10 parents and three community members running for six and two spots, respectively. Everyone told me not to be, but I was worried.
It’s times like these when my insecurities cloud my (limited) ability to see the situation clearly. The Boy believes that writing comes naturally and easily to me. Sometimes it does come easily. At other times, like writing about how I feel about something, such as my fear of not being re-elected to the LSC, a position of importance in my life, writing is difficult.
I tend to think of the qualities that make me a good council member: persistence, information-gathering, information-sharing, and critical thinking in negative terms: stubbornly annoying, nosy, critical. Although a persuasive writer by trade, self-promotion is not my strong suit. That may be why this blog is still at 7 followers despite nearly 8 years of writing.
In the end, I gained enough votes to re-gain a seat on the council. Seventy-one people voted for me. I attended the ballot count at the second campus on the night of the election, because going to the source is the fastest way to get the information you seek. It definitely felt like a popularity contest as the election judges read out and recorded the ballot tallies by ballot number. My two fellow council members running for re-election also gained a seat on the council, while the remaining parent spots went to one 7th grade and two 6th grade parents.
At this point, I have two personal-organizational goals for the council: communications and budget. When I became a council member in 2012, the Office of LSC Relations was in the process of revising its budget training, and just recently got around to rolling out the revised editions to councils. I am perhaps unnaturally fond of puzzles and analytic situations, and a CPS school budget is an ideal example of both. Again, I find myself anticipating with glee both the budget training and subsequent budget analysis.