Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday, October 15th

I completed my first full regular session day with the Leadership Birmingham program yesterday, focusing on education. Lots of seminars on the financing of education, how the locas school systems work and the role of higher education institutions in the local economy. I walked away with three major insights:

1. Birmingham City schools are much better than the local community gives them credit. I put this down to the lingering effects of racism. As the white community has abandoned the City schools, there is a sense that they must not be any good. They're quite good, but they have a lot of social pathology to deal with and not much middle class to fall back on.

2. The money issues are not so much a lack of money but rather too many restrictions and strings on money politically which prevents local school districts from being innovative or shifting resources to cover their particular needs year to year. This seems to all lead back to the dreadful Alabama state constitution of 1901 (as do so many other things.)

3. Alabama schools have little interest in protecting their LGBTQ students. I fear it's going to take a combination of major tragedy and lost lawsuit to wake them up.

Next month, we do health which should be interesting as I have actually taught part of this in the past.

Not a lot to report in recent weeks. After a heroic effort, Tommy and I managed to work through three back years of CenterStage financial records to get all the back 990s filed so there is a prayer of preserving the 501c3 and getting back into production. There's still a lot more hurdles to clear but the first one with the hard deadline is down.

Magic City Choral Society had a big concert a couple of weeks ago which included a mash-up of about forty TV themes. I still have those earworms stuck in my head. The next musical thing coming up is a fundraiser for the Opera Chorus the Friday before Hallowe'en. I have to relearn the Aida triumphal scene, the Anvil Chorus from Trovatore, the Slave Chorus from Nabucco and a couple of other things this next week.

We had new gutters put on the house with leaf guard so that should keep them from blocking and flooding. Those of you who know the house know why it's next to impossible for us to clean them. The next issue is the basement floor. It's got weird discoloration happening that seems to be lime seeping up from ground water. We're not sure how to fix that one yet.

Everything else seems to be rolling along without too much difficulty. At least for today.