It doesn't seem possible that January has almost come to an end and that February is just a couple of days away. But, the athletic schedules are starting to wind down for our wrestlers, as well as girls and boys basketball teams. The State Wrestling Tournament series begins this weekend with the sectional tournaments, and continues next week with districts and then the State Wrestling Championships Feb. 14 in Des Moines.
Girls and Boys Basketball tournaments will begin in the next two weeks with their tournaments wrapping up in March at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
But there isn't a lot of time off after the winter sports come to a conclusion practices for track and golf start up in March, and as we all remember, track meets and golf could have started in mid-March last year. That may not be so likely this year, but then again, who knows what Mother Nature will present us with?
The recent talks between the Ruthven-Ayrshire and Emmetsburg School Districts have been interesting, yet thought-provoking, to say the least. I've had the opportunity to cover several meetings of both school boards over the last couple of months on the subject, and I've seen the full range of emotions on the issue.
There are lots of emotions that come to mind when you talk about sharing of academics and athletics between schools. Probably the biggest is that of loss of identity Every community takes tremendous pride in their schools and their students. Our youth are the future of our communities. A viable school that teaches our youth about citizenship, respect and loyalty to their community is invaluable to a community.
But unfortunately, like businesses along Main Street, our schools face financial trials and tribulations just like the private sector.
In Iowa, our schools have not had Allowable Growth Funding set by the state legislature for the past two years which is in direct conflict with the Code of Iowa, which requires the Legislature to set Allowable Growth each fall. Not knowing what Allowable Growth to plan on creates a lot of difficulty for schools to plan budgets.
And at the same time, the state, with "guidance" from the federal government, continues to legislate what our schools will teach, how to teach it, and now most recently, are proposing to use student test scores to figure out if teachers know what they're doing.
State government is also trying to legislate how our counties handle their treatment and care for the mentally ill, through the Mental Health Redesign. Unfortunately, the state in its "wisdom" hasn't bothered to set down any regulations, rules or mechanisms for funding for the counties to work with as they try to reorganize from individual counties into regions to meet the Redesign legislation.
When our nation's founding fathers started our country, the Constitution called for government of the people, by the people and for the people.
However, it seems more and more like the government is forgetting that sometimes, the people who work directly with the issue have the best knowledge of the issue and are the best qualified to understand what needs to be done to make things work. People who are distantly removed from the local scene don't have as good of a grasp on the local issue their view is often tainted by special interest and a lack of understanding at the local level.
There's a section in the Iowa Code about "Home Rule" where local counties are supposed to be able to run their own business, but of course, the state knows better and steps in quite often to "show" the counties how they're doing the governing wrong. Really?
Here's a novel thought - let the local governing organizations do their job to govern because they know the local players and what wil and won't fly with the people who elected them.