Budget Stretch

By Mark Crantz

By Mark Crantz

The school’s retirement funds are broke again. Sounds like a broken record. Oops, let me update that. Sounds like a broken MP-3 player. Oops, oops. Sounds like a broken IPod. Whew, I dated myself there. And my wife, who knows me, wishes I dated myself again.

It seems schools are always broke. I want to chime in and see if I can help. When my brother and I were kids, our Mom would give us milk money for lunch. My brother hated milk and would shove his milk envelope in between the cushions of the school bus. The bus driver hated milk too, but took my brother’s money to buy drinks that didn’t build strong bones. I kept the milk money and saved up for a Duncan yo-yo. I yearned for a career of professional yo-yoing and planned to enter the local contest that culminated in an appearance on local television.

The school district could learn a lot from this money parable. For one, it’s high time to get rid of school buses. This is an overhead expense that we could do without or until Tesla comes up with a bus battery that can run from September to June without recharging. Now, there’s going to be the usual ‘Save the Bus’ supporters. Don’t pay any attention to them. They tend to be in favor of buses because the buses were instrumental in taking no-good relatives to jail. Also, beware of the middle of the road residents that want to save buses because they think converting seats that can’t hide money would be less drastic of a change and still save parents from having to drive their screaming lunatics to school each morning. These parents have lost sight of the fact that good schooling begins in the car. “Don’t hit your sister. No, I won’t text you back. I’m driving. No you can’t text and drive. You’re 6. ATT says so.”

The wheels of the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. This song has agitated teenagers from the very inception of public transportation. The lyric gets stuck in their heads and turns them into juvenile delinquents who in a state of musical agitation put sugar in the school bus tanks. So the question is, “Do we outlaw sugar or school buses? One’s got to go.” I for one like my rum and cokes and can’t imagine having bus and cokes.

Now that we have the transportation issue solved, we need to turn our attention to another area of reckless spending, books. Who needs them? Today’s kids have Google. Google knows everything. You can look stuff up. You can get term papers. You can find smart kids who will take tests for you. You can hack into other people’s computers. You can steal their identities to get a better education on paper than you have for real without ever leaving the comfort of your own bedroom, where you’ve been grounded because of the sugar in the tank episode that happened last week. I know you don’t want to be reminded. The wheels of the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round.

Remember, it’s not always about you. It’s about your teacher’s retirement that goes round and round, round and round.


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago. He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.” His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.


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