Ryan Bruns

Ramblings, Thoughts, The Educational Experience, and More!


What a strange, strange time we are living in. I believe the last pandemic was the Spanish Flu of 1918. I did a quick search with my good friend Google and read a little history just now. This pandemic was an H1N1 virus and influenza that could not be treated just like this current coronavirus, or Covid 19. The only methods to combat the virus were non-pharmaceutical such as isolation, or quarantine, and avoiding gatherings of people. Sounds like a pretty familiar lifestyle as we are currently living this way right now. However, today with technology we are only physically isolated, in many other ways we are just as connected as we are on any given day.

Daily I listen to podcasts now that range from purely entertainment to highly educational, especially as experts discuss the coronavirus. On top of that many weigh in on the politics going on currently in our country and even in our state. Very interesting things going on right now, but I won't weigh in on any of those things here. But I will say this, I honestly believe earnest efforts are being made by all of our leaders to do what is best, or right, during this crisis. I'm connected with friends I've made in recent years and to friends I've known since my first day of Kindergarten through social media. Just yesterday I posted a picture of my lunch date who was my 3 year old daughter Ramsey. The social media post was a hit, and received many "likes" releasing those ever sought after endorphins inside of me. Every now and again I have a friendly visitor, my first grade teacher Mrs. Kathy Lyon Renneker, who will drop in and comment on something I put out there -- the majority of which is something with my children. I tend to steer clear of the serious, but lean to what I find humorous with anything I share on social media any other time. Every time I see this woman's name I am reminded of being a 6 year old in Burke Elementary in her classroom. Mrs. Renneker is one of those people who had a long lasting effect on me as a human being. She lit up the room and touched students' hearts. She is the epitome of an educator to emulate. I mentioned I should go dig in my "war chest" which is a rugged plastic tote I, and nearly everyone else, had when I lived overseas in the Middle East for a year. Dig to find a print picture she sent me in the mail with a letter. The picture is of me and a classmate at our desks with clear smiles of joy. While in Iraq, the picture brought me comfort, to a time with no worries in a safe place: a classroom. Lo and behod minutes went by and she sent me digital copies of that picture and my first grade classmates from years ago, people I spent all my formative years with through graduation. Truly, we are still connected from near and afar, just not physically at the moment.

Speaking of graduation, schools around the state and country are in a conundrum on how to approach the class of 2020's inevitable departure from school and gain a sense of closure with the accomplishment. We too are in that boat, and are doing our best to come to an acceptable and appropriate resolution in the situation that we are in. So stay tuned as final decisions will be made.

One more shout out to our staff, our kitchen staff, bus drivers, and administrators as we plod on and provide learning opportunities and lunches until we reach the end, that is the end to our school year. I am proud and grateful for all of the efforts being put forth for my own children and all of our students. Speaking of the end...I know I've written it, but will say again here we will be continue school and learning opportunities to our planned ending of May 19th. First, I will say it's because we hold ourselves to high standards and will try and bear some sense of normalcy for as long as we can and do what we are here to do: to teach, to learn, to grow. However, a close colleague made another excellent point about fiscal issues I took into consideration. As we approach June and a special legislative session to review next fiscal year's budget I see a looming cloud over the education budget. After guest columns and opinion editorials and blogs shared on this subject I will choose now to be quiet (mostly) this time around. We face a global, national, statewide economic disaster with the situation we are living through. The writing is probably on the wall that education will probably go back to the originally proposed 0% increase in funding for next year. Despite the fact that many teachers are working harder now in new and different ways, than in a traditional situation I see a freeze coming. Or worse. Cuts. It's happened before in financially stressful times. Closing school early on say May 1st as some schools are suggesting or planning, may be an invitation for scrutiny. "They already get the summers off? Now they're closing school early too even though our taxpayers are funding them?" Just saying.

My one retort if my crystal ball proves true: What about the RAINY DAY FUND? The general fund fund balance I've written about that we know is a signifcant amount of money? If ever there is a time to dip in the rainy day fund it would be now in this deluge, this monsoon we are experiencing. And if it's not dipped into now then don't ever call it a rainy day fund ever again when talking about budgets, because it's not one if now it goes untouched. Call it the never to be touched fund piggy bank of hoarders. It's all speculation on this writer's part as of now. And if the speculation is wrong? Hallelujah!

That's about it for now, until next time!