Just before 4 yesterday afternoon I received an email from my son’s school.
“Today we experienced a problem with a water leak in our basement. We had to shut off the water to the school this afternoon. During our investigation of the problem, we learned that it originates where the city water line comes into the school from the street.
This will require a significant restoration project in front of the school over the next 7-10 days to fix.”
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse:
- First, Missoula schools decide to move their semi-partial reopening back from October 12 to October 19 (meaning kids will keep going 2 days a week, not 4).
- Then the teacher’s union decides that’s not good enough, so they move it back again, this time to November 9...but that’s only a maybe.
- Finally, we have this damn leak at my son’s school.
My son hasn’t been in class since October 2 and I don’t think he’ll be back in class again until October 22, if even then.
Why so long?
Well, this leak is going to take over a week to fix for some reason (we’ll get into that in a moment).
On top of this, we have hunting/teacher training days coming up on October 15 & 16 (Thursday and Friday...the only two days my son can go because of the letter his last name starts with).
So he’s going to miss three weeks of school and the school has pretty much indicated that there won’t be any homework during this time.
Now, why did this happen and why will it take so long to fix?
Several years ago the city bonded $140 million to buy the water company from a private business, even though it cost $90 million. So they had $50 million leftover to fix things.
But they didn’t.
Instead they left things as they were and didn’t do inspections, even on public buildings like schools.
So the pipes broke.
I wonder if it would have taken a private company 7 to 10 days to fix this like it’s going to take the city.
I doubt it.
- When you’re a private company, people can call you on the phone and complain and threaten and generally make you get off your ass and do the work.
- When you’re owned by the government, however...what? Some other government bureaucrat - this time at the school - is going to call you and...what, complain? What’s that going to do? What leverage is there? Who are you going to take to court? Who’s going to give a fuck?
I wish my son was going to a private school; I wish my city had a private water company.
But I live in Missoula, where not a whole lot makes sense anymore.
I'm beginning to realize that it never did.