Warning: the following blog may contain references to partially-clothed school supporters with strategically placed props to cover personal areas.
The Vashon Beachcomber, which covers community happenings in Vashon-Maury Island, Wash., features several school board stories today including high school makeovers, the passage of the $15M school board budget and the new all male nude calendar to raise money for the school district. Yep, you read that right.
According to VBC, it seems 12 islands fathers and residents are wearing their birthday suits in a new 2010 calendar dubbed “the DreamBoats” that will be sold for $20 each to benefit the Vashon Island School District. But, lest it be accused of pandering smut, the calendar reportedly strategically hides each islander’s “personal area.” The effort aims at raising $10,000 “for a school system that has struggled mightily to forego layoffs this year and even put out a plea to parents to help keep a few teachers on staff.” That sure does bring resourcefulness to a new level, doesn’t it?
It seems, too, the participants are motivated by the beneficence of the fund drive, although the chance of stardom may have sparked a glimmer of possibilities in some. “It’s nice to have this as a fun way to support the schools in an otherwise dreary financial environment for the district,” said Benner, 43, a financial planner and lawyer. “It was a lot of fun, actually… I haven’t done something like that before, and probably won’t again.” Probably?
Of course, the school district itself is staying far away from the idea, according to organizers who simply wanted to help the districts financials woes with their creative, er, assets. According to the districts new superintendent, the calendar exhibits, “Island creativity. If it benefits our schools and our instructional programs, without necessarily an endorsement of a particular funding strategy, I think it’s great.”
But, others, including “School board vice chair Laura Wishik [say] she’s concerned the calendar could send the wrong message to Island children.” Children, she says, should “make good choices, including not judging others based on appearance, not obsessing about their own bodies and not taking sex lightly.” Even though one model is described as a “a 6-foot-2, blue-eyed German-Irish-Norweigan DreamBoat,” Wishik’s concerns about appropriateness may strike some of the men on the board as Victorian.
The school board chair, a man and father of three, disagrees with Wishik, claiming, ‘ “The objectification of middle-aged men is not a problem in our society.” ‘ The chair takes a lighthearted view of it all, saying ‘ “The only message I perceive here is that we have a group of people who care about our schools and don’t take themselves too seriously.” ‘
Another Board member, ‘John “Oz” Osborne,’ agreed with the Board Chair. ‘ “It’s not a full monty kind of thing,” he said. “I just find the whole thing so funny, and if they want to donate us money based on the proceeds from that, I don’t have a problem with it.” Likewise, ‘ “Board member Dan Chasan… said he’d gladly accept the money.””
The whole thing will probably come to a head when the calendar people actually try to give the money to the school district. What? Someone’s giving away free money? Say it ain’t so! Wishik says she may “vote against the school board taking funds raised by the effort.”
In BoardBuzz‘s view it’s all much ado about nothing. Student achievement, racial isolation, school financing, teacher salaries. Those are the issues about which parents and communities care. The real issue isn’t that someone made a beefcake calendar to raise money for public schools. It’s that somebody had to. As one local photographer who helped with the project said “[I]t’s a sad commentary on our society – that we have to have bake sales and car washes and beefcake calendars to raise money for our children. We shouldn’t have to do that.” Hear, hear.