utility building

With state budget in crisis, many Oklahoma schools hold classes four days a week
Ninety-six districts have shortened the school week, nearly triple as many as in 2015.

A deepening budget crisis here has forced schools across the Sooner State to make painful decisions. Class sizes have ballooned, art and foreign-language programs have shrunk or disappeared, and with no money for new textbooks, children go without. Perhaps the most significant consequence: Students in scores of districts are now going to school just four days a week.

The shift not only upends what has long been a fundamental rhythm of life for families and communities. It also runs contrary to the push in many parts of the country to provide more time for learning — and daily reinforcement — as a key way to improve achievement, especially among poor children.

But funding for classrooms has been shrinking for years in this deep-red state as lawmakers have cut taxes, slicing away hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue in what some Oklahomans consider a cautionary tale about the real-life consequences of the small-government approach favored by Republican majorities in Washington and statehouses nationwide.

School districts staring down deep budget holes have turned to shorter weeks in desperation as a way to save a little bit of money and persuade increasingly hard-to-find teachers to take some of the nation’s lowest-paying jobs.

Of 513 school districts in Oklahoma, 96 have lopped Fridays or Mondays off their schedules — nearly triple the number in 2015 and four times as many as in 2013. An additional 44 are considering cutting instructional days by moving to a four-day week in the fall or by shortening the school year, the Oklahoma State School Boards Association found in a survey last month.

“I don’t think it’s right. I think our kids are losing out on education,” said Sandy Robertson, a grandmother of four in Newcastle, a fast-growing rural community set amid wheat and soybean fields south of Oklahoma City. “They’re trying to cram a five-day week into a four-day week.”

Oklahoma is not the only state where more students are getting three-day weekends, a concept that dates to the 1930s. The number is climbing slowly across broad swaths of the rural big-sky West, driven by a combination of austere budgets, fuel-guzzling bus rides and teacher shortages that have turned four-day weeks into an important recruiting tool.

The four-day week is a “contagion,” said Paul Hill, a research professor at the University of Washington Bothell who has studied the phenomenon in Idaho and who worries that the consequences of the shift — particularly for poor kids — are unknown.

But in other states, the Great Recession sparked a spike in the growth of four-day weeks that has since slowed, according to data collected by The Washington Post. Oklahoma stands out for the velocity with which districts have turned to a shorter school week in the past several years, one of the most visible signs of a budget crisis that has also shuttered rural hospitals, led to overcrowded prisons and forced state troopers to abide by a 100-mile daily driving limit.

Democrats helped pass bipartisan income tax cuts from 2004 to 2008. Republicans — who have controlled the legislature since 2009 and governorship since 2011 — have cut income taxes further and also significantly lowered taxes on oil and gas production.

“The problems facing Oklahoma are our own doing. There’s not some outside force that is causing our schools not to be able to stay open,” said state Sen. John Sparks, the chamber’s top Democrat. “These are all the result of a bad public policy and a lack of public-sector investment.

But Gov. Mary Fallin ® said a downturn in the energy sector and a decreasing sales tax revenue have led to several “very difficult budget years.”

The governor said in an email to The Post that she thinks “students are better served by five-day weeks” because moving to four days requires a longer school day. That makes it “hard for students, especially in the early grades, to focus on academic content during the late hours of the day,” she said.

Facing a $900 million budget gap, lawmakers approved a budget Friday that will effectively hold school funding flat in the next year. In Washington, President Trump has proposed significant education cuts that would further strain local budgets.

‘We’ve cut so much for so long’

Few states have schools that are worse off.

Oklahoma’s education spending has decreased 14 percent per child since 2008, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the state in 2014 spent just $8,000 per student, according to federal data. Only Arizona, Idaho and Utah spent less.

“We’ve cut so much for so long that the options just are no longer there,” said Deborah Gist, superintendent in Tulsa, a district that still holds classes five days a week but plans to merge schools and eliminate more than three dozen teaching positions.

This year has been particularly tough, as repeated revenue shortfalls have left districts facing midyear cuts. “I’ve done this job a long time, and this is the hardest I’ve ever had it,” said Tony O’Brien, superintendent of Newcastle schools, which have about 2,300 students.

O’Brien said the schedule change helped Newcastle shave about $110,000 out of its $12 million annual budget, savings that equal more than two teachers. The savings come mostly from shutting off building utilities on Fridays and from using less diesel fuel to run buses. Teacher salaries — the bulk of any district’s cost — didn’t change.

Experts say four-day weeks don’t save much money. In Newcastle and elsewhere, school leaders say the biggest benefit has been attracting and retaining teachers in some of the nation’s lowest-paying jobs.

This is what Austerity looks like.  Police aren’t on patrol, hospitals are shutting down, schools are failing our children.  This is a government so small it isn’t a government anymore.

Fuck Humanity

My store was robbed very early Saturday (05/27) morning, at about four. Everyone had to sit outside for hours and hours while the police did an investigation. Three weeks ago, it was broken into and the dude stole a bottle of soda after he couldn’t get into the safe. When the police were investigating, it turned out to be the same guy who came back to finish what he couldn’t do the first time. We’re a dollar store, he stole about three grand from our safe and we had to be closed during peak hours of business so the police could investigate.

Honestly, how low does one have to be to rob a dollar store? He avoided every sensor, every alarm, and dug two holes in our building. One to gain entrance from our tiny utility building next to the store, and one down into the office from the roof after he crawled along the top of a wall, since it doesn’t quite reach the ceiling. He did all this while carrying power tools to saw the safe door off.

I doubt the police will do anything to help catch this guy, because he cut the security wires to the entire building. We don’t have a camera system or a PA system anymore, so we can’t even identify the dude.

Luckily, I put in my two weeks two days before this happened, so I’m getting the fuck out of there as soon as possible.

TL;DR: Some asshole broke in twice in three weeks, stole our shit, broke our shit, and it’ll be nearly impossible to catch the guy.


From Left to Right: 

Nils Ole Lund, First the Building Then The Site, 1982 / Christo, 42,390 Cubic Feet Package, 1966 

Buckminster Fuller, Air Deliverable Theater 140-Foot Diameter, Ford Motor Company, Detroit, Michigan / A Sikorsky Skycrane Making an Aerial Delivery of a Prefabricated Box House by Utility Services Inc., 1967

Alice To My Wonderland

Summary: Sebastian Stan’s always been that weird kid, you know the one. His clothes are a little off, he’s constantly getting in trouble, and he tags walls like his life depends on it. After a couple random meetings, you two get close, and Seb finds a way to make high school a little more bearable. 

Warnings: Rule breaking? Being a rebel I guess

Word count: 2400

A/N: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FRIEND @james-babechanan-barnes YOU’RE ONE OF THE COOLEST PEOPLE ON THIS SITE AND IK IT’S A LITTLE LATE BUT HERE YA GO, I HOPE THIS IS WHAT YOU HAD IN MIND!! (Also I’d love to write more about these two tbh, let me know if that’s something that interests you^^)

Tagging: @pleasecallmecaptain @waitingfortherightpartner @generation-hated @price-devant-la-cage @dontaskmetosay-idontloveyou @childrenofhumanity

Originally posted by mywinterobsession

The world outside your high school’s windows looked flawless with a gentle breeze rustling through bright green trees and the sun beaming down on the sidewalk . The bell was your saviour, thankfully cutting your teacher’s droning off and replacing it with antsy teenagers bolting out the door before he could assign any homework.

With the weather this good though, how could you even think about going home yet? Instead you wandered around outside until you found the perfect resting space; the shaded side of a small utilities building just far enough away from the school to ignore. Even better still, the one wall you decided to sit up against was coated with dried spray paint, the graffiti overlapping in swirls and lines and harsh contrasting colours so that it was a long time before you pulled your eyes away.

The peaceful silence only lasted a few minutes as your nose was buried in one of your favourite books. When it ended, it was from a shadow that blocked the sun from your view.

“Hey, you’re blocking my wall.” You raised your head and looked at the silhouette of a guy standing over you.

Your wall?” The glare from the sun wore off and you managed to see his face - floppy brown hair supporting a grey beanie and blue eyes to die for. He went to your school for sure, but no one really talked to him, or about him for that matter. He was sorta like the ghost of the hallways, always alone and always sticking out in a crowd. Though you could assume that he wouldn’t be nearly so eye catching if he wore regular people clothes, it was also part of his intrigue.

“Where do you think all this paint came from?” He asked incredulously, but not demeaningly. That was another thing about Sebastian, he was always smiling. Even when the principle was personally escorting him down the hall to kick him out of school for the tenth time that month.

“Seriously? When did you have time for all this?” You twisted on the cement and eyed the wall art more carefully, wondering how many layers of paint there really was.

“Now, typically. Look, if you’re not gonna find a different spot I’d suggest moving over a little, don’t wanna get paint in your hair.” He gave you another smile and dropped his bag off his shoulder, digging around for a couple cans of paint before stacking them on the ground where you used to be sitting.

You had moved a little more to the side, opting for a position where you could see his tags with minimal effort but also read your book in peace. After Sebastian was all set up, cans shaken and headphone loosely hanging from one ear, he spared you a quick glance.

“Whatcha readin’?” He asked flippantly, locating a spot on the wall he didn’t mind covering up and getting to work.

“Alice in Wonderland.” You replied shortly, more interested in the words on the page than the ones coming from your mouth.

“I liked the movie.”

“Not the book?”

“Never read the book.” At this you looked up and glared at him like he just said he’d never seen the sun before.

The next time you ran into him you literally ran into him. You were reading again, though this time it was on your way across the field to go buy a drink after class. He was fiddling with the music on his phone and walking the opposite way. He noticed with enough time to dodge you, but he neglected that option and watched you ram right into his chest.

Seb laughed, wrapping an arm around your back to keep you from toppling over into the grass and plucking the novel from your fingers before you had the time to react.

“Hey!” You reached out only for him to sidestep out of the way and bounce on his feet, finding a line in the book and reading aloud.

“He seemed to swell beneath my touch, to ripen. He smelled like almonds and earth. He pressed against me, crushing my lips to wine.” He bounced backwards with every step you took towards him, grinning cheekily and flaunting the bright blue cover in your face.

“Sebastian I swear, you’d better give that back right now.”

“What kind of harlequin novel is this, Alice?” You growled, going for a lunge that almost knocked the book out of his flimsy hold.

“It’s not a harlequin novel and that’s not my name!” He laughed and continued quoting the book, flipping to random pages and shouting the first thing his eyes landed on. You were silently thanking god that you two were the only ones still on campus.

Verging on desperation, you crossed your arms and stopped chasing after him. Sebastian stopped backing away too, but still chanted loud (and very gay) paragraphs.

“What do you want?” You asked quietly compared to his booming voice. He stopped searching for new paragraphs and looked at you instead, sizing you up.

“Hmm…” He slapped the book shut and rubbed his chin in mock consideration. “What are you willing to do to get this back?” He waved it in your face again and you rolled your eyes.

“Get to the point Sebastian.” Because you knew him well enough to assume he wasn’t going to request anything too awful or unbearable. He tilted his head and grinned, his beanie almost falling off his hair.

“I wanna play hide and seek.”

“This was so not worth it.” You growled lowly, pressing your back into the metal Sebastian had needlessly pointed out as Chris Evans’ gym locker - the captain of the football team and, unsurprisingly, every girl’s dream guy. Sebastian sniggered from beside you, craning his neck over the corner of the lockers to check where the flashlight beams were pointing.

“You’re having a blast. It’s like we’re in a video game!” He whispered excitedly, grabbing your hand and pulling you along with him as he ran to the next hiding spot.

“I would’ve liked to known beforehand that the game you were suggesting was illegal.” You sighed grumpily, although it was halfhearted because you actually were having fun.

“Please, the school guards couldn’t catch a turtle if it rolled in on it’s shell. I’m much better at this than a turtle.” Just then the head guard called into the locker room and Sebastian’s hand tightened around yours in a mix of excitement and reassurance.

“Stan you get your juvenile ass out here, I’m not in the mood to hunt you down.” He shouted grumpily and you could see the handlebar mustache in his voice alone. Sebastian showed no sign of surrendering, instead scouting out a hall that looked to be a dead end.

“I’m not going down there, we’ll get caught for sure!” Your hushed voice sounded loud enough to give you away, although the security guard didn’t manage to catch it.

“C'mon Alice, where’s your sense of adventure? Don’t you trust me?”

Why would I trust you? I’ve met you twice.” And yet your fingers were intertwined and Seb’s thumb was rubbing over the back of your hand carelessly.

“Fine, then think about the porn you’re doing this for.” He smirked and twisted his head around, hearing the guard’s quickly approaching footsteps in the dark.

“It’s not porn.” You huffed, but followed him regardless. Not like you could stay where you were, your parents would kill you if they found out you were trespassing on school grounds after midnight. And with a boy? You’d be lucky if you saw graduation day.

After that, you and Sebastian just sort of found each other, he was way more fun than any of your other friends, who were already starting to drift away when they heard you were getting along with the weird kid. You didn’t care much, in all honesty.

You spent nearly all your nights together, either forcing him to read one of your favourite books (which actually turned into you reading them outloud while Seb laid in your lap or sat behind you and played with you hair, dropping the occasional cringey joke or stupid remark.) or putting on a Disney favourite of his and enjoying his pitchy voice as he sang along to Aladdin or the Little Mermaid. Sometimes you curled up into his side and fell asleep on his shoulder, others he would stretch out over the whole couch and force you to sit on his stomach if you didn’t wanna park it on the floor.

Every once in awhile he’d disappear off your radar. Never for too long, but sometimes it would be a whole day before he texted you again.

And then one day he didn’t disappear. It was pouring outside, the kind of rain that causes floods in cities by a body of water, and he just showed up at your door. Or rather, far enough away from your door to throw rocks at your window and get completely drenched while he waited for you to skid down your stairs and unlock it for him.

It was odd, because he was always smiling, and he was now - except it was obviously forced. His eyes were red and he looked like he was holding back from gritting his teeth. You tugged him inside quickly, ushering him into your bedroom while you ran around grabbing towels and spare clothes from your brother’s closet.

He hadn’t said a word until he was in the dry clothes and you were mussing up his hair with the towel, leaning forward on your haunches while he sat numbly on the edge of your bed. You didn’t want to ask him what was wrong, because he didn’t look like he really wanted to say.

“Thanks.” He mumbled into the towel and you sat back, biting your lip to keep the questions from leaking out.

“You okay?” Which you knew was a dumb question because if he were okay he would not be sitting here holding back tears and making fists at nothing.

“I’m great Alice, how’re you?” And he almost sounded angry, but you knew he wasn’t. Not at you.

“C'mere.” Your hand wrapped around his wrist and you dragged him up the bed with you, setting yourself against the headboard and hugging him tight.

After that you found a clearing in the trees near your house where you two decided to go every time something made you feel down. Now when Sebastian disappeared, it was to go there. You brought blankets, snacks, and Disney movies to cheer him up. When you were there alone, Seb brought you books and read them to you. Though most times they were obscene and strange plots, you enjoyed them no less.

For a long while after that everything stayed the same, sneaking out with Seb late at night to go tag things or toy with security guards. Falling asleep with him on the couch watching cheesy documentaries. Goofing around in your spot, pointing at clouds or stars or ants.

Today was the latter, Seb had sprawled out over the entirety of the picnic blanket you brought, and you were throwing decent chunks of food at him to get him to move.

“Scooch over you blanket hog.” This piece bounced right off his head but he only grumbled and wiggled further into the fabric. You crossed your arms and stepped over to his head, kicking grass onto the blanket by his face.

“Seeebbbbbb,” You whined, pushing the blanket with the toe of your shoe and waiting for him to give in.

Instead he shot his arm out and grabbed your ankles, tugging them out from under you. He laughed when you landed on your butt, face full of shock.

“You did not.” You said sternly, and Sebastian’s eyes sparked to life, shrugging and giving you his usual mischievous grin. With his hand still wrapped around your ankle, he dragged you onto the blanket beside him and sprawled out on top of you this time.

“Better?” His nose nuzzled into your neck and his breath warmed your shoulder.

“No.” You laughed under him and wriggled away, but his arms wrapped around you and held you there, fluffy hair and beanie raising with his head as his grin came into view again. His breath was fanning over your face and it was suddenly difficult to look away from Sebastian’s endlessly blue eyes.

“What’re you doing?” He was only an inch away from you now, and your heart was beating out of your chest. His eyes flickered from your hues to your slightly parted lips and gulped.

“I think I’m gonna kiss you.” The way he said it made it seem like the simplest thing, like he was reading from one of your books or singing a song from his favourite movie. He was in a daze, and he couldn’t focus on much aside from the smell of your chapstick or the feel of your waist in his hands.

“Oh.” Because you really didn’t have anything else to say about it.

And then, like gravity was pushing him forwards, his lips brushed over yours. It was soft and curious at first, when neither of you really registered what was happening, but once that phase was over and you realized that Seb’s mouth was probably the best thing to happen to you, your arms wound around his neck and your tongue swept over his lip.

Seb picked himself up off the blanket and hovered over you, hands still planted on your sides and eyes screwed shut in an attempt to memorize the fluttery feeling your lips gave him. With his guard down it was easy for you to shove him off you and take his place on top, leaning on your forearms to meet his lips again, more passionate this time around.

“So this is new.” You commented lightly after a couple minutes, referring to the churning adoration you only just realized you had for Sebastian. He nodded with a wide smile and swiped a strand of hair behind your ear.

“I kinda like it.”

So did you.


(via 1925 Art Deco Utilities Building | by Sean | Flickr)

Public utilities building for telephone and postal services,
Cluj-Napoca, Romania,
built between 1966-69,
Architect Vasile Mitrea

Arches in Reccopolis

Two surviving arches from a basilica in a Visigothic city. A large public building made utilizing Roman engineering, perhaps an attempt to emulate Byzantine architecture.

Built out of stone.

Made in the 580s at Reccopolis in Visigothic Spain. Now modern day Zorita de los Canes in Spain.