Stephen Michael Kellat

Switching Things Up

Stephen Michael Kellat at

What Happened?

Things are getting a bit troublesome at work. I have been getting sick a bit more frequently. We've been having more people showing up with "pulse-ox" meters to see if they're even getting enough oxygen to breath. The air isn't that great in my section. With the increasing pace of retirements being announced, I suppose I need to recognize the handwriting that is on the wall.

Besides, have you seen the federal cabinet ministers getting harassed while simply trying to eat dinner? Secretaries of Homeland Security and Transportation, the now-former EPA Administrator, and the Assistant to the President/Press Secretary have all run into a spot of bother. This is not behavior to encourage.

Now What?

A project proposal being passed around at church is for me to stand up an adult education/pre-college unit. Our local school district doesn't always have the best graduation outcomes. In this instance I would be standing up an experimental operation to work during the fall to offering some remedial education for local students as well as "pre-college preparatory experiences".

In short, do tutoring as well as some lecturing on how to ensure 2+2=4 plus also working on reading. I do have a degree in library science that is barely used so working on the literature aspect would be fairly simple. Chalkboards and chalk are already there as well as tables and chairs. Facilities would be put to use during downtime between services. Dragging in resources from Saylor Academy would also be useful to ensure students could actually pick up credits from an external provider through things like The Alternative Credit Project. For those operating from a Christian viewpoint, Acts 8:26-40 is the scriptural example we're working with that also potentially includes students working with MOOCs too. History doesn't repeat but it sure can look awfully similar.

The big problem is that this would be incompatible with at least 1 of the 3 sets of ethics rules I have to comply with as a federal civil servavnt. To do this, I would have to leave the federal civil service. Then again, for the sake of my own personal safety this is probably the best time ever to do so.

To maintain subsistence on half pay for the remainder of calendar year 2018, I would have to raise USD$10,000. Thankfully this is not something that would be dealt with via Patreon or the like which would otherwise requiring me wading through the IRS Sharing Economy Tax Center for guidance. The church is a 501(c)(3) entity and would be the fiscal agent.

Since the congregation is older than ARPANet and still has a halting embrace of technology, there's very little computer technology in use there. There is no website. There is no e-mail address. Checks/cheques are still good and still useful for making donations that are tax-deductible in the United States. There is a full document known as Publication 526 from the IRS that details how that works if somebody wanted to make a donation to help further this work.

I thought logistically about PayPal and all sorts of other platforms. They do great for what they're intended to do although they end up putting money in my lap in a way that isn't tax-deductible. It doesn't go directly to the church first and winds up running things through the IRS Sharing Economy Tax Center again. They actually overcomplicate things as well as introduce arbitrage fees and other unnecessary weirdnesses. From the Publication 526 perspective, all that needs to happen is that a church get a check or other instrument like a money order to deposit so it can then turn around and send an acknowledgement letter which can then be used as a potential tax write-off.

Are There Timeframes For This?

Yes, of course. The goal is to be able to walk away from my current job by no later than July 20th. I would be then spending 20 hours per week working on this matter for the church in addition to the limited missionary-preacher work I do twice per month. Getting at least USD$3,000 raised by then would ensure at least two months funds were on-hand to keep me at subsistence operating. That is to say, keeping a roof over my head and food on the table.

The goal would be to have students start trickling in before Labor Day. Locally the K-12 students will already be back in sessions around August 20th so we can start promoting available services then. We'd take it from there and expect to wrap up with any participating students by no later than December 14th.

To discuss how to donate and to coordinate any funding participation, feel free to send an e-mail to

With luck I may be able to do some good in my local community. I've been fueling the engine of the nation-state long enough. Change seems to be in the winds.