Swords

This will take some time to compose.

No it won’t. I just needed a good night’s sleep to shake off a disappointing night. I originally had a much more ambitious subject to tackle but this will be condensed.

Last night swords won out. Defensive, protect your back, short term thinking, swords. “They” killed a peace offering in the deluded hope that this would protect the sword weilders from a perceived threat. That self defensiveness is far more likely to become a self fulfilling prophecy. The message unintentionally communicated is that the “competition” is infinitely more skilled than ISD 709. I know they are good but I also not they are not infinitely better. But any young parents reading the results of our school board’s deliberations on the morning after will see the results as a confirmation of ISD 709’s disintegration.

I liked what today’s story in the Trib reported that Art Johnston said about the Duluth Public Schools Academy: “Let’s work with them and take their money if we can make a deal, and beat them at their own game.” That’s the spirit! Art rightly criticized the “Edison” bashing that has reemerged from a teacher’s union long threatened by competition.

I hated the notion of competition when it was used by a previous Administration to describe how a charter school would improve ISD 709 schools. Competition is what two scorpions in a bottle do. It can be a zero sum game where the winner takes all and the loser takes the hindmost.

I first discovered that the families of the then new Edison school were made of different stuff in 1999 when I ran for reelection. Frank Wanner, the DFT President, was in a lather about the Charter and came to denounce the School Board some months before I filed for reelection. Something I said at the meeting to lighten the tension torked Frank off. As I wrote in a post dated Oct. 5, 2013 “Frank Wanner trained most of his guns on me, the chairman at the beginning of the year, to win one more vote for a generous contract settlement. When he didn’t get it he turned to me at a meeting, pointed his finger at me and said, “You’ll be a target in the next election.”’

This was not the first time I rose to a challenge……that makes me sound a little competitive huh? Well, one of the candidates running that year seemed to me to be a plant by the Union. I found a candidate to challenge him and bought 500 lawnsigns with that apparently pro union candidate’s name on it with a slash through it. I got the shock of my life when I brought a handfull of them to the new Edison parents I thought would jump at the chance to squelch an enemy of their new school. The reaction was almost universal. Our school is here to foster friendliness and cooperation. That kind of sign betrays everything Edison stands for. It was not the first thousand bucks I’ve thrown away in a political cause.

As hard as it may be to believe the hot shot, New York, corporate founders of Edison injected that philosophy into their Duluth school and it has remained that way ever since.

A short time later one of my favorite people became Edison’s headmaster, Bonnie Jorgenson. Bonnie had been Glen Avon Church’s youth director. I had gone with her on four annual youth mission trips to fix up poor people’s homes across the US. She brought a swords into plowshares mentality with her and it pervades the DPSA schools.

Earlier this week when I raised the subject with my daughter, Keely told me: “Bonnie gave up her office so that she could use it to help special needs children.”

“Edison” (the Duluth Public Schools Academy) is run with that spirit of community that I am always looking for. I was taken by surprise by Edison’s last minute offer for Central. Let me tell you what the cynics in ISD 709 thought about that offer:

Those rascals saw a chance to humiliate 709 by giving us an offer that was too good to be true and thus embarrass us when we turned it down (as they knew we would) rather than let them use the perfectly good school we closed to remind every one who drove past it how stupid we have been.

I know Bonnie Jorgenson and the DPSA ethos: If I could get into Bonnie’s head this is what I would have expected to find her thinking. The Duluth Public Schools are in a world of hurt. Let’s offer them the help they need so we can begin to partner with them rather than always be in their cross-hairs.

The snipers won this battle to prolong a war that DPSA families never asked for.

PS. To my knowledge none of the Board members voting against the sale took up Bonnie Jorgenson’s offer to give them a tour of her schools.

Swords/Plowshares 31 – Public Employee Unions are cracking the whip

Disclaimer

First the Unions in Duluth pushed the Red Plan for construction jobs at the eventual expense of a hundred teaching jobs.

Now the Public Employee Unions are flexing their muscle to prevent ISD 709 from getting back some state money for its useless Central High School.

Its as though they are telling local pols: “We got you elected now bend to our will.” Both Representative Simmonds and Jen Schultz have issued proclamations aimed at curbing Charter Schools. Education Minnesota has sent out a dubious flyer to Duluth’s teachers telling them that the Central Sale will doom America. You could almost be forgiven if you thought Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was running for Mayor of Duluth.

As near as I can tell 80% or better of Duluth thinks saving Central High School from the wrecking ball and selling it to the Duluth Public Schools Academy is a sound, sensible, kid friendly decision. This clamor for the sale to go through is prompting a lot of union hysteria.

Where will the unions be when ISD 709 starts swallowing annual recurring deficits and a frustrated public refuses to pass operational levies?

Just asking.

Swords/Plowshares 30 – How did the DPSA get here in the first place?

Disclaimer

The letter sent to the Duluth School Board today by the Superintendent of Schools back in 1996:

School Board Members,

I would like to first thank you for your work on the board, it is too often thankless. Lost in the discussion regarding Central High School is the reason Edison is here in the first place. In 1996 Minnesota first tested eighth graders in reading and math. Duluth didn’t do so well. In fact, 2/3 of the state’s 300 plus school districts outperformed Duluth in basic reading and 3/4 outperformed Duluth in basic math. In light of those results and a 25% dropout rate plus the
achievement gaps between white, minority, higher and lower income students, the nine member school board unanimously decided to try and do something about it. Minnesota charter school legislation had recently been enacted and the school board had turned down two weak proposals. Inevitably there would be a charter school but rather than weak proposals they proactively sought the best research based charter school focused on Duluth’s needs. They went nationwide requesting proposals for a research, results, accountability based charter school. Local teachers were asked to submit a proposal, they chose not to. Edison was selected from all applicants. Edison introduced to Duluth a longer school day, a longer school year, all day every day kindergarten, before and after school child care, current technology, and well researched curricula and instruction. The Duluth Edison public charter school has operated successfully for 19 years with waiting lists in most grades. The for profit argument is mute in that the Northstar and Raleigh Academies are now independent of Edison. The school board policy in question was enacted specifically to block Edison’s purchase of school buildings. Prior to Edison the school board had no such policy and willingly sold Lowell school to the Christian Academy and Lakeside to the St. Michael’s school.

Sincerely,
Mark Myles

Swords/Plowshares 29 – Fear Mongering, Destroying Denfeld

Fox News just did a story about Rep Erik Simonson’s letter warning that taxpayers will pay for the Central Sale. Yup. State tax payers mostly, not Duluth taxpayers. I’m OK with that because the state did nothing to protect Duluth taxpayers when the rapacious Red Plan ate up half a billion in property taxes.

I can’t find the post where I explained this before but this is the story in short. The DPSA will not be using local levy to pay to buy Central from us. That will all be from State income and sales taxes with the exception that Duluth taxpayers compose roughly 2% of Minnesota’s population. That means of the $20 million DPSA gets for its new school, wherever it builds it, Duluth taxpayers share of that 2% is a measly $400,000. ISD gets $14.2 million of that money for its beleaguered general fund. That’s my idea of a good trade.

Furthermore, We are not currently protected if Edison becomes an even more successful school. We have no enrollment cap on DPSA’s growth. We can only put that into place if we negotiate a deal with them. That is the only way I would sign off on a Central Sale. Anyone leaving DPSA adrift might come to regret its success in ten years with no restraints on building another addition.

Next I should share the hysterical piece given out to our teachers from Education Minnesota…….but first I need to rest my head. I’ve endured way too much blue screen time over the past couple days.

Swords/Plowshares 28 – Fear Mongering – Special Education

Disclaimer

Opponents of the Central Sale are suggesting that Edison is sticking it to ISD 709 because of Special Education. Judy Seliga-Punyko is the leading adherent of this view. http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=11172

It is repeatedly suggested that Edison will steal away ISD 709 kids and stick ISD 709 with the costs. Judy Seliga-Punyko made this claim ad nauseam. If it is true it bears consideration but I suspect the claim is bunkum and that perhaps the DPSA schools are paying a heavy price for offering the best Special Education services in Duluth which lets ISD 709 off an expensive hook.

Here how it was explained to me but requires me to confirm.

Every child diagnosed as needing Special Ed services in the state is evaluated and his/her school draws up an IEP (Individual Education Plan). Based on how much contact time the school determines the student needs with paraprofessionals a cost is assigned to the individual student’s needs. Bear in mind that every student in our district, non special ed students included, receives $10,000 General Education dollars. Costs for Special Ed students are over and above this $10,000. To receive these costs all Districts submit IEP claims to the Minnesota Dept. of Education.

Special ed costs, even those mandated by Federal law, are not fully reimbursed to school districts. In Minnesota only a portion of the required Special Ed spending is sent to the Districts. In ISD 709’s case it seems to be in the neighborhood of a 65% reimbursement. Each Special Ed student will demand varying amounts of help depending on the needs. It could be an annual expense of 5, 10 or even 20 thousand dollars Let’s assume for simplicity that the special ed costs, over the original $10,000 General Ed aid, is an additional $10,000.

Duluth sends in its student’s IEP to Minnesota and Minnesota gives back 65% of the cost to ISD 709 or $6,500. That gives ISD 709 a total of $16,500 in state funds to educate this student leaving us to dig out the additional $3,500 from local property tax levies.

Here’s how the DPSA schools fares when this ISD 709 student transfers to DPSA.

The cost to DPSA is still roughly $10,000 for General Education. However, like ISD 709 DPSA only gets an additional an $6,500 from the state to Educate the student. Suddenly, however, it becomes DPSA’s problem to dig into its funds to pay the $3,500 the State shorts them. Its now their problem. Meanwhile ISD 709 is relieved of the $3,500 special ed cost. GO 709!

There is another complication involving a 90%/10% split for costs of students between ISD 709 and any a Charter Schools but that pails in comparison. If what I outlined above is accurate (and it may not be) somehow ISD 709 only has to pay 90% of the DPSA’s cost of special education. They have to bite the bullet and pay the 10% cost. I don’t know the financial mechanics but it strikes me that DPSA is taking another hit by taking on our Special Ed kids.

Again I have to check this explanation for accuracy but if I’m right ISD 709 has nothing to lose in terms of selling Central to Edison based on Special Education considerations

Swords/Plowshares 28 – Fear Mongering – Fair Price

Disclaimer

Opponents of the sale of Central are pulling out the stops to spread worst case scenarios that beggar belief.

It was suggested at the Monday public comment meeting that Central is worth $30 million, at least as a school. However – First, that estimate was by Johnson Controls friends who wanted to sell Duluth on how easy it would be to finance the Red Plan and, Second, that appraisal is nine years old. Not only that it took place before the massive, stomach churning national mortgage bust brought property prices down from la la land.

Now I’m hearing School Board members tell us that to build that kind of a school someone would need $60 million dollars as though that makes any difference when we will have to spend a million dollars to demolish the building. Even if it was worth that much DPSA doesn’t have that kind of money. They have a little over $20 million to spend and they need some of it to alter the interior. Besides that, if we put an enrollment cap on it DPSA will be stuck with a building that could house twice as many students as they need for their high school. Plus, it will take them four years to ramp up to full 9-12 enrollment.

Now lets get real. There have never been 77 fully useful acres on the Central site. I know that from my last stint on the School Board when it was pointed out that none of the property abutting the antenna farm was of any use to anyone. I’ve heard its got 33 develop-able acres.

Now here are the thoughts, not unlike others I’ve heard from local realtors, that another Realtor put in the Duluth News Tribune’s Facebook page:

I work for a property management company. We looked at the property. This is the truth of the matter in economics. The property is not worth the 30 million the district is saying.

They are basing prices on a outdated estimate. When given that estimate the recession had not happened. Also that price is based on if the building was used for a school. It is too expensive to use any other way. Retrofits and construction costs will be incredible.

So to use the property. You have to knock the building down. Which will cost 1.2 million. Then you need access so roads need to be put in. Another 1 to 2 million. Utility’s need to be run. Another million or more. Not all the property is desirable. There is a antenna farm located on the site. There really is only 33 acres of disirable property. The estimate given to our company was 10 million and that was what the district was going to sell it for before. Now minus 5 million for access, utilities, and demolition. Plus ground work. So what is the property really worth?

The company I work for passed on it. So will they be able to sell parcels?

Maybe in 10 to 20 years at a considerable loss. So here is a offer for 14 million. But from competition. Why the competition? Because of poor decision by our administration and board. Which we as the tax payer have allowed. Why does Edison want the building? More bang for the buck.

Will they build anyways? Yes. Will they fill their new school? Yes.

So your Damned if you do and Damned if you don’t. So sell the building. Get out of debt. And work hard to change or district. So we see a influx of students.
Time for change. New board, change in administration, parents get involved.

Or do nothing don’t sell class sizes will get bigger. They will cut staff. Keep paying a 170,000 a year on a empty building. Students will leave. TIME FOR REAL CHANGE, THINK OUT SIDE THE BOX AND ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES AND STOP BLAMING OTHERS FOR OUR MISTAKES.

Come to tonight’s meeting. There will be more public comment. Sign up to speak early so the unions don’t hog the first hour again.

Swords/Plowshares 27 – News Tribune View: “Waive policies, negotiate sale”

Disclaimer
Despite spirited arguments offered to the DNT’s Editorial Board against selling Central by Superintendent Gronseth and Board Chair Harala yesterday the verdict of a thoughtful Editorial by the DNT is: “Waive policies, negotiate sale.”

The School Board has only heard about a proposal to date. We haven’t seen it. What’s more there are several negotiating points that have not been, well, negotiated – like for instance, whether it is all 77 acres or not or if it would include the new STC building that once housed a very popular vocational ed program that drew in students from surrounding schools. And of course, there has been no discussion, that this Board member has heard about, of a protective “enrollment cap.” that could be very important to ISD 709’s future.

It strikes me as premature to consider a change in our policy unless and until we also authorize negotiations to cover all of these and other points. I will be profoundly disappointed if the Board refuses to explore the most generous offer we are likely to see any time soon. Passing up new money will incline me not to vote for any budgets offered for our consideration as we chop away at our exiting program.

Swords/Plowshares 26 – The people’s will

Disclaimer

It isn’t just the 9 to 1 lead in the School Board’s email in-basket. It isn’t just the 2,300 likes and 600 shares in Don Ness’s Facebook page. Its now a recent poll you can find on the Duluth News Tribune’s webpage that shows an 83% majority of online readers who want Central High sold to Edison. As of 9:30 PM its 2008 “YES” votes to 348 “NO” votes. A polster who brought this to my attention explained that this was significant because these results were from the more youthful online community. I have no doubt that if older folks who have resisted the computer age, but who still vote more reliably than online geeks, were added to this mix the results would be even higher.

If our new School Board chooses not to sell Central, or even consider any negotiations, it would probably doom the passage of critical future referendums for operational levies. How could our School Board justify asking voters to pass higher taxes when they turned down the best offer we will receive for a financial sinkhole like the empty Central High? In fact, by the time you throw in the savings of over a million dollars on a demolition we won’t have to pay for, the $15 plus million we get for Central will almost double what we raised in the 2013 operational levy referendum. That levy provides $1.8 million annually over five years or only $9 million dollars.

Although its not a fully trustworthy scientific poll here is what the DNT asks:

Should the school district sell the former Central High School property to be used as a Duluth Edison high school?
Yes
No
Not sure
Vote
View Results
Previous Polls

As I type this I’ve been told that Duluth’s public employee union leaders are pulling out the stops, as they did at the Monday public comment meeting, to scuttle the deal. I am appalled. I have heard of a number of teachers who are burning out with current classroom numbers and planning on much earlier retirements than they ever imagined for themselves. These union leaders don’t care about our children; they don’t care about their union members and they sure as hell don’t care about our community. They are the Iranian mullahs who would refuse earthquake aid from the United States because we are the “Great Satan.”

I have 180 emails yet to go through as of now

I try to reply to each person emailing me. This is exhausting but very informative. I don’t know which other Board members are reading through them although Alanna has been tallying the pro con vote. At her last count it was running 9 to 1 to sell Central. I’ve heard from many people that everyone they talk to says “sell it.”

SWORDS/PLOWSHARES 25 – PRO-CON EMAIL SENT TO THE SB MARCH 26-27

Disclaimer

These are the Key sentences in the email sent to the Board re: the Central Sale on March 26 & 27th

Sell emails are bolded 14….. Don’t sell emails are italicized 2

TW – As a parent that had one son go to woodland and one to edison, we got to know the edison community. The main thing to know is that no matter what you do – THEY WILL BUILD THEIR NEW HIGH SCHOOL …. I want to see 709 succeed but frankly something significant has to change to make me think the future will not continue to get worse. Please tell what is being done to make sure we don’t have continual budget deficits along with annual cuts in programs

GH – There are many reasons to cancel or revise the policy prohibiting the sale of schools to another K-12 school, and Approve The Sale of Central High School to Edison Schools without conditions. Among those are the noise by the F16 taking off and landing at Snowflake…
Continue reading

SWORDS/PLOWSHARES 23 – PRO-CON EMAIL SENT TO THE SB MARCH 25

Disclaimer

These are the Key sentences in the email sent to the Board re: the Central Sale on March 25th

Sell emails are bolded 14…… Don’t sell emails are italicized 1

SF – We are in favor of selling the former Central High School to Edison Charter School. It is a school and can still be used as a school, without the need to tear everything down and haul it away to a landfill and scar up the land with more construction, and without the need to clear more land and cut down more trees to build a new school in another location.

LK – While it’s obviously too late to turn back the clock and undo the shortsighted closing of Central, this sale will help to put the mistake behind the board. ….. Every time I drive by the barricaded entrance to Central I wince at the misguided decision. With the Edison plan, it’s hopeful that the building will return to its intended use.

CK – …this location and building is the perfect place for a school. Too bad the school board could not see that truth before building Lincoln in such a remote location.

GN – Until today, I have never written an email or given my opinion to an elected person…. Continue reading

Sword/Plowshares 22 – When blindness is preferred

Disclaimer

I’m fearful that DPSA’s generous and life saving proposal to buy Central High School will fail because of our four union-endorsed School Board member’s stong affiliation with the protectionist Unions. These unions oppose selling Central to the DPSA. In this the unions are like Iranian mullahs refusing American aid to help them dig buried Iranians out of the rubble of an earthquake. Better that Iranians should die than accept help from the “Great Satan!” So too ISD 709’s children.

Bonnie Jorgenson sent an offer to all our school board members to give them a tour of the DPSA schools or as its enemies prefer to refer to it “the competition.”

Although Nora Sandstead has visited Edison on a previous occasion the other union blessed Duluth School Board members have not yet made a pilgrimage to see what our Charter Schools look like on the people side, the inside, of their schools.

I understand. The less you know about the people you want to distrust the harder it is to see them as people just like you and the easier it is to vilify them. Just what we need. A little more Washington DC right here in Duluth.

Swords/Plowshares 20 – A wall of letters

Disclaimer

The Sell Central message is not only on Facebook and email being sent to the School Board. Today a wall of sell Central letters was published on the New Tribune’s Opinion Page. They were all extraordinarily eloquent, smart and sensible. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Perhaps, tomorrow the Trib will have a similar wall of letters opposing the sale. If so, I can only hope they are not so hopelessly innacurate as so much that I heard from DPSA haters in the Tuesday night audience.

And By the way. I’ve been careless calling the DPSA “Edison” in this blog. Its habit and shorthand that is a hangover from twenty years ago when the Edison Company won the “competition” for the best of five or six proposals to start a Charter School in Duluth. Today it has little to do with the DPSA or the Duluth Public School Academy. Its particularly lazy of me because my just divorced daughter (proud graduate of East High School) got a job at the DPSA six or seven years ago after coming back home a vulnerable single mother.

She applied to become a para working with special ed kids and got the chance to show off her extraordinary powers working with off kilter kids that she fell in love with even as they did their best to make their surroundings one heck of a challenge for her. Today she sent me a link to School Head Bonnie Jorgenson’s Facebook post correcting, as I have been doing, a slew of misinformation spread at the Tuesday meeting about Ed……Ooops! the Duluth Public Schools Academy.

I heard from Alanna Oswald that she forwarded the corrections to DFT President Bernie Burnham who she reports did the honorable thing and passed it on to her DFT union members.

But first. I am only aware of one of these DNT letter writers who has also sent an email to the Board. Here is a thumbnail quote from each with a link to the full letter.

Dylan Raddant: “If sale-preventing rules are not waived, Edison still would compete against the Duluth public schools while the citizens of Duluth would be deprived of a financial windfall for their children’s education.”

Marcia Hanson: “…many city voters may not all realize that if the district doesn’t sell old Central, taxes may have to be raised, and they’re high enough already, or something else will have to be done about the deficit.”

Sue Connor: “Taxes from ISD 709 increase almost yearly, yet we haven’t seen markedly better academic achievement from students. It is my opinion there needs to be a complete overhaul in how the schools are run. Maybe instead of fearing competition, the district should look at what the charter schools and private schools are doing differently and emulate it. Maybe then we could keep the Duluth public schools’ enrollments healthy.”

Cecilia Hill: “With the money from the sale the school district would have less debt and more money for reducing class sizes and extras for students.”

Joe Kleiman: “There aren’t qualified buyers standing in line to purchase the property. The first deal agreed to had a purchase price of $10 million but fell through. This deal at $14 million appears too good to be true.”

Swords/Plowshares 19 – Pro-Con email sent to the SB March 24

Disclaimer

These are the Key sentences in all the email sent to the ISD 709 School Board re: the Central Sale on March 22nd after news broke on Tuesday last.

Sell emails are bolded 14 ….Don’t sell emails are italicized 0

MAG – I am …voicing my strong preference to allow and approve the sale of Central to Edison. I have grown increasingly sickened by the lack of funds and support for our public school system in Duluth, Minnesota. …”Cancel or Revise the policy prohibiting the sale of schools to another K-12 school, and Approve The Sale of Central High School to Edison Schools without conditions.”

JR – I would urge you to accept the Edison Groups current offer for the Central School site. We as citizens have been feeling the pain of the “Red Plan” for far too long and it is time we put some of it behind us. This would be a start. My wife, I and five children are all graduates of Denfeld.

PP – Please sell the old Central High School and be done with it.. You have a chance to get 14 Million for it .. SELL IT !!! Don’t give it away like you did Morgan Park High School… That is totally insane what you did with that school… Grrrrrrrrrr I dont care if they put in 10 Charter Schools …

JM – The only question is do you want to make money or not? Take the deal, it would be foolish not to.

TH – I have 4 children , 2 of which are still in school. We have spent 850k on an empty building. We could have really used that money to improve our schools being used and to avoid cutting programs.

RV – In the grand discussions of educational competition versus finance Continue reading

Swords/Plowshares 18 – Ignorance is not bliss

An Email Board Member Oswald sent to our Facilities Head five days ago:

Hi Kerry, (Annie please see my request at the bottom of this email)
Ok, so I’m really questioning the values presented because of your attachment. I read it over in detail finally, and came across this paragraph regarding marketing time to be sold at the values indicated in the report on page 4:

“The need for and conversion of various school properties in Duluth will vary depending on the local investment market, therefore, any market considerations for the subject properties should be considered on that scale. Considering the age, location, and design of the subject properties, marketing time is stabilized herein at 6 to 36 months. The valuation conclusions presented herein are predicated on this marketing time frame.”

According to the report itself, the values contained in it are invalid. By at least 84 months (7 years)
I am not happy that this information was not shared with the entire board at the time of our closed meeting!

I am requesting, for the third time, that a realtor complete another valuation of property prior to any decision to be made by our board, and that the realtor who will be doing the valuation be present at the public meeting……I cannot make an informed decision without this new appraisal.

Swords/Plowshares 17 – Transparency and Truth

I’ve just looked at a handout I picked up at last night’s Public Forum. Like the rush of union leaders for the microphone it appears to be the work of the same although there is no disclaimer on it explaining who wrote it. It begins thusly:

“The Duluth School Board should reject real estate deals that lack transparency and accountability and create tax-payer subsidized competition that weakens public education.”

Sheesh!

Number one. talk about transparency. Who wrote this?

Number two. Transparency! The unions had no problem with Johnson Controls hiding the use of $84 million dollars that Duluth taxpayer’s paid them. But, the mysterious author of this screed doesn’t want ISD 709 to accept a $14.2 million dollar offer that comes, as transparently as possible, from Minnesota’s State Treasury?

This screed goes on to make many other remarkable assertions. It says the Charter law only meant for these schools to rent space from “churches non profits or private building owners.” Then it asserts that it is wrong for Tischer Creek to build such a building for a Charter even though it admits that there are another 27 Charters in Minnesota with such an arrangement. But Tischer Creek is both a non profit and a private building owner. That is exactly what this screed says is OK to rent space from – “non profits or private building owners.”

Then it gives an example of a charter school in Stillwater, Minnesota that has grown large and pulled kids away from the Independent public schools. Well, putting an enrollment cap on a sale would protect ISD 709. The writer of this screed leaves no room for the Duluth School Board to put such a protection into a contract.

Then the Screed writer dredges up twenty-year-old complaints that the original Edison Schools lost a lot of money. That’s true but Edison the business didn’t fail taxpayers. It failed its investors. And our Duluth Public Schools Academy plans to drop the accounting services that are all that is uses of the original Edison. As for the Duluth Charters – they have never been “for profit” public schools.

The screed goes on to outline a better option. Apparently putting $14.2 million into the cash strapped and Red Plan sapped Duluth Public Schools is not a better option. The better option is to stay cash strapped.

I suggest that you read Loren Martel’s description of our recent Budget meeting. I wish the anonymous screed writer had.

Loren Martel’s take on District Budget Cuts

Doing Your Duty. From the latest Duluth Reader. Here’s a taste:

Recently the school board was forced to call a meeting with the express purpose of finding a way to shore up another multi-million dollar ($3.3 million) deficit in their finances. The burden of outlining possible solutions to this perennial, at times seemingly intractable problem, fell on the shoulders of administrative personnel. District bureaucrats sat around the table with the Board and made thoughtful suggestions about how best to wield the surgical knife without killing the patient.