The emperor’s new clothsline

I have a hard time finding and fishing out the freebie Parade magazine from my Sunday Paper these days stuck as it is in all the advertising supplements. Its shrunk in size and content and until last week had even cast off its once regular cartoon section. They put it back. In a little slip of paper they call “Ha” they had five cartoons last Sunday. I loved the one with a laundry woman putting clothes pins on a line with nothing apparently dangling from them.

I’ve once again woken up in the middle of the night to mull over the previous day’s experiences. Yesterday finished up with three hours of school board meetings where the evidence of a looming fiasco in the Johnston impeachment was painfully apparent.

In the middle of the meetings I got an unexpected call which I chose to answer out in the hallway just before we began discussing the resolution to treat Art as a politician rather than an employee of the district. It was a return call from one of the District staff I once worked with back when I was on the Board. I’d called this person months ago and when I didn’t hear back I guessed that he/she didn’t want to be reminded of old times or get roped into talking about how we got from then to now. I was wrong. My number had simply been misplaced and found later. I explained that I was in the middle of a school board meeting and begged to continue our call later in the evening after the dust had settled.

A quick recall of the three hours might be this. I asked questions like crazy barely getting to all the things I was interested in finding out. Art reminded the Board how shabbily he had been treated. The rest of the Board mostly sat mute in the wake of wreck they had embarked upon. My HR (human resources) meeting lasted an hour and a half. Amazing! Rosie contributed her name droppy laden praise for the information provided by our speakers. Bill Hanson had others available to explain our finances. The Superintendent hung in their enduring some pointed and well earned barbs by Art. The Board reminded me of sheep passively allowing themselves to be drawn to the slaughter house. Sad. Worse yet, my desire to help them save themselves is ebbing. Shame on me. Shame on me. Its our children who will suffer if they can’t pull themselves out of their muddle with a big wet kiss of an apology for the man they detest because he is dogged asking questions about stuff they want to forget.

Which leads me to the subject I was mulling over as I law awake in bed. The emperor. Keith Dixon.

Three years ago I began an all too short series of posts about Keith Dixon’s lies. I have long suspected that Supt Dixon if not a sociopath had sociopathic tendencies chief among them lying with narcisism a close second.

Here is a list of lies I’m aware of although I’ve forgotten others that I was told before I began keep track of them:

He left his family in Colorado but when hired to superintend Faribault explained that he would be bring his family up to Minnesota after his hiring. Instead he began dating young women in Faribault, marrying one and breaking up her family in the process and got her a job for the district he superintended and put her into an office next to his.

He accused a lone critic of his on the Faribault school board with forging his wife’s name on a contract to get paid a stipend for her volunteer work with immigrant students in the District.

Upon arriving in Duluth he told a meeting of folks honoring the martyrs of Duluth’s infamous lynching that he had learned about race and civil rights from his black college roommate. This was on tape. He had no such roommate.

He told a great number of people in Duluth that he had a degree in civil engineering as well as in education. Not true.

He let word out that Johnson Controls would only earn a few million dollars from their work on the Red Plan.

He told the Duluth News Tribune’s editorial board that the school board would soon reap a $32 million dividend in savings from the Red Plan. They later had to apologize for getting the story wrong.

He said when he left the district after draining the District’s reserve funds and just before classrooms got packed to the rafters with students that he was going into retirement. Within weeks he took a new superintendent’s job in the Twin Cities.

Some of these can be excused as white lies but they all represent a pattern of glibness sans conscience papered over with charm – unless you didn’t go along with his program. He fostered a coven of sycophants and a district that will be recovering for years from his grandiose spending spree.

I wrote a second email to the young fellow who sent me that supportive email I posted yesterday. He asked about the future consequences of our Red Plan debt. This is part of what I wrote him:

I don’t think anyone planned on keeping the district in the red for years when it comes to programming. But surely, someone on the inside saw the likely results. That person should be jailed.

I don’t see any easy fixes. Just 1. Ask local voters for more money – a cold day in hell possibility. 2. Get more money from the legislature – not much more likely 3. Learn to teach with too few teachers – if possible or 4. Get some payback from Johnson Controls. Sadly with each passing day that gets much less likely.

Our current school board is accusing Art Johnston of being the villain for pointing out that JCI got a 25% take on a $19 million dollar change order that the Board never voted on in part of the $60 million extra spent on the Red Plan over its initial promised cost which was up from the original 14% take JCI was supposed to collect for their program management. Ah, but to hide the real reason for abusing Art they are counting on the six buletin point accusations against Art for reacting badly to the District’s persecution of his partner of 14 years.

If and when (and with me its much more likely when) the people of Duluth hear about Jane Bushey’s treatment all sympathy for the School Board and Administration will evaporate instantly.

Hint to the Board – lambs to the slaughter or big wet kiss of apology. Its your choice. Keith Dixon is your Judas goat. Do you really want to continue following him? He’ll hang you out to dry along with his invisible laundry.

Shame on me. Shame on me.

(this post could use a good editing. Maybe I’ll attempt it later after I fight off my damn cat who is demanding attention now)