Do over Fallout 1 – Emergency Meeting?

NOTE. THIS EMAIL IS WRONG. IT REFLECTS MY FERVID IMAGININGS. THE SUPERINTENDENT JUST GOT WORD OF IT AND SENT ME A “LOL” TEXT SAYING THE MEETING WAS TO PLAN FOR OUR UPCOMING SUMMIT ON MULCH. I WILL LEAVE THIS POST UP AS A DEMONSTRATION OF BOTH MY FAILINGS AS A JOURNALIST AND TO KEEP ME HUMBLE AND MY READERS FOREWARNED ABOUT MY LIMITATIONS AS A TRUTH TELLER.

I’m just back from donating at the Memorial Blood Center. As I’m always instructed after draining my pint not to do any heavy lifting I will spend my recovery typing up 5 or 6 posts on the “Fallout” from my proposed “do over” of the sale of Central. This post will be about what appeared to me to be an emergency meeting at the Superintendent’s office to which I was not invited in the wake of my email yesterday morning. I saw its stony faced participants file out of Mr. Gronseth’s office when I went in to chat with him before yesterday’s Education Committee Meeting. Stay tuned. More to come.

Sorry about the delay. I woke up at about 1:30 last night and couldn’t fall asleep again. On top of losing a pint of blood I thought a little nap would do me good.

I made a call to the Superintendent yesterday to ask if I could bring him a cup of coffee in the morning to chat for a bit. It was meant to be reciprocal because he was kind enough to bring me coffee last week at our longer session. He had lots of meetings but suggested I drop by at 3:30 just before our Education meeting. When I showed up he was busy in a meeting. I waited ten minutes and when the doors opened the Finance Director and Facilities manager walked out looking serious as did Chair Harala and Clerk Loeffler-Kemp. I had little doubt what was being discussed. Since I sent my email to the Duluth News Tribune as well as the school board the powers-that-be realized something had to be done. We are no longer living under last year’s problematic rules whereby a minority is unable to raise unpopular topics at school board meetings. And having a “do over” on the Central Sale is most assuredly an unpopular topic with our current school board – by one vote.

I had only thought of sending the email late that morning so it came as a bit of a surprise to me as well as the Superintendent and my fellow Board members. Mr. Gronseth was now faced with a discussion that he hadn’t counted on as I entered his lair. It was a cordial discussion and there was no evidence it was strained on the Superintendent’s part but he did play devil’s advocate with me. He asked how I would respond if it had been the other side seeking to have a do over had my side been in the majority. I told him the truth. What I was doing was not very exceptional – legislators often revisit their decisions. I also explained that I would have had no objection to the other side doing what I was now in the process of doing. I anything, I frankly took his argument (and the meeting preceding it) as evidence that he sided with the No Sale side although I am in no position to read the Superintendent’s mind. He had told me earlier that his first year teaching in ISD 709 was 1997 my second year as a School Board member and the first year of Edison’s operations. I know that teachers of his vintage were hurt and angered by Edison’s establishment. Their union kept telling them Edison was a slap in the face and an expression that our Board did not have faith in them. Many of the teachers of that vintage firmly believe that to this day. It is one of the principal reasons I resigned as Chairman of the Board in 1998 after only four months at that job.

I really should delve into the politics and practicalities of Charter Schools on my blog. I plan to when I can find the time. In 1996 when the Board was hell bent for leather to open a Charter School I understood immediately that its repercussions would reverberate for years to come. Here it is twenty years later and I couldn’t have been more right.

But the decision I intend for us to revisit next week requires more than a knee jerk response to cut off debate, especially when so much of the argumentation has deeply flawed. Our younger teachers do not seem to be ganging up on the Duluth Public Schools Academy like their more senior colleagues. It is their future at stake. I think the decision we made the first time not to sell Central imperils these young teachers as well as the District. I’ll make that case when I get to my Fallout 5 post.