It’s not quite midnight and I want to vent. Our School Board meeting went on till 10:30 PM by far the latest since I rejoined the Board. Only a couple issues consumed the night. We began early with a Committee of the Whole to discuss our next year’s budget at 5 PM. It was an excellent meeting which ended with 15 minutes to spare before the 6:30 School Board meeting. The school board meeting began with a long parade of parents, many advocating for a seven period day. Even they had to wait for some presentations of worthy students and teachers.
There were two long discussions. The first began when Alanna Oswald offered an amendment that on hearing I thought ordered a mandated 7 period day to begin in September of 2017. I was not alone judging by the panicked looks of several administrators. I immediately wrote down a substitute motion that backed off a full seven-hour day next fall but instead directed that we spend more money in our western elementary schools as a downpayment on our attempt to bring them equity. Art seconded my motion so I could discuss my alternative. The video is up on youtube, all 4 glorious hours of it. Tomorrow I’ll figure out when the discussion began give you the time signature.
Ditto the hottest discussion of the night that has left me wanting to vent. The Board on a 4-3 vote decided to keep employing Kevin Rupp’s Law firm. His name shows up in no less than 37 previous posts going back to March of 2009. I made clear my antipathy to him at our January meeting and was heartened when it appeared there would be support to find an alternative law firm. Once it became apparent tonight that Rosie and Annie, who’s unsupported allegations helped make our first two years a nightmare and the Board a laughing stock, were going to keep their attorney all good will left our meeting. Rupp’s law firm was retained despite my vehement objections. I warned the Board that if I was elected to the Board next fall and part of a majority I would sever our ties with Rupp’s firm. I further warned that if Rupp was used, as he has been in the past, to represent us in our all-imporant teacher contract talks I would have him removed no matter how far along those negotiations were. We still have the Ratwik firm, a big fancy Twin Cities law firm, to provide us a negotiator.
My grievances are legion. I was barred from the negotiations shortly after I got elected and Rupp did nothing. He is the Superintendent’s attorney, not the School Boards and I have been publicly insulted by him during a school board meeting; prevented from meeting with him; been denied access to his billing to see where $160,000 of the taxpayers money was spent on his firm’s services. Art was denied a formal data request for other mateials. I recently began writing up a sorry history of the many African Americans who were removed from our administration with Kevin Rupp’s assistance. And this “professional” had the nerve to say that Art Johnston said racist things. He belongs in the White House with Steven Bannon. Am I making myself clear?
I’ll give it a rest for now and fix old blog posts. I’m too worked up to go to sleep and I need to sleep on the subject of Kevin Rupp. Loren Martell will likely cover this in the next Duluth Reader but not till the second Friday in March – ten days from now.