Meanwhile we are going to take Rockridge off the market…

… and spend $3 plus million to fix it for Woodland Hills which has just sold its white elephant Cobb Elementary to Many Rivers.

Do not get me wrong. I can’t blame Many Rivers. I can’t blame Woodland hills…….for our school board’s foolishness.

I’m pleased for Woodland Hills which our family has a long experience with. My wife Claudia Welty served on its Board of Directors for ten years finishing as the Chair of the Board. She served with Bill Westholm among others.

This is one of Minnesota’s preeminent schools for court adjudicated young people who have so many strikes against them that WH is often their last chance. I’ve teared up at the stories of its students at the annual Board of Directors dinners. ISD 709 provides the teachers for these students and they are paid for by whatever school district they came from. Its like open enrollment.

However, Woodland Hills’s upside is a downside for 709. Instead of selling Rockridge we are now going to spend millions to make an elementary school usable for high school aged children. We will pay more for transportation and will take over maintenance costs as well. Furthermore, the financial tables have been turned on us for rent/lease costs.

We haven’t decided whether to pay for Rockridge’s fix up from left over Red Plan monies or bonding or partly from our own general funds (classroom money). Until recently we were paying WH $150,000 annually to rent space in Cobb for our teachers to teach. Cobb’s growing decrepitude was about to force WH to double the rent to $300,000 annually. Maintenance costs were soaring.

So, if we were to bond for the Rockridge costs (to save classroom dollars) paying back the bonds will cost us over $400,000 annually. That’s a hundred grand more than if we had simply paid WH more to continue renting Cobb. Meanwhile we lose a sale……two sales actually. We lost the Nettleton sale and we lost the Rockridge sale.

Instead of attending the next MSBA School Boards Association Conference it might be cheaper for our school board to attend this one:

Sorry Rosie!