The present and the past of ISD 709

Loren Martell describes last week’s Business Committee meeting which led to this week’s School Board meeting. Its much easier to read his synopsis than watch the video of the meeting, which in any event, was rendered mootish by our actual meetings discussion and decisions.

Loren notes some evolving by Board members and does a pretty good job explaining the issues. He once again rails against the DFL cabal which he argues controls the Board and which I may join should the DFL endorse me at its June 3rd convention. My only promise to the DFL, should I be asked to make one, will be to remain true to what I believe is best for the ISD 709 schools.

I also enjoyed Loren’s summary of how our District got into its current fix. I know we are constantly asked not to look back but I’m a follower of Santayana. “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”:

How in the world did our school board screw up so badly?

I can actually answer that question: a bad process. The public was denied a vote and the microphone was turned off in the boardroom. Agenda meetings were held in secret. Board members who wouldn’t cooperate with the swimming pool stampede were censured and ganged up on.

Furthermore, the power players controlling the Board gullibly believed all the carnival barking from an “expert” corporate hustler. They actually swallowed all the hyperbolic bunk about a long-range facilities plan—“already half paid for!”—that would “lay out what’s occurring in the district for years into the future. (A plan) that will right-size the district’s square footage to what is needed for planned enrollment (and) help those who maintain facilities use district resources wisely.”

Further still, they hired someone who’d gotten a 2% favorable leadership rating from the public in his previous job, someone who’d received a 66% vote of no-confidence from the teachers’ union, someone the Board of Education of another bitterly divided town was considering paying off, just to get rid of. They gave this serial consolidator carte blanche power to storm in here, run up a bill of half a billion dollars based on one mediocre demographics study, and storm out again.