The Red Plan took over my life when the school board that took over upon my retirement decided to impose a $257 million building project on the people of Duluth without holding a referendum. I fought for a referendum doggedly for four years, took the District and Johnson Controls to court then retired exhausted from the fight. Today I am back on the school board whose supporters attempted to remove an ally of mine and censured the both of us for good measure after wasting $200,000 more tax payer dollars to remove him (unsuccessfully) in retribution for their failure to overturn his election by fiat. BTW the Red Plan always had a much higher price tag. You have to include interest. By they time the old board added another $60 million in purchases the cost to taxpayers was almost half a billion dollars on a community of 90,000 people. That was just the taxes.
The real cost was to the classroom. When I was first elected to the Duluth School Board in 1995 we poured about $20 million of a $22 million local property tax levy into our general fund (available for classrooms). Today (2016) We levy about $32 million. The Red Plan building bond repayments are about $24 million a year. Subtract $24 million from $32 million and that leaves about $8 million for the General Fund. We “saved” money by laying off teachers and cramming more kids in the remaining teacher’s classrooms.
When I was still fighting this travesty instead of repairing the damage (after getting reelected to the School Board in 2013) I published this chaotic web page detailing the misdeeds of the school board: www.letduluthvote.com