I have scads of thoughts to spill out but I’ve decided that Lincolndemocrat’s 450 daily viewers of late pales before the tens of thousands of eyes that pass by lawnsigns on our streets.
I did write a 1200 word rough draft post about the visit of the Supreme Court but, I haven’t got time to proof read it. It may never be posted.
The Trib has endorsed two more school board candidates. Oh I have lots to say about that. Maybe tonight. I’ll summarize here:
David Kirby got the nod for the District two seat as he “shines.” It mentioned his ability to work with all sorts of people. Well, he hasn’t called me back to meet me over coffee. Meanwhile Charles Obige seems to shine too but just not as brightly. Charles gladly met me long before I had any intention of helping him. That’s better evidence of an open mind and heart.
The Trib endorsed Nora Sandstad. As Loren Martell told me she’s right out of Central Casting. But Loren’s column out-shown every other school board candidate’s and took me by surprise with its simple elegant accuracy.
During candidate forums, my opponent in the 3rd District School Board race sincerely has recited a long wish list for Independent School District 709. She says she will lower class sizes, encourage more physical education and art, restore the music program to what it once was, introduce more language classes, bring back seven periods to the high schools and more.
I don’t doubt Nora Sandstad’s sincerity. I want the same list she wants. A lot of people do. If it was as easy as just wishing for it, everything on the list already would have happened.
What I bring to the table is a creative mind, always rooted in pragmatism. I will wring every bit of good out of the real things I have to work with. For too long, we’ve been led by wishers and dreamers. The entire Red Plan was a wish list with no truth to all its glittery promises. If I had been on the board, the Red Plan contracts never would have been signed.
My warnings concerning the long-range facilities plan were valid, but I won’t flaunt all the evidence. I’ll just wonder why anyone would continue following the side that has been so clearly wrong.
I will confirm the problem that the dreamer, Nora Sandstad, faces. When I was on the Board in 1997 (I’d get more recent data but the 5-2 majority never wanted me rooting around the District’s old records) we levied $22 million in property taxes. $20 million went to the classroom. $2 million went to paying off old building bonds. Today we only put about $10 million of local property taxes into the classroom not the $20 million of 1997. At $90,000 per teacher, per year that’s a loss of 111 teachers. And some of you wonder why our classrooms are so crowded.
But the Red Plan brought our overall levy up each year from that $22 million to $33 million. Today $21 million, not $2 million goes to paying off building bond debt – Red Plan building bond debt. The school board of the recent past was too scared to raise an additional $10 million dollars to pay for their half billion dollar building project so they just borrowed half the cost from the classroom
Good luck Mrs. Sandstad recovering that money for the classroom.
I don’t know if the Duluth Reader put my letter to the editor in today’s Reader but I’ll leave it here for the realists to digest. It goes a long way to explain why, as the Tribune’s editors point out, Loren Martell has sometimes shown flashes of anger at school board meetings:
I don’t have to tell regular readers of the Duluth Reader that they have a ringside seat to the School Board when they catch Loren Martell’s reviews of every school board meeting. Now feel free to take what I am about to ask of you with a grain of salt. I have, after all, been censured by our School Board. That was for telling the public that our attorneys warned us how god awful expensive and ugly any attempt to remove Art Johnston would be. If there was anything they hated more than that advice it was me sharing it with the public.
So, here’s what I ask of you, Loren Martell’s faithful readers. Tell the readers of that other Duluth Paper, the Duluth News Tribune, what a blessing it would be to have the decent, fair minded, insightful and literate Loren Martell on our school board. Now I suppose you can take Loren with a grain of salt like the Tribune’s editors have. The Chairman of the School Board once had him handcuffed at the public’s podium when he shut the microphone off on Loren. I, however, consider that a mark of honor.
It’s not hard to email a letter to the Trib. Just Google “letters to the editor Duluth News Tribune” and send them your 200 words of support for the most knowledgeable candidate running this season. Or, sit back and watch as the folks who tried to remove Art Johnston, censured the two of us and put Loren in handcuffs do their best to perpetuate more of their kind on the Duluth School Board.
Nothing snide please! Be “civil” and tell the truth – Loren Martell would be a godsend for Duluth’s dysfunctional school board.