As we speed toward the August 10th Primary I keep mental note of good days that tend to advantage me. I count the day I got 10.5% of the vote for DFL endorsement as one. The days that Mike Jaros’ endorsements made the papers as another and today looks good too as even the Tribune which will almost certainly follow the DFL’s endorsement of Reinert admitted that the school district’s administration hasn’t been acting with anything approaching transparency.
For the very first time the Trib Editorial Board acknowledged, however timidly, that the School Administration has been high handed. I told one astonished emailer that everyone has a breaking point and it sure as heck took the Trib a long time to find it and flex their atrophied skepticism muscle.
I had very little hope when I read the Our view headline: “Red Plan shifts can’t come as any surprise.” What I imagined was that they would point out the natural alterations one would expect from such a large project. Thankfully they dwelt on the unwillingness of the District Administration to share information in any sort of a reasonable way with the actual elected officials who give them the authority to proceed. In years past Trib reporters demanded timely information from the District and I don’t mean six months later. When I was on the Board two trib Ed reporters took turns sitting in the Superintendent’s office for 24 hours straight until the Superintendent handed over public docs a few weeks after they got wind of them. Maybe that’s what our minority school board members should do so they don’t have to wait half a year.
The index fingered Chairman told the Board at last night’s meeting that he didn’t want to see all the Administrations Red Plan documents which is par for the majority’s course but irrelevent to the three minority board members who do. Instead Tim Grover is reinforcing the District’s wall of secrecy because ignorance is his preference and the minority must be satisfied to share it with him.
Today also had the third defense of Tm’s fingerer in the letter to editor section. Maybe the Trib is finally taking Red Plan critics to heart.
The same editorial page had a damning critique of the Wheeler Site by Art Johnston, dismissed in the editorial as “seemingly never-ending opposition.”
Its easy to nitpick the editorial. It says that JCI will have to pay for cost overruns which won’t happen because the District keeps adding more goodies to the Red Plan every time they save money and its obvious that the District, not JCI will be stuck with any cost overruns.
Just what is happening is hardly transparent based on the odd information presented in today’s Forth Red Plan item their story about last night’s school board meeting concerning the cost of construction. It begins hopefully with a headline about school taxes declining (due to nothing the District has done) but then proceeds to report the following:
1…Because of a “competitive bid climate” in the construction industry, several projects were bid for lower amounts than estimated. About $25 million in the past three years has been put back into the plan, for additions or needs that have arisen through public input or necessity ” (What input???????? Not the School Boards. What “necessities?” Why weren’t they in the original Red Plan?)
2. The district is $803,000 over budget (they’ve saved $25 million but are $803,00 over budget????????????)
3. The board voted 5-2 to approve a Red Plan amendment that allows the district to move money around for several project changes totaling $11.6 million (Which, as the Editorial acknowledges, the School Board is largely clueless and content in their ignorance about)
So I’ll take today’s Trib as another advance in my election hopes for August 10th because as much as the Trib will root for the all but incumbent Roger Reinert, they are having to give credence to my three-year fight for an honest appraisal of the Red Plan. I have confidence that voters will remember that for the next 50 days.
And don’t forget that Roger was endorsed by Yvonne Prettner Solon whose running mate Mark Dayton contradicted the empty claims both Roger and Yvonne made when they told us that the School Board has the right to levy for building bonds without referendums. Its little things like make my day.