Jumping the gun on Charters and other dilemmas

As my previous post said I am eager to begin writing about Charters. Except that I have a few other things on my plate at the moment. The story about drug testing prompted me to begin writing an extensive reflection and that subject but it too has been overtaken by new headlines in today’s Trib. BTW the headline in the paper version is more bleak than the online version. Its Overcrowding looms for 5 Duluth schools. Online its:

Duluth Children may play musical schools

The story seems to be the same story at either location.

Of course, an old ally from my Let Duluth Vote days sent me a short email to wit:

The start from scratch, build as if no schools existed approach from JCI didn’t even last a couple of years.
They boasted they were building schools for the future.
We would “live” in these for years to come and there would be savings to boot.
And now there is a lack of classroom space?
Are the schools still under warranty? Can the district recoup from this obvious failure to accurately predict even 2 years out what ISD 709 needed?

Grant had to be demolished because there was excess classroom space. Well as one astute observer commented, just close the 3rd floor and use the rest. But that doesn’t add the big bucks to JCI coffers.

Duluth taxpayers should be mad. They were had.

To which I responded:


I called up Art [Johnston] after I saw the map at one of the Think KIds meetings and could hardly contain my astonishment. Its going to be very hard for me not to spew caustic commentary across my blog today. What long term planning?

I’ll make some lame ironical comment and heave a heavy sigh and go on trying to be a nice guy because road rage won’t fix anything. But if Keith Dixon were to walk in front of my car today I think I’d instinctively speed up.


Here’s the map two years into my Board tenure dealing with the fine planning of the recently completed half billion Long Range Facilities Plan: (Sigh! I can’t see anything on the link from the District webpage I just put up. Here’s a jpg I made from the handout for the 2016 School year: The orange color represents overcrowded elementary schools. Green is just right and blue means room for more kids.

I was at my third Think Kids meeting last night and our facilitator mentioned that it was anticipated that about a thousand folks would attend the meetings. We had about 25 at the three meetings I attended and perhaps half that at the Denfeld meeting I saw on the news. That would put attendance at about 200. Perhaps these news stories will boost attendance a bit. This ISD 709 page gives the times and places of the remaining meetings.

At the Congdon School meeting last night I jotted down some unlikely and unpalatable “solutions” including transfering fifth graders to the Middle Schools (which the District did after the last building boom sending my son to a newly built fifth grade Woodland Middle School Classroom. Except for his incompetently taught band class it was one of the best years of his schooling. One more solution would be to add relocatable rooms to our newly built schools. ha ha- wish I were kidding.

Some folks thought our new schools would attract back Edison Children. Apparently the newly designed schools were not built with the necessary capacity to accomplish this. My mind has been racing for six months now thinking of ways to plug holes in dikes even as new ones appear. I’m not discouraged or even daunted but I still don’t see any corners ahead for me to turn things around.

On a more humorous note: After I was seated in January I was handed a list of committees for me to request appointment to by our new Chairman, Mike Miernicki. I just wrote a note telling him to put me on any committee that one one else seemed interested in. He put me on the “Transfer Committee.” I didn’t know what it did. Now I do.

At the Myers-Wilkens Think Kids meeting the Superintendent explained that he had turned down most of the parental requests to transfer children out of the school closest to their home to a preferred one further away. He smiled as he explained that the Transfer Committee had overturned 90 percent of his “NO TRANSFER” decisions. He patted me on the back and told folks I was now on that Committee. This should be fun.

Oh, and I’ll get around to writing about Charters and Drug Testing too and so much more. Patience Please.

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