Nugget 4 – Singing the blues

I’ve commented briefly about the Spanish 5 classes. I’m sure that the Board will now be shamed into making sure Denfeld students get that class just like my daughter did twelve years ago. I’m just not sure what we will take away from our schools to fund it.

Meanwhile the Trib’s Jana Hollingsworth wrote a telling and terrible story about something I’ve wondered about since the Red Plan juggarnaut began in 2007. Along with the elimination of the Curriculum Department and languages we have gutted music and Jana explained the destruction with precision. According to the story we have half the music teachers we had when we began building the Red Plan in 2007. We had 31 then and 15 now.

Music was the glory of our Schools when I was on the Board. Now, not so much. Good luck replacing that when we are SOD out of luck.

I’m supposed to be infused with happy talk to put a good face on our future. Instead I’m feeling dirty from the vindication of my cruel claim during last Fall’s campaign that our western schools were suffering from gangrene. I’m starting to feel pissed off again. (Not the kind of feeling to have when you have a wedding a week away)

Our Finance guy has a “formula” that explains that worst case scenario. At the moment there are only true blue curious school board members who want that formula explained so we can take corrective actions to prevent the worst case from materializing. Here’s a tip. At the moment one of these two grouches has started to attract lots of sniping from the School Board majoritarians who are all addicted to happy talk. The targeted grouch is Art Johnston who pointed out recently that Johnson Controls got paid millions of dollars in change orders that the Duluth School Board never got a chance to vote on. So far, I’ve been held harmless so far even though I wrote a similar complaint to the still silent State Auditor Becky (I see nothing) Otto.

I’ve told our Board that we are a team but the more I see I think we are a team like the survivors on a lifeboat who will soon have to draw lots to figure out which of us will be put on the menu so that we all don’t die.

Here’s a cheerful tune for you. Buddy Can You Spare a Dime.

Are there more solutions? I started my first nugget with a couple. Here’s another. We could cut all our extracurriculars. When I began futilely running for the School Board in the 1990’s as we went into SOD that is what the school board decided to do. The City rose up and passed the hat saving the entire extracurricular program.

One of our student Board members has been lobbying to add Debate to our schools. I wish him well. When my wife Claudia and I joined the Superintendent and his wife Deanna at a recent fundraiser we compared notes and discovered that three of the four of us were on high school debate teams. We used to have them in Duluth. Will we have them again in a new era of Statutory Operating Debt?

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