In a big set back the State postponed making a ruling on the Red Plan. Superintendent Dixon was quick to dismiss the idea that the postponement had anything to do with Let Duluth Vote. He looked uncharacteristicly grim when he said it however. Furthermore when asked if a new school board could undo the Red Plan if it was put into effect he conceeded that it could. However, Dixon said that would be something that has never happened before to such a big plan……..probably because there never was a situation remotely like the one he helped guide in Duluth.
We are thrilled. Furthermore, after our meeting with the State we have a much clearer idea what the weaknesses in the District’s proposal are.
I was confounded to learn that the only thing that the District submitted about the savings was what was on page 87. Upon closer inspection its apparent that some of the page is completely bogus. The most glaring item is the $400,000 is “savings” from terminating teachers called “specialists.” These are the positions that the JCI suits told Gary Glass were not teachers.
The history of these mostly elementary specialists is interesting. In 1997 when the District asked voters to renew the excess levy of 1993 it agreed to hire elementary music, art and phy ed specialists. For the next six years a majority of the School Board fought like crazy to maintain them even after the 2001 levy failed. Now after ten years they area being sacked.
The damn thing is this is not savings from the Red Plan or anything like new efficiencies. Its savings because of a change in programming. Saying that by cutting them the Red Plan is saving us money is like eliminating math and saying the decreased savings were a result of new efficiencies in the building.
One of the more annoying complaints being aired now in the Red Plans defense is that the school Board didn’t maintain the buildings therefore they must be torn down and built anew. What a crock! That was the complaint ini 1989 when another set of eager parents proposed a 55 million building program. By the time I got on the Board Mark Myles had begun a 2 million a year capital improvements program. No longer would the Capital fund be used as a slush fund to buy text books. Steve McNeill was hired and the buildings were carefully maintained. That program continued through my years on the Board and I think its been continued it at the same level to the present time. I’ll have to go check that.
At any rate our buiildings which are average almost half as young as my home are mostly in good shape as a result. Its a travesty to claim that they were neglected in recent years.