Prediction – The Red Plan is doomed

Oh, some of it will be built. We will put new HVAC on our two newest schools this summer – sixteen year old Stowe and Lakewood elementaries. What a colossal waste of money on perfectly good 16 years old HVAC systems! (JCI has already approved buying JCI equipment for part of the work) Just how much more of the Red Plan will be built is anyone’s guess.

There are three possible methods of litigating the plan to a standstill. One is the enviroment. A second involves the incestuous relationship between the District and Johnson Controls. The third is the abandoment of our integration program contrary to the expectations of state law.

These legal actions may only stall the Red Plan but even if they fail to do that there will be a new school board elected in 2009. Four members of the Board could be replaced and almost certainly will be. Not only will the 60% of Duluth that is outraged by the Red Plan vote to replace them but the 20% that supports the Red Plan blindly will lose faith when the failed operational levy this fall results in draconian cuts to the school program. The new school board will likely not levy the additional $90 million in 2011 that Board Chair Nancy Nilson has been oblivious to.

Since only about half of the money needed for the Red Plan has been levied so far and won’t be levied until 2011 the new school board is almost certain not to approve the rest which will grind the Red Plan to a halt midway through its construction. That will be a great disaster for the entire city. The only way to avoid it at this point is to kill the Red Plan before it gets any further. The City Council (which hasn’t got the School Board’s chutzpa to raise taxes to fix up deplorable infrastructure) could throw some monkey wrenches at the Red Plan. Yes, half the money has already been approved by the School Board but it could, instead, be used for a more sensible compromise plan.

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