My award for public service

Today I received a friendly letter from the Minnesota School Board Association. It informed me that I had attained the “President’s Award” for 2017-2018. This was for completing over 300 hours of attendance at MSBA sponsored meetings. I am to be presented with a certificate for my many hours of service as a school board member at January’s Leadership Conference luncheon. I don’t plan to attend having lost the recent election.

My ardor to continue writing about the Duluth Schools is waning rapidly and it remains to be seen if I will continue with the “Our Little Thing” series. That was the question asked of me by an acquaintance who texted me to point out I’d left Number 2 blank. I wrote back this explanation:


I do that sort of thing to sustain interest and force myself to fulfill it. Its a bit of a burden especially when I feel like putting something else in like my review of the John Wayne movie.”

I’m wavering on finishing the second planned installment let alone the three or four more I contemplated. However, the recent flurry of editorials by the Duluth News Tribune tempt me to continue them. Those editorials mimic me and my terrible penchant (according to the Trib editors) of emphasizing the negative. I mention this because the editors are presenting near apocalyptic prophecies about what could happen if our new City Council enacts new sick time requirements for local employers. Maybe we need new more positive editors.

Of course, finding a way to wriggle out of the finances that the Red Plan debt will impose on the District may take a quarter century of paying off bonds to accomplish. That would be two 12-year 1st to 12th grade lifetimes one after the other. But as in year’s past the Trib endorsed positivists over old farts like me. This is my third election coming in behind younger, prettier challengers in the Trib endorsments.

In 2007 when I had a chance to become part of a majority school board that would have ratcheted back the Red Plan and/or put it up for a referendum the Trib endorsed a “fresh new face,” Judy Seliga-Punyko, who was gung ho for the Red Plan and who gladly helped inflate its cost by an additional 60 million.

In 2013 I did get a grudging endorsement from the Trib which nonetheless put its most vigorous endorsement behind Annie Harala who helped recruit the candidates that have put a six week expiration date on my own service. I wish them well, although, I’ve yet to see much evidence that they will be the sort of Board members who will work to earn that President’s Award which I’ll no doubt be receiving by mail. It will come with a pin too!

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