I owe Nora, Sally and Josh an apology – Here it is…

I don’t have it in me to watch Duluth School Board meetings so I relied on the story in the Duluth News Tribune to pontificate about the recent decision to keep $777,000 from the General Fund out of payments to Red Plan building bonds and keep it in the classroom:

Here is the pertinent part that I wrote in the Fulcrum post:

This [DNT] story explains how three school board members (who were playing Republicans) voted to turn their back on $700,000 annually for Duluth’s public school classrooms (7 teachers worth) to show off their fiscal conservatism. They didn’t want to raise taxes by a half million over the next fifteen years to put $700,000 a year into the classrooms.”

Because this was a DNT story and because the DNT’s coverage of the School Board is threadbare I didn’t want to mention the three school board members name in my blog piece. I left it to readers to find them in the Trib story I linked to. I would have been better off reading Loren Martell’s always longish reportage of this school board meeting. Martell makes clear that the cost to taxpayers is not a half million dollars but four point three million dollars.

I’ve also learned a couple other tidbits. The Administrators and the Finance experts, who are going to make a mint on the modest savings that their refinancing will produce, made it very hard to tell what the financial consequences of their refinancing was. It was Nora Sandstad and Sally Trnka who doggedly pulled this information out of the Board’s guests. Good for them. It is so typical of Superintendent Gronseth to withold any information that might damage his reputation. Check out this story in the Zenith News. Gronseth’s opacity cost the District to fork over $55,000 to Art Johnston to avoid a much worse fate in a court of law.

Perhaps it was because of the Superintendent’s sneakiness that he lost three votes to preserve that $700,000 per year for our classrooms. As I made clear in the Fulcrum post I understand how the Red Plan drained the classroom budget. I’d have been hard pressed not to accept the financing to let it go through even at a $4 plus million pricetag. BUT, it would have been easy me for to vote against it knowing I would lose the vote. Voting against is was a way to slap the Superintendent’s hand.

My post Red Plan mantra is: Punish the lunkheads who put the District behind the fiscal eight ball but not the children.

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