Who’s the Bossart?

Kerry Leider is bursting at the seams with pride about his new Red Plan schools in this WDIO report on the soon to be open edifices. I’ve heard through the grapevine that our new schools will be a hit. I hope so even though it will give pleasure to folks who took great liberties with the public to get them built. I’m sure Kerry has held his breath for a long time hoping that the schools would absolve him from any little duplicities he engaged in to get them open.

East High is the one school I’ve heaped the most abuse on calling it Laxative High in one memorable post. We are just a week away from finding out if the parking will prove to be the nightmare that many have predicted. I can’t say I’m eager to eat crow but I would gladly wolf down feathers, claws and all if it ensured we had a really great high school out East. Of course, for $40 or 50 million it would be a crime if the new school was anything less than a prize.

I’d like to think that if it is my public scorn was a whip that drove the architects and builders on to prove me wrong. Certainly they were all aware of the anger their project evoked in the community. Perhaps we will have a scene like in the Music Man where the once angry parents who felt they had been cheated become converts to the fly-by-night salesman who told them his “think system” would give them a school marching band. “That tuba’s my Barney!”

I’ve beaten up Mr. Leider on numerous occasions but the real object of my displeasure has escaped town. Kerry lost my respect for saying all JCI would get for its troubles was $4.5 million but I’ve always believed he lied under duress. Even my brother, a very competent salesman in his own right, who visited town recently suggested that Johnson Controls probably was getting in the neighborhood of $45 million and guessed a 15% commission that turned out to be right on the money when we took JCI to court.

JCI has a lot of experience is sales and HVAC but not so much in project management. If they had there would have been no need for them to bring in Bossart Co. which may be the real project managers. If so, then JCI is the project manager of a project manager and one more layer of contracting bureaucracy to inflate the final cost.

The Duluth Schools, no matter how well built, will not lure students back with gorgeous classes if the student to teacher ratio is 36 to 1. Keep your fingers crossed that my predictions will all prove to be unfounded.

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