I’ve been skipping around town to put up signs. This sunny weather has been incredible but I’ve only put in a couple hours a day.
Today was no exception but it was disturbing. I headed out to Duluth’s westernmost neighborhood Fondulac from which I planned to work my way back east.
Every household had a story. One fellow told me that Kerry Leider was a school chum and that a few years back he’d met him at a reunion and asked him what the heck the Red Plan was about. Kerry didn’t want to talk about it. No surprise to me. Kerry is the fellow who represented the District in all the dealings with construction and Johnson Controls. If you put his name in this blog’s search engine you will discover my conflicted thoughts about his service to the Red Plan.
At another home I found an Edison parent and a happy one. I’d expected to meet Wrenshall families because long before I joined the School Board in 1996 some kids peeled away from Stowe to attend the Wrenshal Schools and their friends followed them. Its continued unabated like that for years. Only now there are more schools to attend.
As I worked my way to Gary I got more examples of disatisfaction with ISD 709. One young mother told me her first grade daughter had a class of 33 kids. When I was on the School Board we enforced an average of something like 22 or 23 kids to each first grade class. I don’t recall the exact number but that was distressing.
When I turned around at another house I saw a school bus drop of a high school kid clad in a Proctor Rails green jersey. I explained what I was doing and told him I sure hoped I’d be able to have more Gary kids choose to attend our schools. He told me laconically he only went to Proctor because all his friends did too.
Then at a small business the owner told me how upsetting it was that we had gone ahead with the Red Plan and that the District didn’t have its priorities straight. His friend told me that he had children at Stowe Elementary in one of the higher grades. His daughter had had her socks stolen by bullies and burned. The teacher apologized and told him there were just too many children in her class to keep watch over and there was nothing she could do about it.
I came close to batting a thousand on my requests to put up signs but it was slow going. Folks had a lot to tell me and I felt obligated to hear them out.
From the start I’ve told everyone I meet that this is a critical election and that it is critical to pass the levies before we are stuck paying off half a billion dollars worth of bonds for failed schools over the next twenty years. I think I make a compelling case but I keep hearing things like I did today a couple of times to wit, that the district will just use any money we give them for something other than bringing class sizes down. I vehemently disagree but I don’t think people believe me. I have yet to find Supt. Gronseth’s 74 percent of the population that is OK with the Red Plan.
I had a cup of coffee today with another School Board candidate, not Art Johnston. I got the impression that this candidate has gotten an earful during door to door stops.