Budgeteer Letters to the Editor - Oct. 25, 2009What's on our readers' minds this week? The election, for one.
Stop the rubber stamping, vote for new school board
When the School Board decided to skip a referendum on the Red Plan, they declared war on voters. Now, facing re-election, all they can do is warn us that the sky will fall if we decide to pursue any alternatives. They make the remarkable claim that spending $100 million less will raise our taxes.
And what’s so terrible about a Red Plan alternative? Apparently it’s school repair. But look at the example of Homecroft School. It was repaired and Red Planners have been gushing over the transformation. Despite the cry of alarm it appears that repair can work miracles too — for a lot less money.
Returning the incumbents who denied us the right to vote will simply give Johnson Controls Inc. two more years with no oversight. Why bother having a school board at all if it simply surrenders its decision-making power to the superintendent?
Four new school board members would put an end to the rubber stamping. Questions will be asked, voters will be honored and taxpayers will be protected. If this is what you want in a school board, vote for Maureen Booth, Tom Kasper, Marcia Stromgren and Art Johnston. Cut this list out and tuck it in your wallet or purse. Take it out again on Nov. 3.
Continue to move Duluth forward, vote for incumbents
For nearly two years, hundreds of Duluthians have been part of a grassroots effort called MoveForwardDuluth. We formed to support the district’s long-range facilities plan (LRFP) and to help end the divisive debate in our community that arose after the June 2007 Board vote.
With children in four neighborhoods already enjoying the benefits of modern educational opportunities in their completed schools, and, with work well under way on four other schools, many Duluthians are experiencing first-hand the advantages of having moved forward.
But, unfortunately, not everyone has. Some are still supporting Plan B, which was developed by Let Duluth Vote without any real community involvement. When the plan was unveiled to the school board, this alternative plan was found to cost taxpayers more while doing far less.
Interesting that Art Johnston and Marcia Stromgren — both Plan B supporters running for school board — still think this is a better plan. Candidate Tom Kasper wants to keep the Nettleton and Morgan Park schools open, but he has not offered a plan for how to finance this. Isn’t it reasonable to expect a candidate to do his homework before the election so that the public understands exactly what he stands for?
The LRFP is the right plan. It addresses excess space, reduced enrollment, code violations, security considerations and inadequate educational facilities. It gives our community modernized buildings that will enhance student learning. And it does so for less to taxpayers than any of the plans or ideas the opponents have.
On Nov. 3 continue to move Duluth forward by re-electing Ann Wasson, Laura Condon, Mary Cameron and Nancy Nilsen to the School Board.
They have demonstrated that they listen to what the community wants and are willing to make the tough decisions to assure a fiscally sound and thriving district.
Oust the Red Plan supporters
In less than two weeks, Duluth voters will get their only chance to cast what amounts to a vote on the Red Plan when four candidates who brought it about will finally face the voters.
To remind voters how little say they have, the Board authorized more spending on Oct. 20 to beat voters to the election. The theory seems to be that spending money like drunken sailors will solve every problem of the past.
It has not occurred to them that spending $57 million (that may only be repaid from general funds) they do not have might simply lead to new problems for future school boards.
One of the expenses they OK’d was $180,000 to lobby the legislature not to correct the laws that they relied on to avoid voters two years ago.
The current School Board has not supported me when I’ve requested the public data I need (and they need) to make sound decisions from the administration.
Member Cameron even exclaimed in exasperation last year that because she was tired of my questions she would like to have me removed from the Board.
The result has been a continued parade of ill-informed decisions limiting future opportunities for students’ education.
Blind faith is no way to plan for our children’s future.
Voters need to go to the polls with their eyes wide open and elect Tom Kasper, Maureen Booth, Art Johnston and Marcia Stromgren. I’ve worked with them. I know they will take public education for all Duluth’s students to new levels of excellence and positive outcomes.