An August 2004 editorial in the Faribault, Minn., Daily News, stated: "In the Faribault Forward Survey, voters indicated they most likely would not pass a referendum while (Keith Dixon) is still the superintendent; therefore, should the board members decide to keep him, they know they'd likely lose the vote. ... Survey results showed the public also has a lack of confidence in the board which needs to be repaired."
As in Faribault, Duluth has its best chance of passing a levy increase with Dixon's departure.
A July 23, 2010, News Tribune editorial reported Duluth's Red Plan was $21 million in the black and had an $11 million contingency fund (Our View: "Duluth School Board has mighty nice problem"). The editorial included a quote from Dixon: "The message is you get great facilities and you're in a great financial position."
Well, let's see. A $15 million, last-minute money grab due in part to cost overruns. A $5.8 million deficit, resulting in dozens more laid-off teachers. And a reserve fund that was more than $30 million when Dixon came to town is now drained to at least $14 million and perhaps to as low as $10 million. That means Dixon blew through as much as $20 million of our savings.
And he left a mess for the person taking over -- a huge structural deficient tied to plummeting enrollment numbers. The year before Dixon came to Duluth the district had a net loss of 194 students to open enrollment. Last year that annual net loss was 596 students. That's a 207 percent increase in six years.
Spending millions without our consent and driving kids away: That'll be Dixon's legacy. Our erstwhile superintendent always reminded me of one of those exotic, tropical fishes that inject ink into the water; by the time the ink disappears, the fish is long gone.