by Lake County News-Chronicle
June 17, 2010 at 1:54 am in Lake County News-Chronicle
Education Commissioner Alice Seagren rejected a proposal by Lake Superior School District last week for approval to implement a four-day week.Continue Reading
16 Comments »
I hope Mr. Broin’s plans to get things done at the county level are more thoughtful than threatening lawsuits and using State-level politicians to attack our own other local elected entities / government bodies. Locals like to at least pretend to play nice.
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The “real” locals of Two Harbors all say, “Who is this Broin guy, I’ve never heard of him.”
Like or Dislike: 14 9
Mr. Broin states, there was a clear mandate by the voters to “to operate the school district within the means of its current funding resources, and to implicitly do so in a manner consistent with maintaining a five-day school week.” While the first part is true, the second part, “and to implicitly do so in a manner consistent with maintaining a five-day school week”, is blatantly false. The school board made clear, pre-levy vote, that 4 day weeks would be the outcome of a failed levy vote. By rejecting the levy, the voters clearly chose to accept the 4 day school week. True, pain will be felt by all affected, with the exception of Mr. Broin.
Like or Dislike: 11 11
You people who are mad about the State making the right decisions concerning the 4 day week, are the same ones ALWAYS dribbling Liberal thout all over everything! When it comes to State Aid, you line up for the Bread; when it comes to an issue which the School Board was CLEARLY in the wrong, and the State denies them, well, you line up to attack them. Just WHERE do you stand? You don’t know! That is why we Conservatives call Liberalism a Mental Illness. I, myself donot know Mr. Broin, but apparently he did his Homework instead of drinking the Kool-Aid of Dysfunctional thinking(Liberalism)! As for him not being a “Local”; you are wrong AGAIN–He has to reside here in order to run for Commisioner! If I lived in his District, I’d vote for him, even though I’ve NEVER met him. He certainly has Common-Sence and Tenacity. Something NO Democrat here has!!
Like or Dislike: 10 18
(1) With regard to John McCarthy’s comments: I don’t believe anyone can ever point to my having threatened a lawsuit on anything to do with the school issues. (2) Again, with regard to Mr. McCarthy’s statement: ” Locals like to at least pretend to play nice.” Most of the locals who have called to support my efforts didn’t have to pretend anything. They were all nice, except one guy on my voice mail, and they all seemed genuinely thoughtfully concerned about understanding what the facts really are, not what some other folks apparently wanted to pretend those facts were. I give people in this community a lot of credit for having enough understanding to have voted intelligently on all three issues presented in the referendum.
Like or Dislike: 9 13
With regard to Mr. Ronning’s comments: “The school board made clear, pre-levy vote, that 4 day weeks would be the outcome of a failed levy vote.” Clearly, and as I pointed out for months, the decision to go to a four-day week was never the school board’s sole decision. The law is clear that the decision is the Commissioner of Education’s perogative, based upon very specific requirements and process being followed. The school board cannot, and is not allowed under the law, to unilaterally make any decision about moving a school district to a four-day week. Clear evidence must exist that all affected stakeholders have been included in an all inclusive COMMUNITY discussion and mutual decision to go to a four-day week. So, the only thing “blatantly false” ( in Mr. Ronning’s terms) is his assertion the school board had any right at all to tell folks if the referendum were defeated, a four-day week would, with certainty, be implemented. So, how could the voters accept something by their referendum vote the school board wasn’t able to do in the first place? Besides, if the school district really wanted to simplify their case, and get straight to the truth about public feelings, they easily could have put the following question on the ballot: “If any or all of the previous funding questions are rejected in this referendum, would you support the school district making a proposal to the Minnesota Department of Education for possible approval of a four-day school week?” Simple answer: “yes” or “no”. I believe, by now, it is very clear to anyone involved in this process why the question was not on the ballot: It would have been more soundly defeated than the three funding proposals. As far as Mr. Ronning’s statement,”True, pain will be felt by all affected, with the exception of Mr. Broin,” I have no idea what he is trying to say and who the “all” are. The responses I have heard say most people are in favor of forcing an alternative approach to managing the school district’s finances, and nearly everyone I have spoken with was not in favor of a four-day week. If Mr. Ronning has evidence to the contrary, I’d sure be interested in seeing it.
Like or Dislike: 9 14
One additional comment for both Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Ronning: I didn’t decide to run for County Commissioner on purely my own volition. I have been urged by dozens of folks to throw my hat in the ring, regardless of the fact I have little name recognition in the area. These people apparently feel there is good reason to want my presence on the county board, rather than simply being someone monitoring the board’s actions. Whether my bid is successful or not, the good people of the county can count on stepped up scrutiny of county government actions from me. These are economic times which demand nothing less than clear financial disclosure, justification and accountability for every project undertaken by our political leaders. The community deserves nothing less, and it should get that kind of focus from every commissioner.
Todd Ronning says The “real” locals of Two Harbors all say, “Who is this Broin guy, I’ve never heard of him.” Todd— If they are really saying this, they must have heard of him now! I’ve certainly been spreading the word to support this guy, and so have a lot of my friends! Maybe you should get to know him better?
John and Todd—maybe you guys should go read the school information and links on the web site Mr. Broin set up? You might learn something. I am anxiously awaiting his web site for his run at commissioner!
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I couldn’t access the opinion archives, but Mr. Broin clearly stated his intention to use legal channels to circumvent the school boards decision. If someone has access and can go through the last few months of comments, please find it and post it. It was black and white.
Like or Dislike: 6 13
I’ll agree with Broin, the school board might have misinterpreted their authority in the 4 day matter or their requirements to implement it, but I support it as the best option from this point. The 4 day option cuts costs that don’t contribute to education, i.e. transportation and custodial. I too empathize with the staff that will lose employment (I voted yes 3 times), but to quote a previous administrator, “The school district does not exist to provide employment for residents, it exists to provide education for students.” Broin needs to understand that when rich guy comes into the neighborhood, and says I will fight your taxes with my money, time and resources, there is no shortage of folks who will jump on that bandwagon. It has nothing to do with the popularity or righteousness of your agenda. You attract the like minded, and repel to others.
Its interesting to note how concerned some of Mr. Broin’s detractors are about him, considering supposedly no one knows who he is, cares about what he says, and feels he hasn’t contributed anything to the community. Oh, and he’s an outsider to boot! Plus, “nearly 70% of the registered voters” cast their votes the same way as he apparently did. Then, he’s called “rich guy”? He posted the costs of fighting the referendum funding questions on the http://www.vote381.com web site. I found it interesting how little it cost him to provide a real education for the community, as opposed to the lack of supporting facts from the education “professionals” wanting ever more money to do their job. Then, how come this guy understood the 4-day week procedures, and the school board and “CEO” of the school didn’t get it? Somethings amiss, here, and I also don’t get how his detractors can imply he was so responsible for the referendum’s defeat…one man? I would think the rest of the voters deserve some credit, and it seems he’s the only person publicly supporting that assertion, too. Come on Todd and John, take a realistic look here. I guess I just can’t see the message you took away from the referendum vote; maybe you could elaborate?
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The message I took away from the vote was….most people will vote no to additional taxes if given the opportunity. The outcome was no surprise and I don’t give the credit to Broin. The only question I had pre-vote was would it be defeated by a 2 to 1 margin or 3 to 1. I differ with Broins assertion that 70% of the voters voted no and additionally voted yes to maintain the 5 day school week. That was not a part of the ballot question. It may or may not be true. There is no way to guess that, based upon the votes cast.
Like or Dislike: 9 7
Hello, Todd…The message I took away from the vote was this: a community has a right to expect reasonable levels of quality, value and service, delivered in clean, well-maintained, appropriate and safe surroundings, from its educational system. The community will not support the recommendations of administrative management or a school board it feels lacks credibility when asking for financial help to deliver on those expectations. And, you are 100% correct when you quote the person who said,” “The school district does not exist to provide employment for residents, it exists to provide education for students.” The facilities in which that education is delivered happen to include a new $25 million school in Two Harbors (and I’m not debating the necessity of that expensive a school–its done and over with) and other extensively renovated schools in Silver Bay and Two Harbors. You don’t cut janitorial and other maintenance on those publicly owned assets without making sure that decision is a last resort, and the public agrees. Without those facilities being in good shape, you can’t have an atmosphere conducive to student learning, you can’t retain students whose families are free to enroll elsewhere, and you can’t attract families from outside the district. Equally important is the quality of the educational programs the school district offers, and this quality depends upon the teaching staff and the system’s administrative support staff. But quality has never been shown to depend entirely upon an open-ended check book. That’s appropriately where value enters the picture, and the community attempts to ascertain whether the money it’s spending is clearly delivering a level of comfort that the value of its investment is obvious. How is all this brought together? Service levels to students, families and community members that include going the extra mile in being proactive toward providing whatever is necessary to deliver open, blunt, accurate and well-thought-out substantiation of the performance, operating and financial position of the schools. Now, you put this all together in an ongoing, respectful, fact-based, above-board and straightforward dialogue with the community and you’ll have credibility. Credibility gets truly needed referendums, with the right priorities associated with them, passed. The lack of credibility, and fair-mindedness about shared sacrice during tough times, gets even necessary needs denied. The community will not support any organization they feel lacks credibility, and that is where the real problem with our school system sits today. Right or wrong–that’s where it sits. Now, I gave a talk to over 150 or so folks at the Carlton School Board meeting on these topics, and suggested ways to gain the community’s support for their referendum proposals. Those of you who have watched the news reports on Carlton’s struggles know how divisive and contentious their first few meetings on the school’s operating debt position were. I suggested to that audience they should appreciate how fortunate they were to have a board and a new superintendent who were brutally honest, factually on the mark, and willing to involve the community in the details of their financial challenges. The school district was willing to put forth some tough decision-making choices with regard to cost saving options, including truly shared sacrifices across the entire spectrum of affected parties. I put forth some thoughts on how to make their obviously necessary and factually supportable referendum stand a chance of passing. When I was through, my talk was met with an ovation from the entire audience, including a good number of the teaching staff. It even turned out a number of the school board members had the http://www.vote381.com web site saved as favorites on their PDAs. I suggested the path to success for them was to come together, set the proper priorities, make the shared sacrifices, communicate honestly and convince the community at large any investment it made would really yield results. My message: read the http://www.vote381.com web site and answer the questions and concerns there in a way that would lend positive support to their initiatives and not leave openings for criticism, build credibility and not suspicion, and face up honestly, right now, to the tough choices the school needed to address without deferring any of those issues until later. After the meeting, it was nice to have strangers in real trouble go out of their way to thank me for providing a different perspective on their problem. I spend a lot of time addressing my critics in District 0381, because you they all important and integral parts of this community whose opinions are important to me. I would never show disrespect for, or take “cheap shots” at any of those critics, and I think I have stood behind that approach in all my dialogues with you and others. I will continue that approach, and have continuously expressed my willingness to work with the school district to help resolve its issues within its financial means, and without a four-day week. I have yet to find many who feel “a four-day week is good for the students”, quite to the contrary of many claims. In support of your previous quote, the general feeling is a four-day week , when a school is under stress, is great for maintaining programs and teacher employment, regardless of merit, but terrible for the education of kids. So, let’s focus on your quote, and preserve the best of what needs to be preserved, and equitably share the sacrifice of what might need restructuring, elimination or change…all the while not losing focus on what is really necessary to retain quality and a reasonable level of excellence for our kids’ education. And, if I should have the good fortune of becoming a county commissioner, in spite of all the odds against me, I’d follow the same philosophy with regard to maintaining the integrity of the county’s operations, determining appropriate financial and business priorities in this tough economy, and improving the County’s levels of service to all our citizens.
Like or Dislike: 6 11
Mr. Broin, thank you for your last reply to Todd. You truly must spend a lot of your time trying to explain these issues in terms easy to understand. Your last post was a great way to view the school issues, and I believe you have hit the nail on the head. A friend who lives in Carlton was there when you gave your talk, and he said he was very impressed, as were most of the people who were present. His said his son’s teacher actually mentioned your talk in a class discussion on the school problems, as the most common sense she had heard. I see a few thumbs down indications on your posts, but you can take it from me there are MANY more people who are grateful for all the work you are doing. Most people don’t hang around on these blogs like a us, but that doesn’t mean they don’t understand what is going on. I doubt you’ll see anyone post a named reply to your last post, since I can’t believe anyone in their right mind wouldn’t really agree with at least the principle everything you said. Lots of people read but don’t comment, so to see a name criticising that last post would put that person in a pretty unflattering position. So, keep up the good work and don’t get discouraged, please!
Like or Dislike: 6 9
If you’re over 18 you’ve probably learned that business executives and politicians are good at spinning populist messages to get employees and voters on board with their wishes. Its a time-tested, successful pragmatic approach. Sometimes a touch of skepticism is better than asking for a bigger glassful.
Like or Dislike: 4 4
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