October 16, 2010 at 7:00 pm in INFORUM
District looks to offset $2M deficit next year
Moorhead school leaders hope they are on track to dodge the narrow defeat a school levy request suffered last November. Continue Reading
Tags: K12 education, Moorhead, School levy 34 Comments »
I went to the citizen’s meeting that they held. The school has no data to back things up and the data that they do have they skew it for their own purpose. For example the 1 Million for reduction in class sizes. I asked two key questions – One who decides that 30 kids/class is ideal? Why not 20, 25, 35, or 50? Who decided that this was the ideal class size? Their response. “This is the size we have always had historically?” Hmm. Begs the old question as to “just because you have always done it one way does not mean it is better or good.” They had no DATA that backed this magic number up of 30. In fact there are numerous studies that show class size has NOTHING to do with education quality. IF you really look at this you can lump in the other 3.7 for this as well because it states the following “Maintain existing programs and staffing levels.”. What that means is to keep the class sizes the same so they won’t get bigger. In addition I asked why they compare certain sets up data between Moorhead and Fargo but then the very next slide Fargo is not mentioned but the schools in the Twin cities are when it comes to salaries. Hmm. I will tell you why they don’t want to compare the school to Fargo’s salary. Because they are 10 – 15 K higher in Moorhead for salaries when you include the benefits. If they compare it to the twin Cities like they did then it makes the disparity not so great. If you want to compare numbers then compare apples to apples throughout.
Hot debate. What do you think? 23 18
Just so people know what the average salary in Moorhead is when you include benefits – These numbers were are from last year which I am sure have gone up since then. It was 67K/year. No wonder if you are a teacher you want to work in Moorhead because the other schools can not compete. Look at West Fargo’s district pay. https://www.west-fargo.k12.nd.us/departments/humanresources/intranet/professional/NegotiatedAgreement.pdf
You will see that even a teacher that has a Master’s degree + 30 credits would not start making 67K until they hit step 25. This position is highly unlikely because only about 1% of the teachers would fall in this category. Please wake up Moorhead and not believe the information that the school is trying to feed you. They are not telling the truth in many things.
Hot debate. What do you think? 18 18
Here are some comparisons if you want to look at apples to apples
Fargo School District
43.6% General Fund Revenue from Property Tax
Moorhead School District
3.8% General Fund Revenue from Property Tax
Fargo School District
75.1 % Salaries and Benefits
Moorhead School District
80.4% Salaries and Benefits
Beginning Teacher Salaries
Fargo 2010-2011 $36.245
Moorhead 2010 – 2011 $31.823
West Fargo 2010-2011 $34.061
MA + 14 years experience
Fargo 2010-2011 $56.905
Moorhead 2010 – 2011 $56.543
West Fargo 2010-2011 $53.243
All documents are on all the school district websites if you search enough to find them.
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You forgot to look at the real numbers – You have to include benefits in those salaries just like any place else and you will see the difference.
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And on top of that I don’t see the other schools having issues with getting their kids to past a standardized test where Moorhead has one school that can’t and another very close.
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Fargo and West Fargo has similar test scores and schools that are not making AYP. Just different tests and different times of the years the test scores come out.
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As a mother of 2 kids at Robert Asp and 1 at Horizon, these teachers are worth every penny they earn! Every teacher, principal, counselor I’ve worked with is top notch. They are doing the best with what they can. I will gladly vote YES!
To those of you who are whining about the 15-30 extra a month, do you realize how low property taxes in Moorhead are compared to Fargo, West Fargo? We have nothing to complain about.
And isn’t this really about the kids? These kiddos are our future. Isn’t it really about doing what’s best for the kids?
Hot debate. What do you think? 13 18
Those salaries suck! Putting up with a bunch of whiney, spoiled, misbehaving brats pays a pittance. And that is dealing with the parents. Then you have the kids. I wouldn’t touch one of those jobs for that lousy pay. Thirty grand to start! What does a Fargo garbage collector make as a starting salary. I bet more. And they get all the free food they can eat and all the girlie magazines they want. Didn’t I just see where the Fargo PW director pay goes to $110,000. How does that compare to Moorhead?
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It would be for the kids if they could give real data that this would help them. They have not proved the case. While everyone wants to scream about “Is it not for the kids” don’t know how a business works. A school is a business – to teach kids. How many businesses do you know will put 5.25 million extra per year without doing a benefit analysis on what they are investing in? NONE! Until the school investigates what will make the education better instead of throwing money into a bottomless pit that may or may not help don’t be knocking on my door for taxes.
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So maybe part of the referendum should be spent on investigating how to improve test scores. If Moorhead goes to a 4 day school week like Pelican Rapids, how many families are going to leave?? I would. And your property values will sink. As for running a business, I have run 2 successful businesses for 12 years, but when it comes to my kids, I will spend whatever it takes. I would hope other parents would as well.
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Property values do not sink because of education. That is the biggest lie there is. So in your 2 businesses would you make an ill advised investment of 5.25 million if you did not know the ROI both in monetary and non monetary forms? I think not if you are a successful business owner. I have no issue with spending some money to provide proof that the measures they are taking are the right ones. As far as spending every cent for a kids eduction that you have goes to saying something like this. Throwing good money after bad still turns out bad. And that is what is being done
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read if you think schools should be run like businesses….
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Rich – these articles totally miss the point. While I agree that you don’t do things like mass produce – putting 100 kids in a class room like colleges do, you should be able to use simple concepts to explain how throwing 5.25 million a year will fix the problem they are having in testing and other areas. Maybe the model they are using right now is not working so a change is needed. It is apparent to me the current model is not working. Not every business concept should be in a school – i agree. But when it comes to investing in a school that should be treated like and investment just like everyone states “it is an investment in our children”. Well tell me where the payoff is then I may be more obliged to vote yes. In other words what is the results they hope to get. If the school can not quantify “x” in regards to test scores or is this additional money going to give us “x” results then they don’t have my vote. The school should be able to answer simple questions like what they expect this money to do in testing scores, improving education, etc. If they can not do that then maybe the school board should be replaced. All I hear is it will lower class size. A 3rd grader can tell you that. I want to know the detail. What do they expect as an END result when classes size is decreased?
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Maybe the scores are so low because of all the immigrants we have in the school system.
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And that is exactly what’s wrong with “No Child Left Behind,” which rates low-income area schools and schools with children new to English with school districts like Rochester and Edina.
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Moorhead – this has been a fun debate with you:) However, I still disagree. I’d like to see your data on the biggest lie, sinking property values. Logically, if Moorhead goes to a 4 day school week, who is going to buy houses in Moorhead?? How many families will leave??
Throwing good money after bad?? Money is neither good nor bad. Money is money.
I didn’t know public schools were run to turn a monetary profit. As far as the ROI on an ill advised investment, that’s a matter of ones opinion. ROI is never a concrete number set in stone, but at best an educated guess at the return on your investment. There is always an element of risk when it comes to investing. I personally, am willing to take the risk and vote YES.
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You can disagree all you want. Did Park Rapids people move after a 4 day week? No. 4 days 5 days – does not matter. What matters is the quality of education which they are not getting and won’t get if you just throw more money at the problem. That is the issue that you don’t seem to understand More money does not solve problems like poor test grades. I will agree that ROI is never concrete and there is always risk in everything. However the school district has not done one thing to prove that this is even a good idea. When asked about class size they advised well 30 is the way we have always done it. Again going back to another saying – Just because you always done it one way does not mean it is the best and there is not some other way that is better!!! That is the point. You can vote yes all you want and I will vote NO until they can prove something to me that throwing more money at the problem that is in the district will solve it.
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Park Rapids parents don’t have any other districts near them. We do. I would also leave Moorhead were it to come to that and may leave anyway if this levy doesn’t pass.
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Then Leave. If I left every time the city,county,state, or any other government agency made changes I did not agree with I would be moving every week. If you are not loyal to a town during the bad time and only the good times then the town should ask themselves – do we really want you here?
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Then Leave?? Are you for real?? Do you own a home in Moorhead?? Do you have kids in the school system?? Did you read that 3.7 million of that referendum is needed just to sustain the school system in it’s current state? Student/teacher ratios are not rocket science. Did you read the article? At this point I really question your loyalty to the city as this referendum affects the city as a whole. Moorhead has made good strides in the last few years at making itself a desirable place to live. I really like Moorhead and up until this point would not even consider crossing the river into Fargo. A four day school week would be a huge pain for most families where the parents both work. What to do with the kids that one day a week. Families will leave. Or should we lay off more teachers, so the student/teacher ratio can grow even larger and the test scores can fall even farther. If the test scores fall farther then the district loses more money and we’re worse off then ever. Let’s pass this referendum and then let’s all get involved to see the school district run more efficiently, and effectively.
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Yes I have a home in Moorhead and why I am arguing the point of raising my taxes when there is not a good plan in place on how this money will be returned in a better education. You can not just say that kids will do better because we take your class size down by 5 kids in class – get real. If you think test scores will magically jump because of this you are in fairy land. If you think you will get a better education because of 5 less kids in class you are in fairy land. This referendum does nothing for class sizes in the elementary schools because they were not affected by the cuts. I am all for small sizes in those grades because those kids have not developed to being a responsible kid. When you get to middle and high school you should know enough that there is more responsibility in those grades and less teachers. In other words stop holding their hands.
To your comment – “Letâ€™s pass this referendum and then letâ€™s all get involved to see the school district run more efficiently, and effectively.” Don’t you think you are putting the cart before the horse? You should know what you are going to do to make it more effective and efficient BEFORE asking for money – they had a whole year to come up with a plan – THERE IS NONE. All they can do is compare Moorhead to other schools in reference to what they don’t have like an operating levy. Not once did I hear one administrator break down what they plan on implementing deliver a better education. What curriculum are they going to use that they have no used in the past? Will new teachers be used that have different credentials? Is testing going to become more uniformed and better? Will technology help in administering test to become more efficient? All these questions from a person that is not in the school system. WHy are these not answered by the officials. Because they just want the money and have no idea how to use it. See you need to really ask these question and find out what their plan is before throwing money at a problem that you have no clue on HOW to solve. This is the crucial point I have been saying all along. You don’t ask for 5M and not have a plan in place to use it RIGHT. In addition you really have to ask yourself why only the residents are picking the tab up and not businesses because of some state law that is in place for border cities which is ridiculous. If the state wants to have a law in place like that then the state should be picking up the money we are losing.
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Actually I would hope some people would leave the district – it would solve the class room size issue.
And then watch your taxes raise>
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It does not happen that way. Every piece of land is owned by someone – property owner, the bank, not for profit, business, etc. If the population goes down it does not dismiss the fact that the land is still there and is owned by someone. In other words less population does not mean more taxes for everyone else.
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Those vacant properties lower housing values throughout the city. So the city would have to increase taxes to maintain their current infrastructure and services. Which may or may not raise your taxes, depending on how run down your neighborhood becomes.
At any rate, implying it is a good thing is ridiculous. Because you’re not just losing population, you’re losing the kids needed to sustain the population in the future.
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again you missed the point. Even if it is vacant someone owns it. They may not be living there but it is still on the TAX ROLLS at the county level. You can not just take your name off the tax rolls. So you may leave but you have to sell to someone or the bank – take your pick – bankruptcy or sell it to someone else. One of the two. It does not matter which one. Taxes will get paid on it no matter what. SO you can up and leave all you want but land just does not leave the tax rolls at the county level – someone own the land -therefore someone pays the taxes. Period. Maybe call the county tax office and ask them how it will work. They will gladly tell you that there is no such thing as land that is vacant and taxes are not collected or due on that land.
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Less kids = less funding = more teacher layoffs = classroom size issue not solved
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We have 4 kids in Moorhead schools. I emailed the Asst. Superintendent and asked about funding. His response was ISD 152 is funded 89% by the state, 5% by federal, and 6% by local taxes. We are retired military and have lived in a few other districts in other states, no where else we lived had a backward system like this. We the citizens of ISD 152 should be the largest source of revenue for our schools so it is under our control. The system they have set up takes control away from parents and the local school board. Instead of trying to fix this backwards system, they just ask us to poney up more money. Fix this first and I will support you. Don’t fix it and my vote is NO.
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I agree – in other places commercial puts in a lot more of the local share. One district alone that I lived in had a resort that there school share for one year was 30 million. And they were not a big resort or anything. But the way it was made up made more sense and more equitable. Like this levy that is going through is topped out according to the border state law – which means that businesses in this town are not going to pay one cent into this levy. hmmmm. Now is that fair? I think not. But see no one wants to discuss that because it is a little known law.
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What are your suggestions for fixing the problem?
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Get rid of the law at the state level that does not allow the local governments to raise taxes on commercial. The reason this law was put in place was to give businesses tax breaks to compete to Fargo however tax breaks can only last so long for businesses. If you been here 20 or 30 years then you should be paying more. Second – get rid of ope enrollment. Even the school officials agree with me on that one. It hurts the schools. If you want to go to Moorhead then you live in Moorhead and pay taxes in Moorhead. Open enrollment is a headache both in administering it and also when it comes to voting things in or out with in the school district. These may not be popular but those are 2 that I would suggest.
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The comparison of the fox guarding the hen house comes to mind here. If the fox says more chickens are needed because the egg count is down, do we investigate? Or just blindly get more chickens? Our Schools have huge problems most of which have nothing to do with money! Parents that use the schools as a day care are one of those problems, Teachers Unions and the idea of tenure is another, The idea that the teaching of children stops when the final bell sounds at the end of the school day is another. These are just a few examples of the problems that our schools have that more money will never fix. We need to take a close look at how our classrooms are being run and who is running them. Some of these classes are run by the most caring teachers in our society, some are run by teachers just putting in their time, Some are run by out of control kids that make it impossible for anyone else in the room to learn. I cannot in good faith vote to throw more money into this system and then know that 80% of the people will walk away saying “There!, problem solved” the day after the vote passes.
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Very Well said!!!!
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The problem is very simple, but the solution is very complex. In the short run, the levy needs to be passed in order to ensure the immediate success for the children of Moorhead. Does it address the failures within the system? No. Does electing local and statewide leaders who pledge to change the broken system indicate a step in the right direction? Yes. There’s no reason to punish the children of Moorhead because of a system beyond our control presently. District officials are handcuffed and voting “No” won’t be a wake up call for anyone. If anything, a “No” vote will only tighten the handcuffs forcing the district to make unpopular and damaging choices. Do you really think that those in state gov’t will see a vote against the levy and say, “Oh, my. The people of Moorhead have spoken. It’s time to fix our system for apportioning state money to local districts.” Hardly. They’ll stroke their chins and look for ways to fill their re-election coffers.
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