by Duluth News Tribune
June 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm in Duluth News Tribune
With expressions of sorrow and the opposition of one member, the Duluth School Board voted on Tuesday to lay off 29 additional full- and part-time teachers.
Tags: Duluth, Education, money, School Board 48 Comments »
Why is it that every time I read a story about this board, I hear the theme song from “The Benny Hill Show” in my head? They’re giving clowns everywhere a bad name.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 74 12
Kind of like the Keystone Cops…..also!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 24 8
State Lottery proceeds in Vermont, Michigan, North Carolina go directly to Education,,,,,
not the environment like MN.
Teacher Layoffs would be nonexistent if we stop feeding so much $$$$ to MN DNR and feeding squirrels.
Hot debate. What do you think? 45 37
Gambling revenue for education is just another way for louts to shirk their responsibility to society. As something that is a fundamental part of a civilized society we as citizens need to stand up and take personal responsibility for education funding.
Suggesting lottery funds go to education is like suggesting tobacco tax/settlement money or Indian gambling money or money from a horse track be dedicated. They are all ways of saying “I don’t want to pay forward for the education I was offered.”
Hot debate. What do you think? 29 31
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This is in keeping with the republicant motto: “Ask not what you can do for your country…”
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 14 39
Doug….The school board, the district as a whole, the Sup’t …..and of course…..the general taxpayer…..ALSO, have the responsibility for rational, and responsible spending…..a few years ago, Dixon and the board authorized carte blanche on health care…..NOT even soliciting new bidding from health care providers……..about 75-80% of all revenue into ISD 709….goes to pay for employee’s and their benefits ……leaving about 20% to take care of bldg’s, grounds, food, utilities, books and supplies….and much more! Bottom line….They do not treat revenue from taxpayers and the state etc……like it was their own……poor stewardship plain and simple! The people only have so much to spend on taxes to the state, local, school board etc…..and then the board cries when they cannot get more cash from the state or individual levies……so, they force another 5-6 % on to the taxpayer…..because the taxpayer has turned down the levy…..and all because of very poor spending habits…..they have got to cut down on their spending…..monitor the ACTUAL results from their spending programs…..instead of saying…well, that did not work…..let’s try this…..throw a bunch more cash at the problem…if that does not work…..let’s try this…….and on and on and on….this foolish spending has got to stop ……somewhere…..now…..please understand this…..the taxpayers CANNOT afford any more here in Duluth! NOT enough good paying jobs….way too many minimum wage and mediocre paying jobs in the Duluth area!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 58 6
Very well put Vern! Don’t know that it will EVER sink into some of these people, but you couldn’t have put it any better!!!!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 41 7
What the heck are you talking about, Vern? The district solicited bids for health care! The PIEP program has saved the district MILLIONS of dollars so far. The employees are paying more and their health care delivery system is much more difficult and costly to the employee but ISD teachers voted to do it to help the district out – and it has worked! Check out what other citizens in other cities are willing to pay per pupil and you’ll see that Duluth is CHEAP compared to others. Check your facts!
Like or Dislike: 4 4
Rudy……If you read my post a bit closer, you will see that I mentioned “a few years ago” …..they did NOT solicit bids for health care benefits from other providers……and at that time, that was NORMAL operating procedure for Dixon and the board…..and that was only 1 item they did this with. ONLY RECENTLY, have they started to act like they should have ALL along…..BUT, they still have a VERY long way to go before they start SAVING any REAL money….in the whole scheme of things! As far as the dollar amounts the Duluth taxpayer spends on schools and operations…….also consider what the AVERAGE working folks EARN in DULUTH……and compare the figures to other cities in Minnesota and nearby states! One other thing….35-40% of Duluth working people….are considered “working poor”…..and also hovering around 20-25% are at or below the poverty line. All I am really trying to re-iterate is….with the TOTAL COST of the Red Plan…..and I mean “real cost”…..net expenditures…..after all spending, plus “savings” from Red Plan …..( LOL!!! )…..and apply towards annual revenue ( including shrinking student base )…..you are GUARANTEED to be in the RED….every year, unless spending is cut, more students come back, Duluth’s tax base increases…..etc etc …..I think you see my point!
there should be so much money in the lottery that the bears should be wearing fur coats and I am not seeing the money
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 21 4
Kasper pulled a Grover and supported every dime of the Red Plan,every smart board, every atrium and Wanner said nothing. Little late now to hope things can turn around.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 70 10
Casper turned out to be a major disapointment , voters were screaming hard when he got all their votes to challenge this mess.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 65 9
Kasper is just a pawn in Donny Ness’s pocket. Can’t serve two masters…
Like or Dislike: 7 9
How about cutting that PR woman making the big bucks. Theres wasted money, doesn’t contribute to the classroom. Putting a spin on the shiny new buildings just doesn’t cut it. Neither does headlines like “your city, your schools”. They took that away long ago when they didn’t listen.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 73 7
Joke of the year “I’m being fiscally responsible”. This after they wasted hundreds of millions on extravagant unnecessary spending for glass atriums, copper plated walls and Olympic sized swimming pools. How stupid are they to think we are that stupid?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 72 7
Patriot…..I agree with you….BUT, unfortunately….the voters seem to re-elect incumbants and “like thinking” others…..over and over and over again! That is nothing new for the Duluth area…..that is the way they ALWAYS do it…..unfortunately! The definition of insanity…..doing the same thing over end over again…..and expecting different results! SHEEEESH!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 39 6
The screwel board, if the members were at all competent, would have realized that you cannot abuse the taxpayers to the tune of a few hundred million dollars and not get a backlash. I wish extreme fiscal incompetence as demonstrated by the screwel board was a hanging offence.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 50 13
And the greedy taxpayers of Duluth continue to screw the kids….no one in Duluth wants to pay for education because they need a new boat or ATV…what terrible priorities.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 29 71
The taxpayers didn’t put the school district $400 million in debt. That kind of money would’ve paid a lot of teachers for a very long time.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 70 9
mag: On most peoples budgets, if you were to buy an expensive shiney new car could you still afford to go out and buy a shiney new big boat and a new camper? Probably not. The incompetent screwel board told us, with no input from the citizens, that we had to buy that shiney new expensive car and now fool* like you are wondering why we can’t afford that camper and boat. There is a limit to the amount of money in the taxpayers pockets. Get real. You are acting as stup*d as the screwel board.
Magnumpi……they do NOT spend the taxpayer’s money….the federal money…..and the state money….with any real feeling about who’s money this is……ALL OF THE MONEY….from the federal….the state…..and local……is ALL taxpayer money! They ARE NOT fiscally responsible…..and they say to themselves…..the taxpayer is NOT funding the kids……and ALL ALONG, the problem is with their spending habits!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 42 7
“Mary Cameron, a 16-year board member,”
This is part of the problem.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 83 5
“Board member Judy Seliga Punyko said the cuts were regrettable but necessary. “I don’t want to vote for (the cuts), but I’m being fiscally responsible,” she said.”
I would like to ask the reporter if she said this sound byte with a straight face and if her definition of “fiscally responsible” means stealing $400 million from Duluthians for a LEGOs project?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 57 10
Having just moved here last year, I have no idea how this Red Plan was sold to voters. That being said, there didn’t seem to be a wholesale changes on the board when Duluth voters had the chance to do so. That must mean either the the dnt readers are not representative of the views of a majority of voters, or that the whole story is not being told. Why wasn’t Red Planed stopped if it was so apparent to so many people that it would fail? And after it did fail, how do so many of it’s proponenets remain on the board?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 44 5
No one was given a choice about the red plan. They were going to do it whether anyone liked it or not. Dixon’s friends at JC made out like bandits and then gave him kickbacks and after it was all said and done, he got out of dodge so he could pull the same scam a little further south.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 43 14
Chet…good questions! I have asked the same questions many many times! The Duluth voters….do this kind of thing…all the time! They do not educate themselves on the individual candidates….they take the word of the DNT endoresements and other local media….they always endorse the same candidates or “like thinking” candidates…….over and over and over …again! Not a whole lot of individual brain engagement in this area…..people do not take the time to learn and think!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 33 9
Vern, folks in Duluth learn and think just fine – they just disagree with you. Learning and thinking are a two-way street.
Like or Dislike: 3 8
If people disagree with us fiscal conservatives then tell me why when the people did have a chance to express their opinion they resoundly shot down the levy increase that the screwel board wanted. Seems that the majority of the voters agreed that the screwel board is a bunch of idiotic monkeys that shouldn’t be trusted with even another dime of taxpayer money.
Like or Dislike: 1 1
If people disagree with us fiscal conservatives then tell me why when the people did have a chance to express their opinion they resoundly shot down the levy increase that the screwel board wanted. Seems that the majority of the voters agreed that the screwel board is a bunch of idi*tic monkeys that shouldn’t be trusted with even another dime of taxpayer money.
Like or Dislike: 3 1
It might have something to do about them being too cheap to support education. They want something for nothing.
Like or Dislike: 0 1
Chet: Welcome to Duluth. You are catching on fast. In Duluth all you need to get elected is the DFL logo behind your name and a couple of union endorsements. Reason is: Duluthians are simple-minded sheeple. they will vote for DFL every time because that’s how their dad or their grandad voted. If a union endorses someone, that union will tell their membership who to vote for…and the union members will do so because it beats having to actually think (typical union members). That is why this area has been under DFL control for the last 50 years without interruption. An Independent or Republican stands no chance to getting elected because the ignorant sheeple will always do as they are told.
Hot debate. What do you think? 31 33
Chet: The so-called VOTERS in this town had absolutely NO legal vote on this insane red-plan, they NEVER EVER put it on a ballot, cause they KNEW it would NEVER in a million years PASS! That is why you will hear and see SO much VENOM from the residents when it comes to the schools!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 45 7
Bingo, Chet. You hit the nail on the head. Because this forum is not representative of what the citizens in Duluth really want.
Like or Dislike: 3 7
And let’s be honest, the views expressed here certainly do not reflect the views of the District as a whole. One, if they did, no one would ever be reelected and two, few are going to post here unless they’re upset about it. Just like in every situation where the public speaks (especially anonymously for the most part), only the complainers will take the time to comment.
Like or Dislike: 1 3
Endorsements are about as fixed as professional wrestling. I hate to sound like a broken record, but as long as Duluthians keep complaining about the same things, I might as well remind them that it is themselves to blame! 30 yrs of waiting and holding for improvements and this is what you get. Now same is going to play out with roads and culverts. This time maybe the Fed Govt may help….. Wake up. Take some action. Get off your hands, and make changes happen. Red plan isnt going away, but politicians can.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 36 3
What percentage of the budget goes to pay the pensions and benefits of 55 year old retired teachers?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 29 9
Like or Dislike: 18 10
Wisconsin didn’t have to lay off teachers to deal with budget shortfalls, nor do I hear Duluth teachers calling for shared pay cuts to avoid layoffs.
It’s time for Minnesota to follow Scott Walker’s lead.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 38 23
Winner winner….Wisconsin did have teachers eligable for retirement flock to retirement to avoid Mr Walkers “reforms”. Most of those jobs were not replaced. So they did have a negitive net jobs on growth on teachers. So Mr. Walker got rid of the more expensive experienced teachers and is on the newby carosel. I am sure that will work out in the end. However I do not know for certain how Minnesota teachers offered to share benefit growth to avoid layoffs. I am curious how those talks went,
Although I live in Duluth my kids go to school outside of the Duluth school district. When they hit 7th grade I am saving to sent them to Marshall. Public education is dead. It is becoming if you send your kids there they will have no shot of a future outside of minimum wage job. And after Mr Romney is elected and eliminates the minimum wage, less than that.
Hot debate. What do you think? 16 17
Check the facts, WinnerWinner. Wisconsin DID lay of a bunch of teachers and a LOT retired early. More have quit or moved out of teaching first chance they get. Just watch the quality of Wisconsin education go steadily down. Mark my words, it will happen! Also, many Minnesota schools have moved to high deductible insurance plans with the employee paying a LOT more – so don’t think Minnesota teachers haven’t taken a hit – and many districts all over the state are laying off teachers because the state isn’t funding education. When you lose your job – that’s taking the ultimate hit. Ask the teachers who just got laid off in Duluth and surrounding school districts.
Tim Pawlenty stopped state payments to local school districts as a means to balance his budget. Republicans took over one part of our state government – restore the state monies to school districts and ISD 709, along with other school districts across the state could function in a more productive manner.. Restabilizing state education funding means less pressure on local taxes to maintain workable financial solutions in school districts.
I’m unhappy with the politically-mandated new dependence on local governments to provide so much funding for our schools – the state could do more at this time to help – they used to do much, much more in this regard.
Hot debate. What do you think? 26 13
It’s a new day Mike. The same old, same old is no longer applicable. Thanks to Obama who singlehandedly destroyed our countrys’ economy we all have to learn how to make due with less, as individuals and our screwel districts too. Building schools costing hundreds of millions of dollars just as we were heading into the deepest recession since the great depression was not a wise move in any sense of the word, yet our screwel board members ignored all the warning signs and raced ahead. Now, in the depths of that recession the screwel board finds it tough to come up with money for the basics. No surprise!!! Many people don’t have the wealth they had 4 years ago and others who do have wealth are sitting on their wallets waiting for the economy to improve before they begin to hire or spend again. It’s not rocket science Mike. When we get a new president, one who can build faith in our economy, things will turn around and perhaps at some time the money will begin to flow again. Unions and teachers should be pushing hard for a new president…our economy and their jobs depend upon it.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 21 33
Yes… Ignore the cost of corruption at the state and national levels. Ignore the tax breaks for the highest income earners. Ignore the massive amounts of money being spent in areas other than education. Those things are a given, you see?
If the school board doesn’t have any money, then they must learn to deal with it. Let the teachers eat crumbs!!! That’s the only way.
Hot debate. What do you think? 18 12
U, I disagree with your opinion. I like President Obama – it was Pawlenty who made the decision to withhold state funding to local school districts in MN.
Hot debate. What do you think? 21 17
Mike, you and I are each entitled to our oprinions of the situation true. However I ask…why did Pawlenty withhold the state payments to schoold districes? Because the economy has gone into the toilet under Obama and so tax revenues (income to the state) and since the state MUST have a balanced budget was down and he was forced, by Obamas recession, to make cuts to balance the state budget. You can thank Obama for the cuts.
Like or Dislike: 7 8
U, Pawlenty was Governor before Obama was the President. His policy affected MN school districts before any of Obama’s work could make a difference. BTW, I disagree on your opinion Obama caused the recession.
Less enrollment=less courses=less teachers. But , it shouldnt mean less education!!!! Get better with what you have. The core components of education these kids receive today obviously is lacking. The results of testing prove it. Basics in reading, writing, math, and science have been forgotten. “Every child gets a participation ribbon” now days. Brutal! Lets make sure (little Johnny or Susie) isnt left out. Big failure. As soon as these children get out in the real world, they dont get “Ribbons”, they get unemployement checks and food stamps! Ya better take a hard look at the world and realize we are getting destroyed because we have dropped the ball!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 21 3
If all the anti-school board posters weren’t the same far-right conservative regulars that complain about everything else the government does, it would be easier to take them seriously. To them, it’s just “Are you with the school board, or are you against them?” If you say anything that doesn’t fall into the framework of their discussion, such as state funding or the reuse of old buildings, you’ll just get blasted with the same 2 or 3 talking points.
To me, it sounds like people want to “cut the fat” out of the school budget… But when the fat ends up being people’s jobs, they blame somebody else. Classic starve the beast strategy. It’s like telling a diver, “I (the state) cut your oxygen supply (local funding)… why can’t you just breathe less?” So many people are stuck in the blame game, blinded by their rage at the headlines, that nothing gets done. And the media coverage doesn’t help.
Case in point: I went to a planning meeting because the City wanted to zone the old Central building for parking lots and strip malls. I thought this was a terrible use for the site, and thought they should reconsider the plan. When talking with a news reporter afterward, I said I thought they should come up with a better plan… And a group of these anti-school board people said, “WHAT? So you’re with the school board?” I thought, ‘WTF? No.” But apparently the school board also wanted to delay the process.. not because of the ugly strip malls and parking lots, but because they thought they could fit MORE strip malls and parking lots than the City’s plan! This was outrageous to me! Both sides were so invested in defending their own ego, that they wouldn’t even hear any argument about improving the site itself. And, predictably, the news media ignored me and played the whole thing up as a wedge issue between the School Board vs the City. The whole process was disgusting.
Like or Dislike: 11 13
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