by Duluth News Tribune
December 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm in Duluth News Tribune
The tax increase promises to be a big one.
Tags: Editorials, Education, Opinion, Our view, School Board 15 Comments »
Another sloppy,repeat, High School style booster piece from DNT. But this one is worse than usual as it attempts to rewrite history.
Those initial Red Plan groups were hand picked and some dropped as they realized they were to follow a predetermined plan.
Then when it was rolled out to those infamous “community meetings” it was a done deal. There was no real discussion. One guy politely asked some good questions and a rabid Red Plan supporter loudly mumbled under his breath, dismissively waved his hands in the air. It was all for PR. It was to rationalize not allowing taxpayers to vote on the largest school bonding bill in MN history. And they were attended so stop with the BS that no one was interested.
When the Red Plan bloated into its final package it was standing room only at the monthly Board meetings.
The district is now using the market which was slumping when they started this plan as an excuse for their sorry financial state. Back in 11/8/2008 there was a resolution for an inter loan from general funds to pay for Red Plan. But those board members lied and said they weren’t doing this.
Add JCI got this whole deal by some underhanded finagling. Dixon wanted them without any bidding and when they finally had to bid they it in a convoluted way bidding on Part B and A even though at that point in time only A was to be addressed.
Check this out for JCI’s business in Paynesville http://www.timberjay.com/detail.html?sub_id=7894
And since Duluth got this mess by using a “city of the first class designation” that is for large cities look at the Mpls school tax hike, 4%.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 45 4
True Sid. I’ve seen better quality reporting in a high school newspaper, but I guess you get the quality you are willing to pay for, right DNT? The DNT has always been a pom-pom waiving supporter of the Red Ink plan because they had a financial interest (expensive ads placed by the screwel district) in promoting the plan, plus there exists the possibility of some graft or personal gain for certain DNT people. Rules dictated the screwel district had to have public hearings but nobody believes that the hearings accomplished anything at all other than just going through the motions of having hearings.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 38 5
Never ceases to amaze me. The District had hundreds of people wanting to be a part of the plans – but they shut them down. They did have packed meetings, speakers lined up to voice opinions and ask questions (the Board shut the microphone off on a couple of citizens and even collectively got up and walked off during a speaker a couple times), involved community members were attacked, security guards led them out of the room. Why on earth would anyone get involved again and waste time until the entire board makeup had changed. As long as Wasson holds the ropes, and make no mistake – she does – it simply isn’t going to make a difference. Change the members of the Board – and you will find more people willing to jump in and try again. And the DNT/ Frederick was a BIG part of supporting the Red Plan and shutting out the community. Now they want people to stick their necks out and become involved again?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 44 3
Duluthians must do what the voters in ISD 2142 did. They voted out a 24 year incumbent, who was a Johnson Controls booster and a supporter of the reorganization plan.
If you don’t put up candidates, you can’t beat the house. St. Louis County did it. How about Duluth?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 34 2
Maybe I’m not remembering it correctly, but didn’t they first come up with three plans–Red Plan, White Plan and Blue Plan–and only then did they involve the community? Weren’t we basically just told to pick one after they’d already put them together?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 35 1
Yep, Dan, you have it correct. There were three plans…but what we got in the end was more purple then Red, White or Blue – because it was all of the Red plus much of the blue as they kept “finding” money, they kept adding wants instead of needs. Remember all the articles about being below budget, savings they found, and having excess money? Seems that vanished, just like someone else. Just saying that had the DNT done some actual investigative reporting instead of just printing the promotional stuff that the District told them, perhaps more people would have been involved.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 39 2
No, NO and damnit NO again!!! The taxpayers are not obligated to work with the screwel district nor to “move on as a community” at this time (meaning “lets sweep the graft and corruption, the kickbacks the unbelievable ignorance of the screwel board members, the blatently stup*d decisions of the board under the rug and then we should bend over and grab our ankles while the screwel board does to us taxpayers what it wants to to dig out of the mess they created), not until there has been some accountibility from the screwel district. To start the healing the entire screwel board needs to resign along with Gronseth. The taxpayers are owed a full detailed accounting of where every dollar went, both above the table and that which passed under the table and to whom. Lacking this type of honesty nobody should cooperate with the screwel board and the community cannot “move on”. Dam* the screwel board to he**!!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 34 6
There were lots of people involved….and they continually got shut out / shut off from speaking their minds! We could not even ask our own questions…..as they wanted people to ask questions from cards that were handed out with questions already pre-selected by the organizers of the meetings! This whole thing…..including this article…..smells to high heaven. The nerve and audacity of the DNT to question the public’s being involved here….when the DNT has done nothing but cheer-lead this whole thing…..then to more or less say that that the public is not interested enough….when EVERYONE knows that the District / Dixon / JCI just steam-rolled the public…..and then to wonder why the public has more or less given up hope concerning the District????? Sheeeesh! The District will TAKE the extra money every year around December…..then they will have a referendum the following November….and that referendum will get voted down…..then they will take again in December….scratching their heads wondering why the public turns down the referendums. It does not matter to them ….as they will just TAKE THE MONEY in December anyway….regardless of what we think! Then the DNT questions the public about being involved? Who is kidding who here?? The only way things are going to turn around…..is for ALL the board members ( except Johnston ) to go away…..NOW! I realize that they will NOT resign….the will not get recalled….so, this is gonna be several years in the making…..HOPEFULLY, the voters will do what they have to do…..next time???
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 37 3
Don’t hold your breath! Year in and year out, Duluthians continue to put these people into public positions without doing any homework. If you really want change, you have to put in new people with a new direction. That is something that just doesn’t happen here. Just wait, the schools are only part of it. Duluth has several more issues that need immediately attention due to its lack of progression. Prepare to pay dearly!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 28 4
“Let’s work with district this time”
“All of us will be needed to brainstorm solutions and to offer input for hard decisions. So when the community meetings are announced, let’s mark our calendars and then let’s go. Let’s carefully consider the information and thoughtfully and productively respond and participate.
In other words, more of us can do what too few of us did when the Red Plan was being written.”
Seems to me I remember quite a debate over the Red Plan when it was shoved down our throat. The DNT was a huge advocate of the Red Plan when the debate was taking place. People are tired of paying more for less. I think we realize the district is in a financial bind. Our taxes go up and up while we are fed excuse after excuse. These same people who got us into this mess are still in charge. We need to move forward…..how do you do that?? Instead of the DNT writing a headline “Let’s work with district this time” it should have read “Will this district work with us this time?” Notice how the DNT spins the story to make the district out to be the victim? If only the taxpayers had been more vocal….if only they had done a better job of stopping this foolish plan! Shame on you taxpayers!
Do you really think that if more taxpayers got involved either at the beginning of this fiscal fiasco or now when the screwel board has dug itself into a fiscal hole and wants us to pull them out the outcome woud be any different? No, the decisions were predetermined before the public meetings at the beginning. That is why the screwel board could turn off the publics’ microphone or even walk out on speakers. Rudeness, corruption and lies is all the screwel board understands and practices. Nothing will change this time around.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 29 4
Duluth School Board approves tax increase for red plan
Duluth News Tribune (MN) – Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Author: Sarah Horner News Tribune
After listening to dozens of pleas by community members to hold off on the long-range facilities plan at a Truth-in-Taxation hearing Dec. 10, the Duluth School Board voted by a narrow margin Tuesday to push ahead and start paying for it.
In a 4-3 vote, board members approved increasing the levy
$7.8 million, or 56 percent, from $13.8 million in 2007 to $21.5 million in 2008. Mike Akervik, Tim Grover and Laura Condon voted against the increase. Most of the increase is to cover spending on the red plan , which will be paid for over the next 20 years.
“I can’t overstate the degree of the community’s unhappiness with this the breadth of the negative sentiment should really give us pause,” Grover said. “Right now many Duluthians feel dismissed, ignored and they feel rightly or wrongly that they are about to be gouged.”
To cover the increase, owners of a $150,000 home should expect to see an increase of about $130 in their school property taxes next year, said Bill Hanson, business director for the Duluth district.
That number will tick up about $3.53 a year over the following 19 years.
Condon and Akervik indicated their negative votes were the result of the board’s previous decision to circumvent a referendum on the red plan , which they both voted against at that time.
The board also voted 4-3 to begin bonding for the red plan , which will take place in installments to keep interest costs down, Hanson said. The project is expected to cost about $293 million.
Grover, Akervik and Condon voted against the bonding.
The first amount, to be bonded for in late January, will be for about $59 million.
From yesterdays DNT article
“Yet School Board meetings have been quiet and largely unattended. The front steps of government buildings haven’t seen anything even remotely resembling a tax revolt. And there have been few, if any, letters to the editor of protest.
Are district residents choosing to tune out until decisions are made and their tax bills arrive and it’s too late, the way far too many did back when the Red Plan was being developed?
Yet School Board meetings have been quiet and largely unattended. The front steps of government buildings haven’t seen anything even remotely resembling a tax revolt. And there have been few, if any, letters to the editor of protest.
Are district residents choosing to tune out until decisions are made and their tax bills arrive and it’s too late, the way far too many did back when the Red Plan was being developed?”
Yup ……go ahead DNT and rewrite history….
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 28 2
Teachers union wants Central as middle school
Duluth News Tribune (MN) – Saturday, December 12, 2009
Author: Sarah Horner, Duluth News Tribune
The Duluth teachers union also is proposing a change in the red plan: to relocate the district’s new western middle school to Central High School.
The Duluth Federation of Teachers’ executive board sent a letter Friday asking the School Board to revisit the middle school issue, according to Frank Wanner, president of the union and a teacher at Central.
“We feel the central part of town has been greatly shortchanged and that there isn’t near the public support for the current western middle school site as there would be for Central,” Wanner said. He added that many residents living in the northern section of the Central attendance area are turning to other districts because of the loss of a secondary school in their corridor. Placing the middle school there could bring some of them back, Wanner said.
Duluth Superintendent Keith Dixon said there was solid information that led to the selection of the middle school site — mainly that it’s in the student density center — but that it might not be too late to reopen the discussion.
“I still think we made the right decision with that site, but if the board directs me to I can look at that option again,” Dixon said. “I’d have to look at what we’ve already spent on design and look at what we’d lose on the revenue side by not selling Central and see what impact those have on the budget and go from there.”
Not all board members behind the red plan said they would be opposed to considering the switch.
“I know there is a lot of work that would need to be done to make that work at Central, but if we could stay within our budget I’d be willing to look at it,” board member Mary Cameron said. “I think it could help with the
healing process for the community.”
Board member Ann Wasson said she would be hard-pressed to support the change, while newly elected members Art Johnston, Tom Kasper and board Chairman Tim Grover said they’d at least entertain the idea.
“I think it’s a better situation than what’s currently posed for the central corridor, but I worry that it doesn’t really solve the problem,” Kasper said. “I think the people out west will raise the same concerns about moving it away from them as the Central folks do.”
Members Gary Glass and Judy Seliga-Punyko could not be reached for comment.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 28 1
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. If the school board wants to rebuild trust from the public and restore its coffers, they should all resign and hold special elections. Nothing short of that will allow a levy to pass. These people may have good intentions, but unfortunately have no skill to run a school district.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 37 2
ISD 709, bite me.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 29 1
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