1. Most of the School Board was concerned that I was sending
letters to teachers who wrote to me worried that they might be used against us whichis
exactly what happened with one
of my letters. I thought then and I think now that not
writing back would have looked like an arrogant admisstion of guilt and that one way or
another the Union President would have found some excuse to cry foul.
2. The 9 % is accurate but it is what we were offering in
salaries and benefits (also called "total package." 9% was the state
average wage increase for teachers for the 97-99 period. Our teachers eventually won an
11% increase 2% better than the state average. Part of the myth that had built up among
our teachers was that they had to make up for a bad settlement in the previous
negotiation. I didn't realize that this was wrong until after
our contract was agreed upon.
3. My letter back to Frank that was quoted in the Tribune.
4. It would be inconvient for Frank To admit we are dependent
upon St. Paul.
5. A legitimate point. In my research I discovered that almost every Minnesota school
district levied to the max except Duluth. Its a potent reminder of how ineffective Mr.
Wanner had been with previous School Boards.
6. The union had pointed out to the District questionable comp ed spending in earlier
years. Misspending was no longer the case although there have been internal debates about
whether well to do schools got too much of these funds which are supposed to be directed
to poor children. In my letter I heap considerable scorn on Mr. Wanner for suggesting that
we cut half a dozen teachers from East High School.
7. This is poppycock. Comp ed pays for teachers no matter in which
building it is spent. This argument is being made because it may be true that past
administrations violated the spirit if not the letter of the comp ed law. Its always good
to demonize the opponant to get your people's juices worked up.
8. We added staff with the excess levy. Mr. Wanner is just mad that we used it to hire
more staff rather than pay existing staff more. His words to me during the referendum were
"whats in it for us?" to show his disinterest in its passage if we only meant to
hire more staff with it.
9. This was the intention. The referendum only lasted 5 years.
The School Board did not contemplate asking the voters to pass another referendum and so
to make sure the programs were not cut when the levy ended we wanted to reduce our
spending gradually by an amount equal to the referendum. There is a new thinking on the
current Board. Most of us plan to offer a new referendum. If it passes no cuts would be
neccessary. If it failed ....
10. Passing the referendum did not mean making the teachers take
a pay cut.
11. This is really irritating. Frank personally refused to give
the PTA any money from the union to help promote the referendum making one of the parent
Referendum chairs furious. I know because I was the chief fund raiser for the referendum.
12. This is another way for Mr. Wanner to demonize Edison. The
finances are simple. If Edison pays to educate 600 children ISD 709 doesn't have to pay to
educate them. Edison's finances have been badly
misrepresented. The truth is interesting.
13. There has been no negative impact to ISD 709 teachers from
Edison's creation. However, Edison teachers do not pay union dues to the DFT. It did
not have to be this way but Mr. Wanner has not helped create much sympathy for the DFT
among Edison teachers. Edison has other schools whose teachers are affiliated with the
14. Edison is a public school.
15. I expect Mr. Wanner to recognize "bunk" when he
16. This is true but what Mr. Wanner does not explain and which I
didn not realize at the time he wrote these words that that )% settlement was followed by
a 9 % settlement which made the teachers settlement more generous than usual for the two
years combined and following years.
16. And I believe I have rebutted all of claims Mr. Wanner mentions.