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Duluth News Tribune's General Election Questionnaire

In 50 words or less

Family (married or single; number of children):

Wife - Claudia Scott Welty, Vice President of Information Technology at Minnesota Power; Daughter - Keely Marie Holcomb, Student, Augsburg College, 1999 East High School graduate; Son - Robb Welty, 2002 graduate of East High School

Endorsements: 

None

Do you support the long rage plan adopted by the board Sept. 22 (Yes or no) Explain why or why not.

Yes. I support it because it was clear that the majority of the Board feels it is a general plan which can be modified. My principal interest is saving elementary schools like Chester Park . As long as we are not too rigid in implementing the plan this will be possible.

If an excess levy passes, will you spend the revenue on the items adopted by the board on Sept. 22? (Yes or no) Explain why or why not.

Yes. Because a promise is a promise.

What SPECIFIC cuts would you make to balance the 2004-05 budget, which has an estimated $6.2 million shortfall.

If the excess levy passes the shortfall will only be $2.3 million. I would move the administration out of Old Central into our schools. I would close other administrative buildings. There will be additional staff layoffs at all levels. If the levy fails I hope I'm not on the board.

Would you vote to renew Superintendent Julio Almanza's contract, which expires at the end of the 2003-04 school year. (Yes or no) Explain why or why not.

Yes, although not perhaps for three years. The State Auditor's report on superintendents was an eye opener. Dr. Almanza earns $30,000 less than many suburban Superintendents with prosperous and tranquil school districts. Julio has presided over tremendous improvements in student testing despite massive budget cuts and much public turmoil.

Do you agree with the public perception that the School Board cannot make decisions and stick to them? (Yes or no) If yes, what would you do to change it? If no, explain why this is not true.

I agree that a majority of the Board has not yet agreed on whether to close elementary or secondary schools. We perfectly represent our constituentís wishes. We have, however, made wrenching decisions like eliminating the seven-hour day. If I canít close a high school I may have to close elementarys.

Are you willing to close schools by the 2004-05 school year? Why or why not?

Yes, but hopefully a referendum will pass and we can close schools sensibly over a few years. If the levy fails I'll vote to close Central High School or East High (if that is the only way to get a majority of the board to close a high school).