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Questions from the DNT for the Primary election

In 50 words or less:

Questions from the Duluth News Tribune for School Board candidates Ė deadline 8-13-2003

 

Do you support an excess operating levy referendum to pay for educational programs? If so, for what programs?

 

85% of Minnesota school districts have excess levies. I passed out 20,000 flyers in 2001 supporting one for Duluth . It failed. I donít think Duluth voters will pass an excess levy until the School Board acts responsibly. I wonít support one until the School Board closes a high school. (obviously I've changed my mind)

 

The district has cut teaching staff, administrative staff, programs and course offerings in recent years to save money. What would you cut to plug the 5.4 million shortfall for the 2004-05 school year?

 

I would sell Old Central. This will save several hundred thousand dollars annually. I would close a high school and turn Woodland into an elementary school. Because this wasnít done two years ago we have no choice but to offer fewer courses, increase class sizes, and lay off more teachers.

 

Are you willing to close high schools to cut spending? If so, how many elementary schools are you willing to close?

 

I will vote to close a high school. I would close as few elementary schools as possible but at the very least I would close Chester Park and Grant.

 

When would you like to see the board agree on a long range plan, and how will you build a consensus among board members to meet that goal?

 

The School Board, like all elected bodies, makes decisions by majority vote not by consensus building. It has taken us so long to make a decision because we have spent so much time trying to find a consensus where none has existed. Voters should vote for candidates who donít waffle.

 

Give an example of how you led an organization or group of people to a positive consensus on a difficult issue.

 

Instead of insisting on closing a high school I waited for a majority of the School Board to make a different decision. Had they made a different decision I would have voted against it but I would have accepted it. Consensus doesnít turn a bad decision into a good one.