And I thought I was an Optimist.
Dear Political Diary,
I spent a couple hours catching up on my newspapers from Sunday on and writing a column about the Duluth Schools for Twin Ports People. I had been asked by Howie Hanson to write something a week earlier and had roughed out an essay that still needed some tinkering. I submitted the rough draft and asked for another day to complete it. Its too bad the paper doesn't have a wide readership because I enjoyed taking aim at Brad Bennett.
I had a series of engagements starting at noon. I picked up Mary Cameron and drove over for a quick meeting with my friend Bonnie Jorgenson the leader of the Edison Schools. Edison is feeling an uncomfortable sense of estrangement from the Duluth Schools. I assured Bonnie that the recent election had changed the climate considerably. I said that Mary Cameron's election was a sign of community support. I'm afraid that didn't ease Bonnie's concern.
Bonnie pointed out that the state law gives the Duluth School Board something like life and death power over Edison as long as we remain the sponsor. I had never viewed the relationship as being quite that ominous but I told Bonnie if that was the case she had every right to find another sponsor. For my part I told her that I wanted a genuine partnership between our schools.
I'm worried that if Edison finds a new sponsor it will feel free to raise its enrollment at the Duluth School's expense. Certainly some of our Board members would like nothing better than to dissolve our sponsorship. So great has their enmity been that they have created an equal enmity for the District among some Edison parents. Some of Edison's parents would like nothing better than to teach the District a lesson by pulling more kids out of our schools.
Currently Edison has agreed to some voluntary caps which prevents our district from losing too many students. The sponsorship doesn't come up for a year and a half but Edison is right to worry that we will leave them hanging in the air. I'd like us to have a meeting between all parties early in January so that we could have a frank discussion about how to work together harmoniously.
After that I rushed over to Grant school to read with my reading partner Tony. We continued reading Harry Potter and I found that Tony had made considerable progress from where we'd left off the week before. He was trying to finish it before seeing the movie. I told him I'd gone with my family to see it on Thanksgiving.
At three I had a physical exam. Claudia ordered me to set one up while I was still fifty or she'd do it for me. I got it done with four days to spare and apparently I'm still alive. Unfortunately, I accepted the Doctor's advice to have a little additional poking and prodding performed at the Clinic. It'll be too late by then since I'll have turned 51.
After I shucked of the ventilated gown I tooled down to the news room of the CBS affiliate and gave a quick gloom and doom sound bite about tonight's school board meeting. The Governor released the latest financial projections for the state's revenue and the state will be a half-a-billion less revenuet than anticipated. The legislature has been saying that they will hold public schools harmless but since public schools are now 40% of the state's budget I'm skeptical.
I headed home to listen to Brad Bennett's show and give him a hearty "semper fi" but Claudia called and asked me for a spare set of car keys to get into her car. WEBC is an AM station and I couldn't get good enough reception to hear Brad. I'm sure I didn't miss anything but I've got a good question waiting for him on Thursday.
The Board had its "truth in taxation" meeting at six thirty followed by a thirty minute presentation from the parents who are currently advising us. (It would be a major theme in my Twin Ports People column)
The parents offered us many ideas none of which involved addressing the shortfall we face in next year's budget. None of us had the heart to point this but Laura Condon was obviously impressed. She said, to no one in particular, "that was fantastic" as though it had cleared up all the uncertainty facing us. And I thought I was an optimist!