My Reply to C

Hi C,

I've got some thoughts in response to your questions. Here goes.

<< Have you listened to what students, parents, and others in Duluth have said?
Are you ready to make the tough decisions now?>>

Answer: Yes

<<1) Will you substantially cut Central Administration expenses? Will we have a quality school system if you cut programs and teachers? Isn't it time to drastically reduce the costs at CAB and use the dollars for education? >>

Answer- The administration's plan is to cut a million of administrative expenses from throughout the budget. Our administrative expenses have been a little larger percentage of our budget than other districts but Duluth's school system is much more complicated than most districts in the state.

Five years before I got on the Board the public demanded administrative cuts and the Board responded by cutting way too much. There were no longer enough people to monitor many routine functions like rebidding out insurance or telling insurance companies to take our retired employees out of the premiums or dispute the state's assessment of our tax liability. We lost hundreds of thousands of dollars more than we saved with this cost cutting measure. I've constantly been impressed over the last five years how our administrators are on top of many aspects of money saving possibilities.

<< Is there really any student benefit to going to a six period day?>> 

Answer - No, there is little benefit unless you think avoiding a bankruptcy is a benefit. Fortunately, schools like Edina have 6 hour days and still manage to have an excellent educational system. We should be no exception.

<<Won't a student who spends 7th through 12th grade in six period days, in effect, lose a full year of schooling? >> 

Answer - No, because he class periods would be longer and the teacher could get more done. Kids will spend the same amount of time in class.

<<How can you consider spending $3.4 million for the conversion of
Lowell to a middle school? And the expense of changing Ordean to an
elementary school? Is this fiscal responsibility? >>

Answer - For political reasons this probably won't fly but its not as expensive as it seems. For one thing we are spending $1 million dollars annually from our operations fund on building maintenance. By closing buildings we could transfer this money to operations for salaries.

<<How bad do things have to get before you use what is an excessive
reserve fund? >>

C, spending the reserve fund will cripple us if we use it to delay a budget cut. I want us to use it for our "severance" problem. I explain why we need to deal with this issue on my website. Visit it if you like at: Snowbizz.com 

All the Best,