Not Eudora  

Red Plan Chronicles
Columns from 2007-2008

By Harry Welty

The Red Plan Chronicles
Harry Welty's ongoing history of how the Red Plan came about
You may wish to check out www.letduluthvote.com

Prologue, Welty Loses Again Published Nov. 9, 2007 "I lost the school board race. It’s nothing new. I’ve lost eleven out of 13 bids for public office. As the Duluth News Tribune editorialized I’m a 'perennial candidate.' That’s shorthand for: 'Don’t take him too seriously.'"

Part 1, The Faded Miracle Published Nov. 23, 2007 In 1971 I got an A- on a paper I wrote for a college government class about the “Minnesota Miracle.” I still have it. The Miracle was a state law which gave poor school districts almost as much money to educate children as rich school districts spent. 

Part 2, Saving Money Published Dec 6, 2007 The story in Tuesday’s News Tribune was as routine as it was heart wrenching. The Duluth School Board has ended bussing for its 298 Headstart students. Dr. Dixon says the District can no longer afford the $200,000 annual expense. 

Part 3, Honeymoon’s End  2001 Published Dec 20, 2007 Superintendent Dixon is just about where his predecessor, Julio Almanza, was in 2001 – three years into a honeymoon that was about to go sour. 

Part 4, The Puck Stops Here 2001 Published Jan 10, 2008After the failure of the 2001 excess levy referendum the Duluth School Board had only one practical option to avoid program cuts and teacher layoffs - close schools.

Part 5, Wai Lee's Story 2001 Published Jan 17, 2008 Last fall I called several sitting Faribault school board members to get the measure of Keith Dixon. Two of them warned me that I should “watch my back” when dealing with him. It was suggested that I talk to Dr. Dixon’s first school board critic, since retired, Wai Lee.

Part 6, Drawing from the Discard Pile Published Jan 31, 2008 The new school board elected in 2004 was committed to rescuing a de-iced hockey coach. Unlike Keith Dixon, who made it clear to Faribault that he would stick out the three years of his contract, Duluth’s superintendent, Julio Almanza, insisted that his new contract be for a single year.

Part 7, Shut up and Sit Down Published Feb 14, 2008 During last year’s school board campaign one of our former high school principal’s leaned over and told me through gritted teeth: “Johnson Controls worked on three projects while I was with the District and every one was a disaster. Now It’s four!”

Pt 8, “Duluth-i-size it” with “A Very Generous Contract” Published Feb 14, 2008 Art Johnston’s dry analysis of the Red Plan, published in last week’s Reader, is a revelation. Using JCI’s (Johnson Control Inc.) own figures, Art shows that rather than fixing $12.7 million worth of “flaws” at Central High School, JCI’s Red Plan will spend $56 million to enlarge three other schools so that they can accommodate Central’s students.