<< Get creative. Use all means to avoid hurting the education of the children (including using the reserve "rainy day" fund - it is pouring out, if you hadn't noticed!). You've already received a plethora of ideas from the community (which included leaving the seven period day ALONE). Quit trying to nickel and dime this, looking for a solution: get going and make the tough decisions... close schools (yes, even a high school), eliminate the waste, bump up taxes, etc.

Mr. K,

Give me four million dollars for each of the next four years until your daughter finishes East High School and I will see to it that we continue the seven period day.

I'm sorry. I do not make it a habit to be confrontational in my correspondence with parents who are worried for the sake of their children. I ran for the school board in large measure because I too have children in the public schools. I understand the frustration of parents who want the best for their kids.

I don't know if you have been following the Duluth schools but nearly a year ago 2,000 parents beat the school board to a pulp for three days straight. We've been under a microscope ever since then. Those parents made demands very much like yours. I was not given a microphone at the January stone throwing so I scrawled a sign and draped it over the table where I sat. It asked: "Where do I get four million dollars?" This only made some of the parents madder. The school board has raised taxes by as much as the law allows us. We can't raise it any higher without the voters approval.

After the state finished tinkering with the school finance laws in June I knew where we could get the $4 million dollars I'd asked for in January. An excess levy would have done the trick. I did a number of things to try and pass a levy. In fact, I personally wrote and passed out 5,000 pro-excess levy flyers door to door in my attempt to pass one. I hope that you also worked to help us pass it. Did you? I'm sorry that it failed.

The people who bear the real responsibility for our difficulties are in St. Paul. We have little choice now but to slash our budget but do not despair. We will still have a fine public school system. Its worth remembering that Edina has both a vaunted reputation and a six-period day in its high school.

If you would like to call me sometime I'd be happy to explain why I will not vote to expend our "rainy day fund." Until I hear from you let me give you an abbreviated explanation. Once we begin spending our surplus it will disappear before your daughter graduates. Its loss would impoverish the school system for all the children who followed her. 

I'm grateful that you are willing to close a high school. I have been the lone advocate for this measure on our Board. In my estimation it is one of the few real opportunities we have to cut expenses in a meaningful way. 

I'm afraid that this email rambles a little. I read your email a little before midnight and I knew that if I put off replying to it I wouldn't get a good night sleep.

I'm quite serious about the phone call. My number is 728-6928. I'll be in the Twin Cities tomorrow but please call me on Friday or the weekend. If I'm out leave your number on my answering machine and I'll call you back.


Harry Welty

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