Regarding the closure of yet another state-operated services program and Rep. John Ward's legislation, the program is not closed yet. Act now! How many families will have to drive to Fargo, N.D., to see their child because the leaders of state-operated services have failed, again, to effectively lead?
Money can be saved
Now is a good time for Brainerd to consider if a superintendent is needed. What does the position do to warrant such a salary and expense account? Is an assistant superintendent really needed for a school district of this size? What does that position do? What is the purpose of the school board compared to the superintendent and assistant superintendent? I believe money can be saved trimming one or both of these positions and the support staff that goes with them.
Slap in the face
You showed us career and technical education programs have taken a huge hit in previous years when you stopped replacing retiring teachers from these programs. Now you hit them unfairly with your present cuts. When two teachers who were to stay quit or retired, you gave these spots to teachers outside this department. Now you're creating classes that should've been taught by the teachers who are now gone. How ethical is this? If there was room for these classes, they should be taught by the teachers who felt either pushed out or fired. What a slap in the face.
What's good for us is good for you
You wouldn't listen to us when we told you what we wanted. We told you not to ask for the moon. Our community has lost jobs. We told you how top-heavy your organization is. Now you want us to tell you if we're taking our children elsewhere so you can plan for next year. I encourage the community to do what the school administration/school board has done. Don't listen. Don't tell them your plans. Consider charter schools, Area Education Center, other high schools and going post-secondary. Let them know what it feels like to not be heard.
Question on ATVs
Why is the county land department allowing the all-terrain vehicle clubs to put up open trail signs that end at swamp land? The first place to check would be the Wolf Lake area. Is there something going on that the county board and no one wants us to know? I'd just like to know why would you put a trail that ends in a swamp and want to protect wetlands?
I'm still wondering where all of the non-smokers are at? All I see is the same people at the local taverns. C'mon, non-smokers, this law is for you. Start drinking! If you don't, I see no reason the law shouldn't be repealed. I believe the bars are hurting because the customers, and usually the bartender, are miserable outside smoking instead of enjoying themselves inside. I believe it should be left up to the establishment (like many other states).
Why does C-I struggle?
Most local school districts continue to offer a quality education and many activities for kids. Most without any excess levy. Look at Aitkin, Pequot, Pine River, etc. C-I has a $550 plus per student excess levy that will be in place for many more years. It was passed just before the teachers' strike. Why does C-I struggle? No. 1: The teacher walkout invited 400-plus kids to look for a better place to learn. No. 2: The remaining nearly $1/2 million dollar per year payment to the teacher's union for early retirees comes out of the classroom. We need an open discussion about these facts.
The Crosby-Ironton School District will contribute $315,000 to the group VEBA in 2007-08, a settlement for retiring teachers as part of the 2005 teachers' strike, according to the district. This amount will increase each year, until it reaches $400,000 in 2012-13. It will stay at $400,000 from 2012-2013 through 2017-18 and will be paid off in 2018-2019 with a contribution of $134,426. C-I's current operating levy is $405 per pupil unit. Aitkin doesn't have an excess levy but Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus school districts have a $1 per pupil levy that allows them to access some equity revenue. Only about 10 districts in the state have this type of operating levy. The rest, about 90 percent of Minnesota school districts, have larger operating levies, said Pequot Lakes Business Manager Rick Skogen.
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