Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Don't blame Medtronic, thank the DFL

Photo by Kalikkio, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/
Photo by Kalikkio, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

In a one-sided story, “Medtronic deal could sting for long-time shareholders,” the Strib again plays the big, bad corporation against the innocent “little guy” — but the real villain (hero?) is left unnamed.
“The thing that bothers me the most is that this is a Minneapolis-based company that depended on the Minnesota investment community for its initial financing, that attracted investment from Minnesota investors first,” Cohen said. “The ones that were there in the beginning are the ones that are going to get screwed.”...

Howard Richards, a certified financial planner at Securus Wealth Management in Plymouth, offers a worst-case scenario: a taxpayer subject to the top federal capital gains rate of 20 percent, an Obama­care tax of 3.8 percent and Minnesota’s top marginal rate of 9.85 percent.
Medtronic shareholders, who will be required to sell all of their shares (some at large gains over the purchase price) when the Covidien deal closes, should be thanking Congressional Democrats, Governor Dayton, and state DFL lawmakers for Obamacare, bailouts, MNCare, light rail trains that unite Minneapolis and Saint Paul, a new Senate Legislative Office Building, statues, fountains, civic centers, stadiums, the arts, regulatory burdens, and the overall quality of life that taxes make possible.

If we didn't tax capital gains at these confiscatory rates, it would only encourage large and small investors alike to invest more in the private enterprises of their choice. That would leave less wealth for redistribution by federal, state, and regional agencies, for the greater good. Ditto for ever-higher taxes on corporate profits.

Besides that, how fair is it to those less fortunate when you risk your own money in a small startup like Medtronic, and the stock increases in value over time as the company provides innovative goods or services that people want? You shareholders didn't actually do anything to deserve your windfall. How could anything that you would buy with that “free money” possibly be better than increasing the size and scope of government?

Quit whining about your first-world problems, Medtronic shareholders: you're rich. You'll still have well over half of your obscene profit even after taxes. For the greater good, share the wealth. Medtronic should be proud to pay the highest corporate tax rate in the world. You should be asking to be taxed more, not less. You should be voting Democrat.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

McFadden for Senate at Edina Parade

Photo: Mike McFadden for U.S. Senate campaign
One of my favorite campaign activities is walking in a parade to support a candidate, so it was a great pleasure to join the large group of energetic campaign volunteers of Mike McFadden for U.S. Senate at the Edina Parade last Friday, July 4.

It was perfect weather for a parade, which attracted thousands of spectators along 50th Street. Outfitted in our McFadden for Senate shirts, all we had to do was wave McFadden campaign signs and hand out campaign stickers to mostly eager tots ten years or more before they will cast their first votes for public office. It was a fun walk and great exercise to boot. We also got lots of smiles and verbal encouragement from the voting-age adults in the crowd.

The candidate himself was appearing in the parade in Delano, scheduled at the same time as the Edina Parade. The two campaign teams were to reunite later that day in Brainerd to walk in that town's Independence Day parade.

In front of us in line was Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, waving from a Hennepin County Water Patrol boat in tow.

It was also fun to greet Jeff Johnson and his family, and various members of team Johnson, on their way to the Johnson for Governor spot in the parade lineup.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Part of the problem

Proposed Senate Legislative Office Buiding (architect's rendering)

Republicans have been having a field day over the proposed $90 million Senate Legislative Office Building (or SLOB, even better than the acronym for the current State Office Building, SOB). The edifice was, apparently legally, slipped into a tax bill at the very end of the 2013 session without a single hearing in the House. The SLOB was not funded in the tax bill just signed by Gov. Dayton, but that funding could still come with a vote by the House Rules Committee. Meanwhile, HF 2800 and SF 2808 have been introduced to repeal the construction authority for the building.

With some DFL legislators and even Gov. Dayton expressing concerns over the price tag and some of the proposed building's amenities, the building and the way it was rushed through the process has been red meat for partisan Republicans. 

All six Republican gubernatorial endorsement candidates publicly expressed their opposition to the building, instead advocating for the Capitol Preservation Commission proposal for temporary facilities during the restoration and then moving the senators back into the Capitol. 

The House GOP Caucus has focused attention on Gov. Dayton, pointing out that the Governor's office would receive a 62% more office space than their current Capitol digs. (Seriously??)


Yet the Legislature is pressed for enough office and hearing room space to conduct business and enable citizen participation, even before renovations soon require some senators to vacate their Capitol offices. According to former state Rep. Jim Knoblach in a StarTribune op ed, sensible solutions could exist in unused or rearranged spaces in the SOB. So why buy new when slightly used will do?

The "extravagant" amenities and architecture of the current SLOB proposal are only part of the problem. Let's hope that the building's critics will be part of the solution.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Home opener

Ryan Rutzick (campaign photo)
Ryan Rutzick
With the rolling back of the tarps to reveal the grassroots of the Minnesota political parties at the precinct caucuses, we named our starting lineups (precinct officers and delegates to the BPOU convention) and debated party platform planks. Last Saturday at Wayzata High School, Senate District 44 Republicans met at their convention to endorse candidates, elect delegates to the Third Congressional District and state conventions, and generally perpetuate the American experiment of self-government.

Delegates endorsed incumbent HD44A Rep. Sarah Anderson for reelection, while small business owner Ryan Rutzick won the endorsement for the open seat in HD44B. Anderson is the well-loved and respected, hard-working four-term representative from Plymouth. Newcomer Rutzick introduced himself and his family with enthusiasm and a commanding public presence. He seems to have the energy, determination, and communication skills to connect with voters and finish the campaign season marathon that will begin in earnest after the legislature adjourns sine die in April or so.

Meanwhile, Kelsey Johnson (@kelsaljohnson) reported via Twitter that our counterparts in the DFL apparently adjourned their convention without endorsing any of the three candidates vying to succeed the retiring Rep. John Benson in HD44B. Johnson also reported that the Dems endorsed Audrey Britton to again challenge Sarah Anderson in HD44A.

I am happy to report that my Plymouth precinct had a full delegation present, but not so happy to report that none of our fellow House District 44B precincts did. Many candidates for Congressional district and state convention delegate from "the B side" revealed their support for Jeff Johnson for governor, while others said they were undecided. (The Johnson campaign was the only campaign to circulate a "slate," which is a list of delegates pledged to endorse him at the state convention.) Most delegate candidates seemed to be still vetting the U.S. Senate candidates, but most who mentioned a name said they were supporting or "leaning toward" fourth-term Minnesota Sen. Julianne Ortman (SD47). Sen. Ortman mingled with delegates Saturday morning as they registered for the convention, grabbed a Caribou coffee and a doughnut, and made their way to their seats.

The ever-present Rep. Erik Paulsen (CD3) greeted delegates as usual — it seems he never misses an SD44 convention, and like his predecessor Jim Ramstad, is always accompanied by his orange-shirted campaign staff. Paulsen will stand for his endorsement vote at the Third Congressional District Convention on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. at Maple Grove Senior High School.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The "Education Governor"

K-12 education consumes 41% of our state's 2014-2015 budget, the largest category by 11 percent next to health & human services. Education policy is a crucial component of how our next governor will lead, and is directly linked to the performance of our economy and quality of life in our state.

Say what you will about former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but I will always harbor some loyalty to him for his part in replacing the process-centered Profile of Learning state education standards, which were put into place largely by administrative rule under the Jesse Ventura administration with little or no input from the Legislature. Pawlenty's administration replaced The Profile with knowledge-based academic standards, and enabled school districts to use the Q Comp pay-for-performance system for teachers instead of the "steps and lanes" system favored by the teachers unions, which rewards seniority and continuing education.

Jeff Johnson, candidate for the Republican endorsement for governor, published a challenging blog post Monday, "We Are All In This Together," in observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. He challenged us all, Democrats and Republicans, and everyone else, to not be satisfied with just having a diverse cast "at the table." He challenged Minnesotans to pursue education policies that have shown actual results in closing the achievement gap, instead of policies that simply follow party or ideological orthodoxy.

As Ronald Reagan famously observed, when government expands, liberty contracts. So it is with the so-called Common Core standards, like No Child Left Behind, yet another attempt to impose curriculum and standards onto local school districts. The State of Minnesota and its school districts have plenty of experts in curriculum and instruction to ensure world-class academics in our public schools. We do not need Common Core. I will be calling on all of the candidates for governor to earn my vote in the primary election by saying "no" to Common Core.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas, My Friend

Lone Survivor © 2013 Universal Pictures


North Star Liberty dedicates this poem to all active duty, Reserve, and National Guard soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard who stand upon a wall and say, "Nothing's going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch." God bless you all this Christmas season, and always.

by Marine Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt (1986)

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live.

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.




Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Wayzata school board endorsements

"Who are you voting for in the school board election?"

Residents of the Wayzata school district, many of whom (us included) intentionally moved into the district so their kids could enroll in Wayzata Public Schools, will again have some good choices in this year's school board election. It's a large field: nine candidates vying for three open seats. How to narrow the field?

I asked all nine candidates to respond to three questions about the upcoming bonding referendum which would fund a new elementary school and a major expansion of the high school, accountability for curriculum, and the state of Minnesota eliminating basic skills testing for students and teachers. Returning the questionnaire were (in alphabetical order): Derek Diesen, Sarah Johansen, David Lloyd, Chris McCullough, Bill Pritchard, and Ted Victor. You can view their responses in my posts from last week. I hope their answers will inform your vote. Candidates Andrea Cuene, Dan Haugen, and Phil Napier did not respond.

The value of published endorsements depends on who is doing the endorsing: are they people you trust and respect, or are they just political supporters? I found some consensus among three outgoing and former school board members whom I trust: Susan Gaither, John Moroz, and Greg Rye. I was pleasantly surprised to also find an endorsement from our kids' former principal at Birchview Elementary School, Dr. Tom Koch. Dr. Koch was well-liked and respected during his tenure (and he had a tough act to follow in current Wayzata High School principal Mike Trewick).

The individuals in this group endorsed one, two, or three candidates in letters to the editor published in the Plymouth Sun Sailor newspaper. Their consensus was to support Chris McCullough, Ted Victor, and Sarah Johansen. All three of these candidates have already served this district for many years, including the Citizens' Financial Advisory Council (CFAC) for Victor and McCullough, the Citizens' Facilities Task Force for McCullough and Johansen, and the Legislative Action Committee (LAC) for Johansen. Their knowledge, experience, and commitment to the district would enable each of them to hit the ground running to help the Wayzata schools meet the financial, facilities, and academic challenges it will face in the years ahead.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wayzata school board candidates: student and teacher accountability

Question 3. During the most recent session, the Minnesota Legislature removed the requirement that high school students pass a minimum skills test (known as the GRAD test) in order to graduate, and removed the requirement that teachers pass a basic skills test in order to become licensed. In light of these changes, what can local school districts including Wayzata do to ensure the high academic outcomes and teaching standards that residents have come to expect?

Derek Diesen

Local control is the only way to ensure success. I must admit this is the first I have heard of this GRAD and teacher basic skills test requirement being removed. However, if the school board sets the curriculum and then measures it's success we will be able to continue to ensure high academic outcomes.

Sarah Johansen

Wayzata has always had more rigorous requirements for graduation than required by the state. With the implementation of our Q Comp program several years ago, continuous improvement and further education for our teachers is required for them to receive any increase in their compensation. I feel very strongly that we must ensure that every student who attends Wayzata Public Schools is supported in reaching their fullest potential and graduates ready for college or the career of their choice. It is essential that the Board and administration work together to continuously evaluate our educational program and develop and use measures that work for Wayzata and our deepest commitment to excellence.

David Lloyd

The District is very engaged in wanting success for our students. We hire many experienced teachers. I'm confident at this point in our human resources process. Neither of the issues you note in this question are a priority in my view.

Chris McCullough

I believe that there are probably already too many tests given to our students. That said, I do believe that having a minimum skills test in order to graduate and to teach, should be required. We are fortunate in the Wayzata School District to have great teachers who have traditionally passed these tests, and we are also fortunate that the great education our children receive, coupled with the tremendous support most children get from their families and the broader community, have allowed our students to exceed these minimum requirements. It will be important for families and our community to continue to demand high standards for all, and as we continue to attract the “best and brightest” students and teachers to our District, we must continue to strive for excellence for each and every student.

Bill Pritchard

The District is facing steady and continuous growth, and I believe it is fortunate we have a highly dedicated base of educators, staff, volunteers and administrators. I respect the honest, dedicated, ethical and efforts of these individuals, and believe they are truly committed to ensuring all students receive the best quality and excellence of education possible. The District’s top priority is and should remain foremost its students.

Ted Victor

Wayzata demands excellence in their hiring process. They offer support to their teachers in several ways. Teachers that are probationary must achieve before earning tenure. Teachers have peer group mentors that monitor and assist when needed to achieve excellence. The district provides required staff development for all teachers to maintain a teaching license. Our department chairs, principals, curriculum specialists, superintendent, and board of education have their fingers on the heartbeat so as to provide what ever is necessary to create the best education for all students. With all these support systems in place excellence in teaching will remain in the district.

I’m confident that our high school graduates do not need to take a GRAD test. Approximately ninety percent of our students are attending post secondary education.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wayzata school board candidates: curriculum

Question 2. In apparent contradiction with state statutes (123B.09) the Wayzata School Board has delegated full authority for curriculum matters to the Superintendent. He, in turn, has delegated this authority to the curriculum and teaching staff. Curriculum issues presented to the school board (such as integrated math, state standards, International Baccalaureate, and Common Core curriculum) are directed to non-elected curriculum and building staff, without action or discussion by the board. Do you think this is appropriate? Why or why not?

Derek Diesen

The number one reason I became involved was because of curriculum. A few years ago my son was diagnosed with dyslexia and we really struggled to get him the help he needed. His teachers at Sunset Hill were amazing and worked hard with, and for Andy. The problem was the district didn’t have the systems in place to identify his issues soon enough and support his different style of learning. I feel like I have a responsibility to other families to share what we learned and help guide changes so other children and their families don’t go through what we did. I believe it is the duty of the school board to set the curriculum and evaluate its success.

Sarah Johansen

It is my understanding that a sub-committee of the board meets at least monthly with the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning (Dr. Jill Johnson) and most often, the Superintendent to discuss curricular issues and the full board receives this information at the work sessions. Each curricular area goes through an exhaustive 3 year process of evaluation, recommendation and implementation about every 6 years. All findings and recommendations are presented to and voted on by the board. I believe that it is the job of the school board to work in partnership with the administration to provide accountability and support for the education of our students. If elected I will work hard to learn as much as I can about the process and challenge our District to ensure that we continue to meet or exceed our requirements.

David Lloyd

I think the real issue is keeping the Board engaged in curriculum issues. This is important so we have the appropriate programs determined at a local level for the students to succeed long term. I'm not comfortable with this arrangement and would want the Board to be more involved in curriculum than you state is currently the case.

Chris McCullough

The School Board, as elected representatives of the District, very clearly should have a strong say in curriculum matters. Based on what I know, there appears to be a good partnership between the School Board and the District Administration pertaining to curriculum matters. To me, assuming that state law does not preclude it, this “partnership” seems like a balanced and sensible approach. The Board, even as a collective, may not have the same level of expertise that the professional educators and administrators in the School District have about curriculum matters. And as I noted above, the School Board, as elected representatives, very clearly should have a strong say in curriculum matters.

Bill Pritchard

I don’t believe the Board has delegated full authority for curriculum and/or personnel matters to the Superintendent, or should it. The seven Board Member mandate is to make and oversees the District’s budget, curriculum, personnel and physical facilities.

I believe that the operation of the District organization is much like a business and as a business, the Superintendent acts much likes its CEO, and is accountable to the Board.

Ted Victor

First, the District has hired a Superintendent and the Superintendent has hired educational professionals to create, develop and implement curriculum per the requirements of the state Department of Education. The Superintendent is responsible to make sure the curriculum is appropriate and meets the state guidelines and it is being correctly and consistently implemented. Any elementary or middle school student that switches district schools should be continuing with the same curriculum in the new school as the student had in his or her previous school.

Second, the Board needs to hold the Superintendent, and the appointed curriculum staff accountable for the consistency of the curriculum. That information should be reported to the Board on a regular basis. Items such as integrated math, state standards, International Baccalaureate, and Common Core curriculum need to be explained to the Board with a recommendation and supporting evidence allowing the Board to make the final decisions. The Board’s job is to acknowledge the recommendations of the experts; teachers and directors of curriculum. The final decision may or may not support the recommendation by the Superintendent.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wayzata school board candidates: bond referendum

Three seats on the Wayzata School Board are up for election next Tuesday, November 5. Earlier this month, I sent three questions to the nine candidates. Here, in alphabetical order by candidate name, are the responses I received to the first question. As I advised the candidates, I made some minor edits for length and journalistic style.

Question 1: The Wayzata School Board is considering approval of a February referendum to provide bonding (debt) for a new elementary school, additions to the high school, and other infrastructure improvements. If the school board approves the referendum, will you be supportive of it? Why or why not?

Update: The same week that I emailed the questionnaire to the candidates, the Wayzata School Board passed a referendum to ask the voters on February 25, 2014 to approve a $109.65 million dollar bond (debt).

Derek Diesen

I support some of the referendum, for example I believe we need a new elementary school immediately. Elementary schools are the backbone of our community. It’s what brings a neighborhood together. Kids need to attend the school that’s in their own neighborhood. It also takes pressure off transportation and start times.

However, the way the referendum is written, I would vote no. I am against the proposed high school addition. It is already mega-sized and there are better ways to meet the needs of such a large, diverse population of students. Having two schools is an opportunity for Wayzata. Two schools wouldn’t need to compete, they could complement each other. I think we can be fair without being the same.

We have what I refer to as first-class problems. We have a growing population, a highly sought after district and a community that wants what’s best for their kids. My biggest concern is that not all voices are heard when a district gets so large. I feel a responsibility to the voices of kids in special education, junior varsity sports and industrial arts classes.

Sarah Johansen

The school board unanimously approved the referendum on Monday, October 14th and I fully support their decision. In the face of unprecedented growth in our District, we must ensure that we have the resources to meet our growing numbers. The approved plan is the most fiscally responsible decision to address our current and future needs.

David Lloyd

The difficult parts of the referendum are the amount to be borrowed of approximately $109 million and the resulting size of the high school to educate approximately 3900 students. I understand the administration and the committees they appointed feel they have worked hard to analyze and recommend this referendum. There are good people on both sides of this debate. I've enjoyed meeting and communicating with everybody I've encountered in this campaign.

Let's discuss the amount first. The amount of borrowing and the length of time of approximately twenty years in paying back this debt is a concern. We have a culture in our country that we should borrow as long as possible to keep the payment as low as possible. Of course, the longer the term of borrowing, the higher the interest cost. My sense is we have the wealth in the District to shorten the length of time to pay back this debt and give us cash flow options further down the road if we need funds for some other project.

While I understand and admire the confidence of the administration and Board to increase the high school to 3900 students and maintain quality, this will still be a considerable task. Common sense tells me that this size of school is not ideal to take on the achievement gap. Many students have parents with significant ability to fund outside coaching, mentoring, tutoring, etc. Children caught in the achievement gap need to secure opportunity in the existing school structure. 700 more students won't be easy to manage in actually conquering the achievement gap. Approximately 15% of our students have already been identified as qualifying for meal assistance. I'm concerned more students will have difficulties in a school of this size.

I have concern more funds in the referendum are earmarked for physical education and a performing arts center than will be used to create classroom space for the high school. I have not gained any sense from listening to the administration, Board or committee members that educational needs such as STEM or options for students not headed to college have been considered in this process. The ECM Editorial Board just wrote a piece discussing that since college has become so expensive many should embrace non-four year post secondary programs. It is sad affordability outweighs ability in pursuing post secondary education. But, the reality is that high schools long term will need to address this issue. I don't sense the referendum considers this issue.

The growth in the District is an opportunity to think as far ahead as the term of the bonds we may be issuing. There is time before the vote in February to bring the District together on these issues. I would work hard towards addressing these issues if I were elected to the Board. I need to see that occur in order to support the referendum.

Chris McCullough

I intend to vote “yes” on the funding question on February 25, 2014. We have outgrown our existing facilities and the growth trends are not projected to slow down anytime soon. We cannot continue to try to educate our students (and expect our teachers and staff to do the same) in crowded classrooms.

Having served on the Citizens Task Force on Facilities, I personally reviewed the data and engaged in hours of detailed discussions (sometimes debates) with other members of the Task Force in an effort to understand and scrutinize the data, propose and analyze various options, and — ultimately — reach consensus on our recommendation to the School Board. I recognized as a member of the Task Force, and plainly acknowledge, that our recommendations may not be perfect. After all, all models and projections require assumptions. That said, we reached consensus on our recommendation based on the best available data and analysis. And I stand by that recommendation and will vote “yes” on February 25.

Bill Pritchard

While the Wayzata School District is fortunate to be experiencing a steady growing student population, which does contribute to the sound fiscal state of the district, it also creates a challenge when managing to balance the student population within its facilities.

The District in all likelihood not if, but, when, needs to embark on its largest capital improvement project in recent history. With over twenty years in the construction industry and having personally been involved with several large residential capital improvement projects, it is important that the District be prepared and represented in this area. As a business and financial professional, I understand the budgeting processes, the operating complexities of large organizations. I will work hard to diligently ensure the processes are openly communicated and strive to seek cost effective solutions and to enable all stakeholders to have a voice.

I support the referendum for the following reasons:
  • Most of our schools are at capacity
  • The current Wayzata High school will grow by over 900 students in the next 10 years
  • The State’s recent decision to fund all day Kindergartner will create an addition need for over 14-16 classrooms
  • More students are moving into the District
  • More housing, in the past 4 years 1200 new homes in the District and in the next 4 years an estimate 1600 homes to be built

Ted Victor

I fully support the Board’s decision. The original bond issue to have one high school was approved and passed by voters and a previous school board. The Minnesota Department of Education will only approve a school to take care of the current need, resulting in a small high school. We are unable to make equal size schools because that would create unused capacity in the current high school by moving students to the new school.

Additionally, two schools open a myriad of problems that will affect the community for years to come; open enrollment issues between the schools, community division, boundary issues for what elementary and middle schools feed which high school and the ultimate decision of is each school being treated equally and fairly.

The infrastructure improvements are necessary to correct current safety issues. Controlling the access of the public to the schools is necessary for the safety of the students and the staff. Some schools currently have this control and other do not. It needs to be consistent throughout the District schools.

The addition of an elementary school in the northern part of the District must be done for two reasons. First, with the passing and funding of all day kindergarten by the legislature, additional space is needed just to meet the current and incoming kindergarten population. Secondly, this will allow elementary students in the northern part of the district to attend school closer to home. This will decrease the need to bus students past closer elementary schools to other elementary schools that may have capacity for them. This will also create new boundary issues as new boundaries for each elementary school will need to be established.