Archive for June, 2009

Wanted: Qualified School Board Candidates!

June 22, 2009

For those considering running for one of 4 open school board seats this fall, there will be a candidate info session tonight at 7:00. From RAS:

New Hope, Minn. (May 28, 2009) – On November 3, 2009 community members of  Robbinsdale Area Schools will elect four candidates to four-year terms on the school board.  Potential candidates must be at least 21 years old, a resident of the district for at least 30 days prior to the election, and be an eligible voter.

The district will host a Potential Candidate Information Session on Monday, June 22 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the boardroom at the Education Service Center, 4148 Winnetka Avenue North, New Hope.  The session will include an overview of the district, school board policy governance, school board roles and responsibilities, and campaign information.  Residents interested in running for the school board are encouraged to attend.

The first day to file for the general election is Tuesday, August 25; the last day to file is Tuesday, September 8. Candidates must file an affidavit of candidacy with the school district clerk; the fee is $2.00. A primary election will not be held. For more information, please call the district office, 763-504-8012.

This is your chance to make a difference for a getting our school district back on the success track! Please consider running.

You Do the Math

June 15, 2009

While reading Stan Mack’s page on the Robbinsdale School District’s web page, I came across an interesting fact. The web site says the following;

“He (Mack) is responsible for the education of 12,500 Kindergarten through 12th grade students and a large population of preschool and adult learners. Under his direction, the school district employs approximately 2,000 employees and manages an annual budget in excess of $130 million.”

Now I’m no math genius but does that mean we have six students per employee? OK now, before someone comments that not all these employees are teachers, we already know that. But let’s say for conversation’s sake that half of the employees are teachers. That still gives us a 12 to 1 ratio.

How can it be then that we have class sizes of 35 as the district and referendum advocates claimed? Do we have too many bus drivers? Do we have too many in the kitchen staff? Do we have too may administrators and guidance counselors? Perhaps these questions can be answered before the district come back to us for more money yet again.

LTE: “Quitters Do Prosper”

June 10, 2009

Thanks to Todd in Plymouth for a revealing letter to the editor in the Sun-Post:

The recent article in the Sun Post about the “retirement” package for Stan Mack was unbelievable. I write retirement in quotes because Stan Mack did not retire, he quit.

My neighbor retired last September and now works around the house and reads full time. He is not searching, wanting or expecting to find new employment.

We heard for the longest time that Robbinsdale Area Schools needed money to reduce class size to enhance the learning experience. It’s now apparent that Robbinsdale needed money to fund Stan Mack’s “retirement” package.

With the uncertainty on the wall about the levy passing in November, Stan Mack announced his “retirement” to help insure the passage of the levy. He realized that if he was removed from the equation, it had a better chance of passing, and he needed its passage in order to fund his precious “retirement” package.

Once again, even with the voter-approved levy, our students suffer. Money that should go into the system to improve student performance and graduation rates is only siphoned by the exiting superintendent. This is worse than the bonus money provided to Wall Street executives.

I guess quitters do prosper. Not only am I utterly disappointed with Stan Mack, I believe we need to hold the entire School Board accountable for wasting the levy funds on a false retirement. It’s time for an across-the-board change of leadership for Robbinsdale Area Schools.

We’ve heard that he may be getting a job with the state. So even more of our taxes could go to “retired” Stan Mack.

Stan Mack makes an appearance, ruins a lunch

June 5, 2009

A Sandburg staffer reported Wednesday (last day of school) that box lunches were brought in for staff.  Stan Mack showed up and took the principal’s box lunch (clearly marked with the principal’s name). When the principal hinted with humor about his missing lunch, Mack continued eating without acknowledging (or apologizing for) his actions.

As a public service to those who might dine with Mack in the future, we consulted “WikiHow,” where they provide tips on stopping people from stealing your lunch at school. Here are a few:

  1. Try hiding your lunch in a classmate’s gym bag. This may backfire when everyone else finds out.
  2. Keep your lunch in your backpack. Learn to love squashed food.
  3. Get a combination lock.
  4. Add some nasty ingredients to the food. This will, of course, render it useless and at the same time teach people a lesson (roach livers would be nice).
  5. Depending on how much of a sadist you are, upon discovering it missing, say that you have a medical condition, then use the placebo effect as you faint, have a seizure, or even use it as an excuse to skip school/work due to your “condition.”

We’re quite confident that these tips won’t be necessary when Dr. Sicoli visits a school.

What will happen with the Unions?

June 5, 2009

With Dr. Sicoli inking his recent three-year contract, one question still remains: What will the employees get in upcoming contract negotiations? In District 281, 70-80 percent of the expenses are related to employees which covers salaries, wages, heath benefits, pensions etc. The bottom line is that people are our largest expense. The largest source of revenue for the district comes from the state of Minnesota, and it seems pretty clear that we aren’t getting any more from them in the next two-year cycle.

So that begs one question; what kind of a deal will the employees get? The governor has suggested freezing salaries as opposed to laying people off. That sounds reasonable, but District 281 has a slight problem: they gave Dr. Sicoli a 2 percent increase in his salary. How can the district give the superintendent a raise and give the teachers unions nothing? Chances are the unions are expecting a raise no matter what the economic situation. 281 Exposed knows that we have closed three schools, passed a referendum, and sold the Lincoln school property — but the reality is that we spend the most money on people, not buildings. So do the math and ask yourself this: How can our largest expense continue to increase while our largest source of revenue stays flat (or adjusting to inflation) decreases?

It is a trend that can’t continue. We can expect the district to be going right back to the taxpayers of this area, claiming they are once again broke (as they have in three of the past seven years). Everyone else will be to blame, except the district itself.