Archive for July, 2010

Spending our Money Part 2

July 16, 2010

How did we overlook this great article in July 1 edition of the Sun Post;

Money Spent on fluff?

For months now, we’ve been subjected to the constant bleating from the usual groups that our schools are underfunded and we need to give, give, give lest the children suffer.  Imagine my consternation when I read that District 281 is now going to change the names of three schools.  Some schools now become learning centers and vice-versa.

Here is the truly maddening part; the Robbinsdale Middle School has already had several name changes- from a school to a learning center and now back to a school.  Funny, I thought schools were learning centers.  I must be old school.

How much is this going to cost?  New stationary, new building signage and the hidden costs: I.T. folks modifying the web sites and all of the other administrative costs associated with these changes.

I fail to see how changing part of the building’s name will in any way improve the school’s (learning center’s) ability to educate the students.  At a time when state and school budgets are being slashed, District 281 is one again blissfully spending on fluff.

I’ve got an idea.  When 41% of District 281 students failed the state math test and 34 %  failed reading (Star Tribune), perhaps the district should maybe, perhaps, focus on some basics instead of wasting resources like this.  According to the Star Tribune article, District 281 has not met the minimum standards since 2006.

But at least we have some nice new names on our buildings!

Wade and Julie English of New Hope

Wow!  Terrific job Mr. and Mrs. English!  When the district seeks another referendum in 2011 or 2012 (which they will even though they try and deny it of course), we can remind them of how they continue to spend our money.

Test Scores Decrease Again

July 16, 2010

From the July 15 edition of the Sun Post:

Students in Robbinsdale Area Schools scored lower on the 2010 math and reading Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment II (MCA-II) tests than district students last year, and lower than students statewide, according to results released July 1 by the Minnesota Department of Education.

However, students at the Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School in New Hope exceeded statewide scores on both math and reading, as did students at Sonnesyn Elementary in New Hope.

Students at Zachary Lane Elementary in Plymouth exceeded the statewide scores on math.

Improvement over last year’s scores occurred at seven District 281 schools:

– Armstrong High School, Plymouth: Reading scores improved

– Cooper High School, New Hope: Both math and reading scores improved

– Meadow Lake Elementary, New Hope: Both math and reading scores improved.

– Neill Elementary, Crystal: Both math and reading scores improved.

– Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion Elementary, New Hope: Both math and reading scores improved.

– Sonnesyn Elementary, New Hope: Both math and reading scores improved

– Zachary Lane Elementary, Plymouth: Both math and reading scores improved.

About the same percentage of students passed the math, reading and written composition Graduation Required Assessment for Diploma (GRAD) tests in 2010 compared to last year. Students are required to reach proficiency in the GRAD tested areas of writing, reading and math in order to receive a high school diploma.

The achievement gap between white students and minority students did not increase or decrease.

Superintendent Dr. Aldo Sicoli said the following in reaction to the test scores; “These results are not as good as we would like them to be.  We are committed to the academic success of our students. We are continuing implementation of programs that we believe will help more students improve their state test results.”

Gee, we haven’t heard that before.  I thought lower class sizes were supposedly going to bring us great results.  Poverty must be the reason we can’t score well.  Remember according to the district and their apologists poor kids are all stupid.

Spending our money….

July 1, 2010

In the July 1 edition of the Sun Post, it was reported that District 281 has reached agreements with our administration employees.  Folks, this is where the money is — listen to what these people are pulling down:

The Executive Director of Community Education, the Executive Director of Human Resources, and the Executive Director of Technology, will get more than $120,000  APIECE  for the 09-10 year.  Then their salaries will jump to nearly $130,000 for the 10-11 school year.   The Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and learning will make over $130,000 for both years and the Executive Director Educational Services is also pulling in over $130,000.  Lonnie Smith, the new Director of Business Services, will pull down $156,019 for the 10-11 school year and get $50 for his cell phone.  Dr. Sicoli’s salary is roughly $177,000 for the upcoming year as well.

Now we know we just threw a lot of numbers at you but according to our Minnesota math the district will spend  nearly $1 million on the salaries of SEVEN employees next year.  Of course this doesn’t include health insurance, retirement benefits, vacation time, or sick time.  And, though we think Lonnie Smith is an outstanding hire, at 156K is it unreasonable for him to pay for his own cell phone?