Archive for June, 2011

District Approves $178 Million Budget

June 30, 2011

From the Sun Post;

Despite the uncertainties of state funding, the Robbinsdale District 281 School Board on June 20 adopted a $178.8 million expenditure budget for 2011-12.  Revenue totaling $171.1 million is projected as of this month, according to Lonnie Smith, District 281’s executive director of business services.  “We had to take an educated estimate at what the revenue might be,” Smith said. “We were conservative. We made a conservative estimate of expenditures and revenue, and we held the line.”  He noted, however, that lunch prices will increase by 10 cents each on average in 2011-12, the first increase in three years.

Even with flat expenditures, revenue will decrease, Smith said.  The school district’s largest fund, the general fund, is projected at expenditures of $127.8 million, Smith said. Eighty-one percent of that fund goes to salaries, wages and employee benefits.  In addition to the general fund, the other five funds comprising the budget and their projected expenditures for 2011-12 include debt service, $16.494 million; building construction, $14.1 million; community services, $7.855 million; capital expenditure, $6.362 million; and child nutrition, $6.155 million.

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Parents United DFL and the LAC-DFL Sing the Same Tune

June 24, 2011

The Parents United for Public Schools DFL has put out yet another scare letter to their members;

Since May 23, the state budget debate has been the topic of conversation online, on radio talk shows, neighbor and family debates, numerous letters to the editor and op ed pieces. The issues surrounding this debate are deeply rooted. Governor Dayton responded to legislative leaders in his most current letter dated June 20.  Frustration abounds and the partisan attacks make one leery to enter the battle.

Outside of the Capitol several are weighing in with ideas and plans that might move the debate along. The most recent poll shows 63% of the public believe a balanced approach is prudent. Several ideas are laid out in Thursday’s Star Tribune by former Independence candidate for Lt. Governor, Jim Mulder.

Yes tax the rich and watch our jobs go to South Dakota.  Wow, what a new idea!  Funny how they don’t mention the most recent KSTP Survey USA poll;

Going forward, should Minnesota’s government increase spending? Decrease spending? Or continue to spend about the same amount as it has been?
8% Increase
60% Decrease
27% About The Same
5% Not Sure

Would making cuts to state services be acceptable? Or unacceptable? To you?
61% Acceptable
31% Unacceptable
8% Not Sure

So maybe it depends on how you ask the question.  Parents United also doesn’t mention that Republicans have offered to meet Governor Dayton education demands if he will cut other areas, but of course the governor won’t.

Now they tell you to be active;

Don’t walk away—this is a CRITICAL time.
To divert a shutdown, we need a huge outcry from Minnesota.

Email your legislators—we need a compromise

Call them with this message—we need a compromise

  • No one wants to see further cuts
  • No one wins without a compromise
  • No one wants to see Minnesota shut its doors

No one wants cuts?  According to the KSTP Survey USA poll 61% of Minnesotans want cuts and 60% want less spending!  We guess that’s no one.

No one wins without a compromise?  How about the taxpayers?  Oh that’s right; if you don’t want to pay more, and more, and more, and more then you don’t care about the children.

And this one sounds awfully familiar;

Critical dates to keep in mind:

  • June 30, without a budget, the state shuts down
  • July 4, when all of a sudden everyone who want to use our great parks get angry when they aren’t open
  • And believe it or not, the first day of school

Where have we heard this scare tactic; oh that’s right our own Robbinsdale LAC-DFL!  And can someone tell us what the parks not being open has to do with education?

New Director of Business Services Starts

June 15, 2011

From the district’s website www.rdale.org

Jeff Priess joined Robbinsdale Area Schools as the new Executive Director of Business Services on June 13, 2011.  Jeff comes to Robbinsdale with over 27 years of experience in Minnesota school district finance and school district operations, and has served the last four years as Director of Finance for the Farmington Area Schools.  During Priess’ tenure in Farmington, he has led successful efforts to stabilize district finances through many cost savings initiatives; the district has been recognized as a leader in various areas and has earned the ASBO Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting.

Priess earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and subsequently earned a certificate as a Certified Public Accountant from the Minnesota State Board of Accountancy.  He resides in Buffalo with his wife Lynn, and Kirby, an Australian Shepherd; and has two sons- one attending Augsburg College and one attending the University of Minnesota.

LAC Advocates for Dayton’s Budget

June 8, 2011

In the June edition of the Legislative Action Coalition Newsletter, the partisan LAC calls on you to support Mark Dayton’s budget!

As called for in the Minnesota Constitution, on Monday, May 23rd the 2011 Legislative Session ended. It ended without legislative leaders and Governor Dayton finding agreement on how to fund schools, public safety, economic development, human services and other state needs. A special session will be called by the Governor sometime soon to solve our budget impasse.

Then come the scare tactics;

Critical dates to keep in mind:

·  June 30 When, without a budget, the state shuts down.

·  July 4 When all of a sudden everyone who wants to use our
great parks get angry when they aren’t open.

·  And, believe it or not, the first day of school, Sept 6th.
In a government shutdown, schools receive their per-pupil
formula, but little else. How well that will work?

Now here is the kicker;

For education to move forward we need to reach compromise on these two education bills. This discussion will be wrapped up in the compromise of the whole budget deficit solution. Education funding is not a done deal and we need to stay informed and let the Governor and our legislators know how we feel about what is being proposed and its impact on Robbinsdale Area Schools,
our students and their future.

What Can You Do?

Contact Governor Dayton and let him know you support his compromise on the budget. Ask him to remain tough in his resolve for a balanced solution to our budget problems.

Let Dayton know you support him and ask him to remain tough?  So if you don’t support Dayton’s you must not care about the children!  Support a balanced solution?  In other words, advocate more taxes, as if we don’t already pay enough!  If higher taxes were the solution to a balanced budget then states like California, New York, and Michigan should have huge surpluses and robust job growth.  Why don’t they?

Perhaps we’ll just call them the LAC-DFL from now on.


Magent School Info

June 7, 2011

From http://www.rdale.org

The Magnets/Partnerships Sub-Committee has continued to meet regarding possible magnet opportunities, and are planning to present a final report to the School Board in August.  The committee actively sought input from the community through surveys done in late 2010, and through a community informational night on April 27th, where a small survey was conducted as well.  For more information on the survey results in 2010, please refer to the School Board minutes from December 13, 2010.  The results of the April 27th survey as well as the handout used in the April 27th presentation, are posted below.  The public also posed questions both before, during and after the April 27th informational session.  Answers to those questions can be found by clicking on the Magnet F.A.Q. link below. 

For more information, please contact Tia Clasen, Marketing and Communications Program Director,
at 763-504-8029 or email her at tia_clausen@rdale.org.

Here are the district’s links;

Magnet Survey Results and Analysis

Magnet FAQs

Magnets/Partnership Committee meeting handout

Obama Administration Comes Out of the Closet

June 7, 2011

Once again from cnsnews.com

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke at the first “Federal LGBT Youth Summit” on Monday after being introduced by a homosexual on her staff, who said the secretary “gets us” and is “tireless” in her support of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender youth.  “Your federal government has finally come out of the closet in support of LGBT youth,” said Pam Hyde, HHS administrator for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.  “It’s great to see so many young faces out there, all gay and proud,” Hyde said.  Sebelius congratulated the teens and 20-somethings for attending the summit and said the goal of the summit was to “really tackle the issues facing the LGBT youth in our country.”

The LGBT Youth Summit was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and is being held at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. on June 6 and 7.  “Since President Obama took office in January 2009 he has led a commitment, shared by all those in his administration, to make sure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have a chance to reach their full potential,” Sebelius said.

Sebelius said LGBT people have a “strong voice” and that the Obama administration hears it.  “I want to tell you, you have a friend in this administration, who will stand beside you each and every step along the way,” Sebelius said.  Sebelius also said LGBT youth are more likely to experience depression, thoughts of suicide, have other emotional problems or abuse drugs or alcohol.

“We know these behaviors are not the result of who these young people are,” Sebelius said. “They are the result of what’s happening to them.”  Sebelius went on to say a federal interagency taskforce is partnering the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Agriculture, Defense, Interior and Justice to come up with strategies and programs to fight bullying.

Sebelius also said the health care law signed into law by the Obama administration will encourage health care providers to address the “unique needs” of LGBT patients and will make health care workers “culturally competent” to deal with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients.  She also said the HHS is working with the federal child welfare system to “place LGBT children in loving homes.”  She concluded her remarks by saying she wanted to speak directly to the young people in attendance, many of whom sat at tables with adults, including moderator Kevin Jennings, a gay activist and Obama official in the Department of Education who is leaving his post at the end of the week to take a job with a non-profit group.

“Keep up your amazing work and know you have strong partners here in D.C.,” Sebelius said.  The two-day summit includes a wide range of “break-out” sessions that were not open to the media, despite the summit being sponsored by the Department of Education. A program for the summit listed the sessions, which included other federal officials and staff from the HHS, the Department of Education, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Topics for the breakout sessions ranged from bullying to  “programs creating safe environments and reducing risk behaviors.”  A large number of gay advocate groups are also involved in the summit, including the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network – which was founded by Jennings  Other participants include the National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Health, the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, the National Education Association, Advocates for Youth, American Federation of Teachers and the Human Rights Campaign.  The summit packet distributed at the event included photos by Rachelle Lee Smith, a gay activist who also displayed her poster/photos at the invitation of Jennings, Smith told CNSNews.com.

The posters feature homosexual young people with messages about their sexual behavior.  In one of Smith’s photographs, a person named “Michael” says: “So what do you think? Ever been black before? Ever been gay? Ever been both? Try it!”  A photograph of “Max” says: “In high school I dated boys. I was a straight girl. After starting college, I indentified as a card-carrying dyke. Soon I realized that what I was feeling wasn’t about sexual orientation, it was about gender. I came out as a guy the summer of ’99. Now I live my life as a gay man – a punk rock queer boy who happens to also be in love with a girl. Who knows? Maybe next year I’ll grow a tail.”  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is scheduled to speak at the event, organized by his agency, on Tuesday.

The LGBT youth summit?  Once again, this is not about educating, its about social engineering.