Posts Tagged ‘Mack’

MN Sun-Post: The 281 Referendum Cheerleaders

November 1, 2008

If you haven’t seen the latest issue of the MN Sun-Post, you will have saved yourself the most biased edition ever for passing the referendum, and oddest placement of the Robbinsdale Schools’ declining enrollment and Stam Mack’s departure stories.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed two important stories buried in the middle of the paper. FreedomDogs highlights the story and another “adults behaving badly” quote from our departing Superintendent:

In the October 30 issue of our local Sun-Post a story about a Metro Transit re-route and a inconsequential story about a Section 1 Crystal City Council candidate were the Page One stories.

On pages 12 and 13 there were two stories a stinky cynic might view as slightly misplaced, given the tenor of the upcoming referendum.  On page 12, the local paper did a thorough analysis of District 281’s declining enrollment – with no mention, whatsoever, of the irony of a steadily declining enrollment needing more and more money.  On page 13, the very consequential story of Stan Mack’s resignation as Superintendent was covered with some juicy quotes in the middle. (more…)

Mack to pack at end of school year

October 24, 2008

Breaking news from the MN Sun-Post:

Stan Mack, superintendent of Robbinsdale District 281 Schools since 2000, has announced his intent to retire at the end of the 2008-09 school year.

The announcement came Thursday, Oct. 23, following a closed-door meeting with the school board on his quarterly evaluation. The session followed a regular board meeting.

Mack’s three-year contract expires June 30, 2009.

“I’m saddened,” Board Chair Patsy Green said. “We have a lot on our plates right now.”

In a letter to the board, Mack said he had been considering retirement for six months.

“Based on many conversations with my wife, Margaret, my sons Stashie, Mikhail and Kiehlor, and several close friends and colleagues, I have determined that nine years as superintendent of schools for Robbinsdale Area Schools is long enough,” Mack’s letter stated. “I am ready to open the door for new opportunities in my life.”

Compliance with the terms of his three-year contract will qualify Mack for severance, payment of any unused annual leave and other provisions, as well as full family health insurance at current benefit levels, until he reaches the age of 65.

Green said Mack distributed a letter to board members on the afternoon of Oct. 23, outlining his intent not to negotiate a new contract.

“When he was hired, Stan Mack was exactly what this district needed,” Green said. “He has always operated with the highest integrity and has always given us 150 percent of his effort. His open door policy has served the district really well.”

Green said Mack’s retirement makes passage of the upcoming referendum even more crucial.

“Now, more than ever, it is important to pass a referendum to make this district attractive for candidates to apply for the superintendent’s position,” Green said.

Mack’s letter noted that his nine years as District 281 superintendent make him “the third longest-serving school superintendent in the history of Robbinsdale Area Schools.”

“The past eight years have been a joy,” Mack said.

He will not retire from professional education, Mack’s letter stated.

“I will be considering pre-K-12 administrative opportunities and other higher education teaching opportunities, beginning in the fall of 2009,” the letter stated.

Mack, 58, is a resident of Fridley. His wife, Margaret Leibfried, is principal at Fridley Middle School.

Prior to coming to District 281 in July 2000, Mack was assistant superintendent for the Osseo District 279 and Burnsville school districts. He was the superintendent in the Northfield and Eveleth school districts, and a central office administrator in the South St. Paul School District. Mack began his career in public education as a special education teacher in South St. Paul in 1972.

It hasn’t been a joy for us, Supt. Mack. I suspect this announcement is a last-ditch effort to help pass the referendum. We’ll see if it makes a difference, as many on the school board are are also blame for the mess we’re in (Patsy Green is at the top of the list).  The search for a competent replacement is on. Our schools deserve better leadership.

Critics of Stan Mack Weigh In

October 17, 2008

To The Editor:

The SOS I refer to is “Save our Snacks.” The Robbinsdale schools have cut for the 2009 budget over $8,000 for “snacks for routine meetings.”

This means that it is still in the budget for this year and likely has been for previous years. Funny thing is, the Vote Yes person was not aware of this when I mentioned it; he interrupted my dinner this evening to stress the importance of voting yes for the upcoming referendums.

Oh, he knew all the talking points and assured me that everything has been cut to the bone. He did not know the superintendent did not even take his proposed bonus this year, a bit over $3,000. I told him not to worry. I bet he still has some left over from the $8,300 bonus that he took last year.

Between the bonus, his car allowance, 50 days of vacation and over $160,000 salary, I think he can buy something out of a vending machine before a meeting.

OK, some of you are fuming at the levity, but all the above is true. The school district is not a business; it is a public entity and is paid for by the taxpayers. So until they truly get costs under control, stop viewing themselves as a corporation, and address the performance issues they have in the schools, we should deny them the money that they are claiming is so necessary.

Or you could vote yes and truly “Save our Snacks.”

Shane P


To the editor:

Every lawn sign I see about the new funding increase proposed for District 281 is a reminder to me of something Superintendent Stan Mack said a year ago, when the funding referendum failed.

He referred to the majority who voted against the referendum as “adults behaving badly.”

If the referendum fails on Nov. 4, perhaps the school district should look for a new leader, who will rally, rather than chastise the taxpayers in this district.

David M

Cooper Principal Apologizes For Endorsing Candidate In Newsletter

February 16, 2008

School newsletter prompts apology
Star Tribune

A principal in the Robbinsdale district is sending a letter of apology to parents this week after he wrote a column in a school newsletter highlighting DFL Senate candidate Mike Ciresi.

“My intent was not to endorse him through the  article,” Cooper High School Principal Mike Favor said Wednesday. “My intent was to tell  that I’m meeting with people about our issues.”

In the February newsletter, Favor wrote that Ciresi was a “great advocate for education” and “you may be familiar with Mike Ciresi … he is currently seeking the DFL nomination to run against Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., in the 2008 Senate race.” A spokesperson for Ciresi’s Senate campaign said the candidate was not aware of the letter before it was published.

Robbinsdale School District Superintendent Stan Mack said the newsletter should not have been used to potentially give advantage or free advertising to any candidate. He said he heard from about a dozen parents who were upset with the newsletter.

“The reference to anything with  running for office … really is the issue,” Mack said.

Joann Knuth, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals, said the letter was an unusual communication from a principal to a school community.

“In terms of their official role as a building leader, principals need to be nonpartisan,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean outside of their job they need to be nonpartisan.”

Favor, who said he counts Ciresi as a mentor, has talked with him and other community leaders about how the school will support areas like athletics and the arts after voters turned down a 10-year levy of $23 million a year in November.

The majority of Favor’s column in the newsletter focused on the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children, which Ciresi’s law firm started to give grants for education, public health and social justice programs.

“I’m just asking him for direction and advice on everything from the referendum not passing to the expectations of No Child Left Behind and meeting the diverse needs of a mobile student population,” Favor said. “I wanted to let  know I’m meeting with people in the community about the plight of education.”

Mack stressed that Favor’s work at the school supersedes any error in judgment he made. Favor is also paying for the cost of mailing the apology letter to all the parents who received the newsletter.

“I don’t want to lose focus on what is most important and that’s serving parents and children,” Mack said.


Will Mike Ciresi reimburse Mike Favor for that free advertisement?

Here’s an interesting detail from a MN SunPost article on the subject:

The superintendent’s office is supposed to review such documents prior to publication, Mack said, but in this case, an assistant principal designated to secure permission for the letter never made the telephone call.

“Mike delegated someone to send the message to ask, but they never got an affirmation from my office,” Mack said. “They should not have moved forward with it. Had the call been made, this never would have happened.”

Once again, the Superintendent’s office is involved.