Well if you want to kill an hour of your time and lose 60 minutes you will NEVER get back, watch the latest Minnehaha County Commission meeting (10/6/2015).
As a commissioner said to me today (explaining the proceedings) “It was truly watching sausage being made.”
I guess that is a nice way of putting it. It was a cluster F’ of sub motions, memory loss, angry directors, staff attorneys and literally horse trading events. When the smoke cleared, Homan was sent back to the planning commission (3-2) to figure out how to re-build a horse barn (that doesn’t need to be re-built, because, well, it is still there).
The Homan’s were looking for a ‘safety net’ so to speak ‘in-case’ the barn would to burn down or get carried away by a tornado or other natural disaster (you never know these days). The problem? It’s not zoned ag (anymore).
See the county isn’t to blame, and neither are the zoning laws. It seems (what I could gather from the sausage fest) that the Homan’s were duped into buying a ‘quaint’ little acreage that isn’t zoned ag. See the barn was originally built on 40 acres of ag zoned land, and the owner of that parcel decided to make a smaller parcel for the Homans to purchase, but either he didn’t tell them the zoning would change OR they didn’t research it, either way, it seems according to the planning director for the county, they are SOL.
Funny, after all the years of Homan skirting the School District’s rules of actually living in the district you work for, it seems there are some rules that cannot be stretched.
Not surprised, I didn’t expect a Jimmy Swaggart moment.
She told the press an announcement will be made in the next couple of weeks about her new job.
UPDATE: The conjecture amongst us South DaCola foot soldiers is she will be the new Executive Director of the South Dakota Democratic party, but Augustana and the two health systems have been mentioned. Not sure, just speculation at this point. What makes us suspicious of the ED position is that she has a very cozy relationship with the Mayor, who is probably going to run for governor.
When asked if she had any disappointments as the Super, she had only one thing to say. “I wish I would have had a bigger paper shredder.” Ho Hum, just kidding. She replied, “I wish I would have taken vacation more.”
When asked by an Argus reporter about people criticizing her transparency and communication issues, she killed the messenger, literally. She blamed the Argus for basically creating the controversy.
It seems short-timer Super-Duper Pam Homan was more concerned about her phone and text messaging then the graduates of Roosevelt HS while they were being handed their diplomas yesterday. Seems fitting.
So what do you think she was doing on her phone, I will get things rolling;
“Okay, how do I change my FB status to retired superintendent to full-time hobby equestrian?”
“Oh, Grumpy Cat, how you make me laugh.”
“I can’t believe they let school out this early, it’s gonna be colder then sh*t this week!”
While there is plenty I could say about Homan getting an $8700 a raise next year and a month of vacation, it is the secrecy of her contract that kinda chaps my hide;
Homan did not want the $15,339 raise, however. She met with the school board and agreed to take a 4.87 percent raise next year — worth $8,747 — the same rate awarded other school and school district administrators under their new working agreements.
“I think Dr. Homan was a little bit uncomfortable with it,” said school board president Doug Morrison. “The board certainly would have stood behind the contract … but she wanted to take a look at it.”
Homan’s salary next school year will be $188,355.
She felt uncomfortable? BAHAHA! Like how she feels uncomfortable about a $100 a week slush fund and free vehicle usage. Yeah right. And of course Morrison stands behind it, because instead of the school board being the watchdogs of the administration they are the lapdogs. Anything you say Master Homan. But what do you expect when you pay the people who are supposed to be watching her $75 per meeting, and the employee they are supposed to be watching over $200,000 a year (when you include fringe benefits).
But why the secrecy around the contract?
Konrad said the new contract authorized by the board Tuesday would not immediately be made public because it has not yet been signed. She did release what she said was the new language within that contract.
The school district has not made the full text of the new five-year working agreement for teachers public, either. The teachers union voted for the new contract April 17, but only the salary schedule is now available online.
“The working agreements are still being put into written form,” Konrad said. “They don’t go into effect until July 1, and they will be posted with that timeline in mind.”
In my opinion, once the contracts have been read by the employees, they should become public immediately. What is there to hide? I actually think it is a good idea for the public to view the contracts BEFORE they are signed. I think the public weighing in, especially on Homan’s contract is important. But I wouldn’t expect anything less out of the rubber stamp school board and Ms. Secrecy Homan.
“You mean I should actually read these contracts before signing them?”
Sunday’s PayWall Leader gave us some surprise news. Our esteemed local school board ceded more control to an appointed official and she in turn sold more of the sole of this city. She has decided to give up on more of our most needy by selling them out to a for-profit ‘education’ corporation.
Is our education system so broken in Sioux Falls we have to give up on it and pay a for-profit education corporation to operate our schools? Remember a few days ago when we were ‘privileged’ to hear the Homan dog and pony show about the wonderful job she is doing? Reread SouthDacola’s Duper Super Homan feature speaker at Democratic Forum today. Well here we go again. Let’s see how Homan has been doing: telling the substitute teachers they aren’t worth being paid a competitive rate, experienced teachers retiring early, consolidating schools without full public discussion as to costs and benefits, nepotism and more. Somehow our weak, led by the nose school board is afraid of her or have been bought into her schemes to dismantle our once great public school system.
We’ve had a few discussions with others since the news was dropped on us. The crux of these convos is why the Joe Foss school deal is wrong not on one but many levels. It seems to be such a shock it escapes the full thought process of Sioux Falls. We will only touch on a few ways this is a real bad idea for the student, the school district and Sioux Falls. It may sum up to numbers. In an effort to make the testing / grade averages increase for the school district, Homan has decided to remove a problem area from their ‘numbers’ by farming the students off to a private corporation. Instead of putting the efforts necessary to help the students with the right kind of support, Homan has decide to abandon the students and families of special needs children. This will likely cost the school district more money in the end and society as a whole.
Fake Liberals and holier than thou Conservatives have been locked in a battle to control the educations of our youth. The holier than thou are looking for ways the take our children to their version of the Lord. The fake Liberals (neo-liberals) are trying to protect their children from being contaminated by the unwashed-lesser of society. Amy Goodman’s recent article tells the tale of the Chicago school teachers strike and what was at stake:
Pauline Lipman is a professor of education and policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She explained, “Chicago was the birthplace of this neoliberal corporate reform agenda of high-stakes testing, paying teachers based on test scores, disinvesting in neighborhood schools and then closing them and turning them over to charter schools.”
Now with the preceding quote in hand think about what is happening in Sioux Falls right now. At the heart of what is going on in our schools matches the Chicago situation. To paraphrase Goodman: locally, from the grass roots, do we operate with teacher and parent control, or top-down, by a school board controlled by Homan. We are supposed to be so impressed by Homan’s dog and pony shows we forget the purpose of the public school system is to educate everyone equally, to add to the value of the community and create thinking citizens.
Homan is contracting out the school board and her responsibilities to a for-profit company who is only concerned with how much they can skim off the top, middle and bottom to make a buck. Students are not human beings in their equation, they are products to be churned out as cheaply as possible. Why do we have Homan making these decisions and no thinking people on the school board to question her. Is No one able to veto anything she throws out? No questions? Really? Really no one is able to raise any ethics or long-term education issues in this? Really? Wow, is Sioux Falls so backwards we cannot question authority? Really? What happened to students first philosophy of John Harris?
We ask the questions again, “What is her job?” “Why do we have a school board?”
I also received this information recently from the SE Homeless Coalition:
There are 3600 households on the waiting list for a subsidy at Sioux Falls housing, and the wait is at least four years. This is the entire preschool life of a child. Pam Homan said there were 500 unserved preschoolers, I am guessing this might be a low figure.
I think Pam had an inkling that there was going to be an angry mob waiting for her at the forum today (even though there was just a bunch of old Democrats).
With props from State Dem Chair Nesselhuf, she was able to get out a heartwarming story about their relationship, the adoption of her son and his service in the military. School Board member, Kent Alberty (and Homan body guard) was also stationed conveniently in the middle of the room to make sure nothing happend to the Dictator. She supposedly changed her presentation for the event several times. She decided to go with a presentation she made back in October, and I believe a couple of times since. It was about the demographics of the school district. Here are some finer points;
• 58% of the school budget is spent on teachers
• Over 40% of school district kids are on FREE or reduced lunches
• 30% of the school district’s students are NOT white.
She was kind enough to allow some questions (when there was only about 20 minutes left).
Homan gave us a sob story about in the hundred or so exit interviews she has done with teachers, they basically tell her the pay is why they are leaving.
I wanted to ask her why we are so top heavy with overpaid admins then?
A well-known homeless advocate asked Homan what they are doing to help homeless and poverty stricken students, and she also got a zinger question off about the relationship between the current school board and Homan and past superintendent and school boards, too which Homan answered, after trying to avoid the question, “Not sure how my relationship compares to the past, I don’t know much about what happened in the past.” (sic) Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it, I guess. I got the feeling that Homan and Mrs. Bliss don’t see eye to eye too often.
Another person asked about the feasability of consolidation. I will give Homan credit, she explained that they were bussing kids from other parts of town to fill these schools and it didn’t really make sense to do so. While I do partially agree with her on that, her statement about saving $800,000 a year still rings hollow. I would have liked to ask a followup, “Doesn’t the interest and principal payments on bonding a new school negate any savings?” But there wasn’t enough time. Guest Poster did try to get a question off about the possible sale of the soon to be closed schools, but Pammy looked right over his head and called on someone else for the final question. Which was unmemorable.
There is one thing I did take away from the Q & A session. Homan has a sense of arrogance about her that is astounding. She seems to think her doctorate somehow makes her smarter then the rest of us, and in some respects she may be, but she takes it a step forward in her condescending tone. A regular at the forums, Roger (who for the record attends several council meetings and has a beard like father time) asked a great question, too which I snickered out loud at, (responding to the presentation) “You say we perform better on a National level in Sioux Falls then other parts of the country when compared to the amount of poor people we have in the district. Are you saying that there is a different ratio (or different kind) of poor people here then other parts of the country?” (sic).
This is where Homan told Roger that she didn’t have time to teach him statistics and kind of looked at him like “You are a dumbass.” (and Roger really isn’t). I have never cared too much for Homan’s ‘Nanner, Nanner, Nanner, I’m smarter then you.’ tone. She has displayed it many times in public. I happen to know someone with a doctorate, Dr. Staggers, and in his capacity as a public servant, he has never held this over his constituent’s heads. He may have beat the crap out of his fellow councilors and city directors, but I applaud him for those actions.
I didn’t expect any fireworks today, though as I looked around the room, I could tell there is still some people seething about the consolidation.