Entries Tagged 'SF School Board Member' ↓

Legislating Policy and Open Government make things a lot easier

One of my biggest arguments for open government is that if you apply it consistently it not only saves taxpayers money, but it prevents a lot of headaches and butt hurt. So the SFSD has spent $181K on a consultant, kept the findings secret and wonder why teachers and parents are upset?

“It’s like we’re shown a product, we give feedback, and then they go behind a curtain and do stuff,” Tony Martinet, president of the Sioux Falls Education Association said. “You don’t get to see the mess. …If from the start, they would have simply said, ‘We are cutting minutes to music, P.E. and art because we’re trying to equalize across the board,’ and just owned it from the start, then I mean, the frustration and the arguments would have not have been there.”

First off, I have never been a fan of consultants in the public sector. They usually charge to much to tell you what you want to hear. The administration usually has an expectation and if you pay someone for that expectation, guess what, you get it.

But what is even more frustrating is the lack of leadership by our School Board;

Martinet and others also urged the Sioux Falls school board multiple times to consider weighing in, but administrators have continuously said the board would not make a decision because the process is an administrative function.

While I partially agree that the School Board, as a part-time elected body doesn’t get involved with sitting in curriculum meetings, they do have the ultimate authority to tell the administration they can or cannot move forward with something without their blessing, that’s kind of their job. And when parents and teachers are telling the school board they feel the process is screwed up, the School Board needs to sit their employee (Super Maher) down and explain to him that they are the legislative body that determines how money is spent and what programs move forward. Simply telling them it is not their ‘function’ is unacceptable. When governing the school district, whether that is budgets, new schools, elections or tax op-outs, that is their job, and thye best do it. We elect them to represent us, the people and parents who fund the district. Public Schools are NOT some fascist regime that can do whatever they want to.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls School Board continues to be more worthless by the day

UPDATE: If you watch the above video you will hear Mr. Vik talk about the district’s low levees while waiting later to say that the district valuation is very high ($11 Billion) but said that is because they have a lot of students. I can tell you that our valuations are very high. I had some friends build a brand new home in Brookings a couple of years ago. They told me that if they would have built the same home in Sioux Falls it would have cost them $100K more. Also, I can tell my mom’s home in a small SD town would probably be worth 3x more if it were in Sioux Falls. Vik can boast all he wants about our ‘low’ levees but our valuations are thru the roof.

Don’t we elect these people to effectively monitor the administration when it comes to policy and budgeting? The citizens of Sioux Falls are tired of the continued tax hikes that get closer and closer together each year.

The Sioux Falls School District’s fund balance is at its lowest point in 25 years, and it can’t be relied on as a savings account to balance the budget in the future.

That’s one of several reasons the school board is eyeing a long-term opt-out financial strategy for possibly the next 10 years, school officials said during a school board work session Wednesday afternoon.

In the past year we have seen another water increase (and more to come) multiple opt-outs from Minnehaha County, the city increased property taxes, the school district suckered us into a $300 million dollar bond to build schools they have no money to staff. We all knew this was coming. Instead of constantly raising our taxes how about some cutting and I am not talking about student’s education. I think it is time the SFSD laid off administrative staff we don’t need and no raises for them until they equal out with teacher pay, you know, 49th not 26th. It’s so easy to spend other people’s money and who is protecting the taxpayers? Certainly not our school board who do virtually nothing except slobber on themselves during the meetings.

UPDATE: Why doesn’t the Sioux Falls School Board set policy?

UPDATE: Funny how the SFSD backtracks after they get busted. Me has a feeling some very angry board members probably made a few calls last night telling the administration to release the information. Now if we could just take a gander at the bond election ballots.

We heard it during the Dem Forum debate from incumbent board member Reiter when it came to elections, as a school board they don’t set policy on elections.

We hear it again in this article when it comes to cuts in arts curriculum;

The school board heard an informational report about the schedules earlier this year, and members had a chance to weigh in on the report at that time.

And the chances of school board member taking action on the issue are zero, district spokesperson Carly Uthe said Tuesday. That’s because the issue of creating new elementary schedules is an administrative function and not one of the elected governing body.

But isn’t the School Board supposed to be checking what the administration is doing? They cannot simply act alone when it comes to budgeting. They can offer solutions or suggestions, but the power of the purse is within the prevue of the board NOT the administration.

And from Facebook;

As an elected board, like the city council, isn’t it the job of the School Board to set or at the very least APPROVE polices like cuts to curriculum or setting up precincts in an election? What’s the point of having a school board as a check against the administration if they aren’t checking? Our democratic policies in Sioux Falls are going straight to Hell in a Hand Basket. The whole point of having ‘elected’ officials is to check the administrators work and step in when things are not going in the direction the public wants. You are representatives of US not of THEM.

Sioux Falls School Board Elect Baker has serious conflicts

Of course I pointed this out when she was co-chair of the New School Bond Task Force and people told me she had nothing to do with it. Well if you read her conflict form, it tells a different story (DOC: Baker-Conflict)

Bob Baker (Husband), First National Bank of SF, Employee, Shareholder, Director & officer

SFSD deposits and new school bonds.

As I mentioned during the task force meetings the bonds would have to go through First National and I wonder what kind of commission was gleamed on a $190 million dollar bond. But hey, no conflicts there. I also wondered what kind of contracts the school has with SDN, the employer of the Task Force Chair, Mr. Tea Time Vernon Brown.

Baker also lists she is a ‘Community Director’. I did a little digging around, and apparently she heads up a youth group called ‘Youth Roots’ since April 1st. Whatever that is.

I still think the results are a little skewed. While I had no doubt that Nan and Carly would win, I had Nan in 1st place with a sliding vote count going to Carly, Lora and Sarah. It’s a little odd that Nan and Carly got the EXACT same percentage and Sarah and Lora got almost identical to. I also find it a little odd that there was over 700 undervotes but in the bond election there was ONLY 2 (I think, can’t find supporting docs anymore), in 2018 school board election there was 0, in 2017 there was 25 and in 2016 there was 0, in 2015 there was 0.

If you think the SFSD is running their elections above board, I beg to differ.