Entries Tagged 'SF School District' ↓

A very ‘Unusual’ SF School Board meeting

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I was not in attendance, but one of my foot soldiers sent me this;

It was short, but quite unbelievable!

Kent Alberty momentarily FORGOT that approval of the 2015-2016 calendar was on the agenda.

Then, just two days after the public vote where voters gave her another three year term, Kate Parker wanted to change the school calendar which the infamous calendar committee had just formulated. 

Fortunately, Doug Morrison injected some common sense into the discussion and ultimately, the vote was 4-1 in favor of not touching what the calendar committee had just come up with!

Like I said, I wasn’t there, and have yet to watch the video, but I am uncertain how Parker felt she could skirt state law? Oh wait, I guess it was OK for some of the teachers to skate that fine line, so why not an elected school board member?

These people! When are they going to figure out the initiative and referendum process is a check and balance?




The SF School District all of a sudden is concerned about ‘voter turnout’

Trust me, I almost threw up laughing. They decided to robo-call all of the parents in the District and email them the same message about tomorrow’s election;

From: “DeeAnn Konrad” <noreply-sf@k12.sd.us>
Date: April 13, 2015 at 6:45:01 PM CDT
To: “Undisclosed Recipients” <“DeeAnn Konrad” <noreply-sf@k12.sd.us>>
Subject:Election Reminder

Hello Sioux Falls School District Families.  We are calling to remind you about tomorrow’s school board and calendar referendum vote.  You have three choices for two open spots on the school board.  Candidates are Randy Dobberpuhl, Kate Parker and Todd Thoelke.  The calendar issue asks if you wish to uphold the School Board’s decision to begin school in August or if you wish to begin school after Labor Day.  A “yes” vote upholds the School Board’s decision.  A “no” vote means school will start the Tuesday after the first Monday in September – September 8th this fall.  Voters can stop at any one of the thirteen vote centers listed below.  Remember to bring your photo ID.  Thank you.

Really?! School District elections have the worst turn-outs EVAH! Now all of sudden you care if people vote? Yet, I cannot recall if this kind of ‘informative’ robo-call has been done in the past? The stakes must be high this time? Glad to see our school administration is involved in gambling, too bad those (video lottery) revenues don’t fund you.

The Vote YES campaign offers weak excuses about their disadvantages

Before we get to the Whaabulance party going on in the Vote YES campaign, I want to clarify something for voters.

If you vote NO on Tuesday, that means you support school starting after Labor Day. That vote also means you will TRULY get a school start date change.

If you vote YES on Tuesday, that means you like the calendar just the way it is, and there will be NO changes made. There seems to be this myth floating around out there that if you VOTE yes there is a chance of a compromise. I can almost guarantee that will NOT happen. The school board has already said they would not look at it seriously until after the vote, and there is nothing in writing. In fact, only one school board member, Kent Alberty has said he supports a compromise, but doesn’t speak for the rest of the board. Don’t kid yourself, whoever wins on Tuesday, one of two things will be clear. The calendar will remain the same, or it will change to after Labor Day. Let’s not muddy the waters with what ifs.

As for the campaigns themselves, I have been watching both of them very closely. It seems the Vote NO campaign has raised money, they have organized, they have put up yard signs, they have done a mailer and they have done print ads. They have also participated in several forums.

The Vote YES campaign has depended on students to get out their message, have raised very little money, and have really just whined about being hamstrung by state law. This is where I will come in and say “Poppycock!”

When I addressed the school board about state law concerning campaigning and the use of public funds and property I never once said that teachers couldn’t campaign. In fact, the way I look at it, teachers have 16 hours a day Monday-Friday and 24 hours a day, Saturday and Sunday to fully practice their 1st amendment rights and campaign for the YES vote. State law hasn’t prohibited the teachers from organizing, raising money, knocking on doors, talking to friends and neighbors or even holding public informationals, that would be a direct violation of their 1st Amendment rights, and they know it, or maybe they don’t?

State law is pretty clear. You can’t do it on the taxpayer’s dime, that’s it. But I have heard a lot of whining by their side that they have been somehow hamstrung by this law. That is just a bunch of boloney. It almost seems like teachers don’t think they should have to campaign for their cause unless they are getting paid, and that is unfortunate. Or is it that NOT all teachers support the early start? I have talked to several who are looking forward to the longer summer and voting NO. So let’s be clear, nothing has prevented teachers from campaigning on their own time, and some have, and I commend them. But to claim they are being hamstrung by state law is a stretch.

At the end of the day, the choice is simple on Tuesday. If you like the way things are, VOTE Yes, if you want your kids to enjoy summer more, VOTE NO.

This isn’t rocket science folks.

Vote NO on Tuesday and send a message to the SF School Board, Constituents Matter!


Are our local TV Stations skewing the school start date debate

My first reaction is to blame it on bad journalism and ineptness, let’s face it, coming from a station who has a long standing anchor resigning because she just realized she is grumpy and grouchy and another station that is more concerned about photo-ops with the mayor at their company Christmas party we shouldn’t be too surprised.

First, Sammi starts it off with her bad math skills;

The later start also means pushing the end of school back. The last day of school this year is May 14th.

With the new proposal, it would be nearly a month later on June 2nd.

Not sure what math classes Sammi took in college, but last I checked a month is between 28-31 days. The difference between 5/14 and 6/2 is 19 days, about 11 days short of a month. But nice try skewing the topic.

Let’s move on to the Grouchy Nancy station.

Contrary to popular belief, this group is completely student run, other than a mentor needed to oversee the students. Students are not given extra credit to join the group or vote in the election. These ideas and opinions are all student based and are what the students want.

Ah nice work (wink, nod, nod, SF School District Attorney Sue Simons) yeah, not one single teacher or administrator, or PR person has spent ANY time during instructional time on school property helping these students, because see that would violate state law, and let’s just take their word for it. But why would KSFGrouchy spend anytime actually investigating if what the students are saying is true? Because that would take being an actual journalist instead just a microphone stand.

Where to VOTE next Tuesday, April 14th

I know it is a shocker, but the SAME super precinct voting centers are being used for the School Election as were used in the Municipal Election. That’s right, for the first time in YEARS you will be able to vote at the same place you voted at in the last election.

I was surprised to see that Bev Chase w/the School District and Lorie Hogstad with the City Clerk’s office figured out how to communicate with each other. Not sure if they used phones or carrier pigeons.

I know, I had to double check myself.

But if you are still tired of the musical precincts games, as I am, you can absentee vote at the County Administration building up until April 13.

Sample Ballot: (SampleBallot)

Click to Enlarge


Ground Hogs Day?


Were we getting a bargain with Super Pam Homan?

Actually, I don’t think we were, but look at what the new Super was making in Kearney;

The KPS Board of Education on May 9 voted to freeze administrator salaries for fiscal 2011-2012. The breakdown of the superintendent’s compensation package: salary, $188,605; health insurance, $6,398; dues, $761; retirement, $15,772; unused vacation (varies per year), $3,500; and, personal use of car, $.51 per mile.

Notice that the process of hiring the NEW Super has been done under a cloak of secrecy. I heard that the media knew who the new Super was before the teachers were even given the news.

Make no mistake, the lack of transparency wasn’t to protect the identities of the candidates, it was there to protect the contract negotiations, and from the public knowing what we are going to pay our new super. It’s been two days since the announcement, and the ink on the contract is supposed to start drying this afternoon, yet we still have not been told what we are offering him?

Realize, he was making $188K for a district of 5K students. What do you think he will be asking for to run a district (he is NOT familiar with) that has almost 5x that many students? (Pam makes $194K currently) Get ready Sioux Falls property tax payers, this is going to hurt.

SF District advises their employees to follow state law

On Monday, March 23, I spoke to the SF School Board about following state law when it comes to the school start date campaigns and debates;

12-27-20. Expenditure of public funds to influence election outcome prohibited. The state, an agency of the state, and the governing body of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state may not expend or permit the expenditure of public funds for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of any candidate, or for the petitioning of a ballot question on the ballot or the adoption or defeat of any ballot question. This section may not be construed to limit the freedom of speech of any officer or employee of the state or such political subdivisions in his or her personal capacity. This section does not prohibit the state, its agencies, or the governing body of any political subdivision of the state from presenting factual information solely for the purpose of educating the voters on a ballot question.

Source: SL 2007, ch 80, § 20.

After reading the law to the school board, member, Kate Parker told me that staff follows an internal policy on their activities, I asked her if that policy follows state law and she said they follow policy.

After the meeting, the District’s attorney and VP Super, Sue Simons approached me in the IPC parking lot. She told me that Kate Parker had misspoken and that the policy does follow state law. Sue also advised me to present evidence, if I had it, of teachers campaigning on school time. I told her I would look into it.

Two days later I received a priority mail letter from Sue asking me for that evidence. I emailed her and told her I was ‘watching’ the process and would probably NOT share any of the evidence that I would ascertain, nor would I sue the school district. She did not respond.

I found out yesterday that Sue sent out a memo to District staff stating the above law and that employees should follow it and should discontinue any campaigning activity on school time and property.

I want to applaud the District for listening to constituents and reinforcing to employees that they must follow state law.