Entries Tagged 'SF School District' ↓

Sioux Falls School Board back peddles on their opt-out

The Sioux Falls School Board approved only a $1.6 million dollar opt-out for next year to cover teacher pay instead of the possible $5 million they could have.

I’m glad they woke up and suddenly got a conscience, even though they should have never passed the $50 million dollar opt-out to begin with, especially with a new school bond looming in the near future.

I also find it a bit ironic they were quick to protect teacher pay while still paying well below a living wage for support staff.

Sioux Falls City Councilors Rolfing & Erpenbach may be proposing election changes

Yeah, worked for me, but I still want to ruin it for everyone else.

The rumors I am hearing from my Carnegie Hall moles is that this set of councilors want to change the 34% threshold to be elected to a council seat in a general election to a 51% threshold like the mayor. Not sure where this is even coming from, considering myself, or even other councilors, or the media have never thought there was a problem with the current threshold. In fact, maybe the better thing to change is to have the mayoral percentage match the council’s.

Before I get into the multiple arguments against this, let’s face it, this was cooked up by the mayor to make it harder for grassroots candidates like Stehly, Starr and Nietzert to run for office. Let’s say you win in the general but only get 40% of the vote and 2nd place has deeper pockets than you, guess who will probably win? This is clearly an elitist move, the public is certainly not that naive to think otherwise.

But let’s throw a little common sense behind this;

• A runoff election in NON-mayoral election years could cost taxpayers an extra $80K.

• It is already difficult enough to get people out to vote during a general muni election, think about getting them to come back 2-3 weeks later for a run-off.

• The state legislature, school board and the county commission all go by top vote getters.

• Ironically the two that are proposing this change are out the door this Spring and benefitted from the current set of rules. Rolfing won his first term in 2010 with 45.34% of the vote and Erpenbach won her first term in 2010 with 48.96% of the vote. If you look at other races since the 2000 municipal election, you will see that 7 other councilors won by receiving less than 51% of the vote. (DOC: runoffs)

Like I said, this is a ploy to keep the working class grass roots candidates down and the elitists with deep pockets or donors with deep pockets on the rubberstamp council.

Hopefully Rolfing and Erpenbach will have a change of heart and pull this ridiculous measure from future agendas, or they can face the music.

SHOCKER! Open enrollment in the Sioux Falls School District has created segregation

KELO-TV screenshot

You kind of feel sorry for the newbie that had to do this story;

Morrison hopes his findings will help serve as a wake-up call for Sioux Falls.

“It’s important to create awareness because there’s just an opportunity as a community to come alongside some of these schools that may not have some of the benefits our other schools have,” Morrison said.

Findings? LOL! We have known for several years that parents have been moving their kids around under open enrollment so their children don’t have to go to ‘certain’ schools in their neighborhood.

Open enrollment is segregation, plain and simple. Try fixing it now, and you will have pitchforks and torches.

We often look at what is going on nationally with race relations, but all we have to do is look in our backyard and see what kind of educational community we are building.

If our current school board and super had any integrity they would eliminate open enrollment and get us back on track.

Diversity is a good thing.

And you thought I was harsh on Doug Morrison

This letter writer rips the hypocrisy of his new position to threads;

It is with absolute disgust and bewilderment the very quiet announcement of past school board president Doug Morrison, now hired on a full-time basis by said Sioux Falls School District in a newly created role that doesn’t seem to have even been known to the general public until after the fact. On face value, this doesn’t pass the smell test. It reeks of cronyism, corruption and a good ol’ boy network system. It shows even more that the education system is truly corrupt.

OUCH!

Found on Facebook, AP Scores UP in 2017!

Seems the school start date after Labor Day actually HELPED AP scores. The smartest kids in the room must be reaching for their Preparation H.

Whatever happened to Personal Integrity and Ethics?

When you see stuff like this, you really wonder where we went wrong with our local elected officials;

Doug Morrison, who served on the school board for the last nine years, decided not to run for re-election earlier this year, and now he’s gearing up to take on an administrative role with the school district.

About three weeks after his last board meeting at the end of June, Superintendent Brian Maher offered him an administrative position in research and development.

Before making that offer, Maher checked with legal counsel to ensure he wasn’t violating district policies. He said he expected scrutiny for hiring a former board member, but he said Morrison was the best candidate for the job.

Hey Brian, does it really matter if he is ‘breaking policy’ or not? What about the appearance of putting on a gigantic golden parachute and jumping off the roof of the IPC roof? If Morrison, or for that matter, yourself had any ethics or integrity in this matter, you can see why there SHOULD BE SCRUTINY.

What makes this even more troubling is that there were 29 other applicants;

It would have been easy to pick another of the 29 applicants for the job to avoid scrutiny, Maher said, but he saw Morrison as the best candidate.

Are you telling me that there wasn’t even ONE candidate in that pool that couldn’t do the same job as Morrison? NOT A SINGLE ONE? C’MON!

“Doug’s interest in the position did not influence the creation of the position, the job description or the selection,” Maher said.

Keep telling yourself that Brian, if that’s what helps you sleep better at night. The rest of us are very restless about this selection.

*Cory points out that they are already listing Morrison as a school district employee BEFORE the school board has approved that employment.

‘We may never spend the entire $50 Million opt-out.’ – Sioux Falls School District

Well that didn’t take the school district much time. They pass a $50 million dollar opt-out, give Morrison a golden parachute and now this;

On Wednesday, he unveiled an 11-month timeline for assessing building needs at all grade levels.

The plan culminates next July, where school board members are expected to ultimately determine the scope of the project Maher is calling a “master facilities plan.”

It’s a plan that, in any form, will likely involve redrawing school boundaries and leaning on taxpayers.

“Do we run another bond issue?” Maher asked board members. “I think ultimately we’re going to have to.”

So not only are they busy spending the opt-out, they are planning another bond issue. It seems every government entity in Sioux Falls is making that sucking sound lately.

Want to save millions in public education funding in Sioux Falls? I’ll save you $118K a year in consulting fees; Give out FREE birth control.

 

Was Morrison offered this position before he decided to NOT run for another school board term?

I found this a very interesting move by the School District;

The job is called Director of Research Innovation and Accountability. The goal is to have one person look into the various programs and future goals of the district, to see where time and money need to be re-directed.

Doug Morrison served nine years on the school board, and is now leaving his high power career as CFO with CitiBank to help the district.

While I don’t disagree that this is a very good idea, I wonder when the negotiations began? I also wonder if this was Morrison’s idea? What did he know before he decided to NOT run again and retire from CitiBank?

I also wonder where state law weighs in on this with open meetings in creating this position and conflicts of interest with a former school board member.

The School District has a lot of splaining to do, especially what this position pays considering Morrison voted for the recent $50 million dollar opt-out before he left office.

Cory also weighs in on the job.

At this point, this deal kinda smells.

Cynthia Mickelson spends 5.5x more than closest opponent

The final 2017 Sioux Falls School Board Race Final Finance Reports came in on July 18. With those reports in we can present the ‘REAL’ numbers of what was spent in the race. I am comparing the top two vote getters, Dobberpuhl and Mickelson.

 

Mickelson, 2,278 Votes. She spent $6.12 per vote

(Spent $13,944. She raised $21,504)

 

Dobberpuhl, 1,811 Votes. He spent $1.39 per vote

(Spent $2,524. He raised a little under $2,000)

 

I originally posted that Mickelson spent 7-10x more than Dobberpuhl, which was NOT TRUE and wanted to correct this with the final numbers.

Mickelson’s Final Report (PDF DOC: Mickelson-YearEnd Report) and First Report (PDF DOC: cyn-a11)

Dobberpuhl’s Final Report (PDF DOC: Dobberpuhl-Final)

I spoke to the School Board about the last school board election and not only raised concerns about how the election was handled (Lack of precincts, etc.) I suggested that there should be a spending cap of $5,000 for candidates. I think it is very hard for regular candidates to compete when their opponents outspend them in such a drastic way.

Mark Mickelson concerned about big money influence, maybe he needs to have that discussion with his wife

Many people across the state are having a good chuckle (or good cry) about the hypocrisy of Mickelson’s proposal to limit big money influence in initiatives. Besides the fact that the Koch brothers have funneled millions into our state from out-of-state donors from ALEC supporters to Republican State legislative races, let’s look at the influence LOCALLY in his wife’s race for school board. While the money may be local, you have to question the BIG money influence in her race. This is from her last financial report (I think the next one is due on July 18);

SE Friends of Affordable Housing $500

SD RPAC $250 (Association of Realtors)

Two Minnehaha county commissioners $600

Dan, Steve & Joe Kirby $750

Dennis Breske (Developer) $100

Dr. Vance Thompson $250

Tom Walsh (Formerly Burger King, now Great Life) $100

Sweetman’s $350

Valerie Fox (Former Principal of Lincoln HS) $500

Dr. Alvine $100

Doug Hajek (Bond Attorney for largest bond provider in the state) $100

Chris Houwman (Developer, Washington Square) $250

Scott Abdallah (Attorney) $100

Erickson’s (City Council) $200

Dana Dykhouse (First Premier Bank) $250

Dave & De Knudson (Sanford Health) $250

Russ Janklow (Attorney) $250

Arch Beal (Beer Distributor) $200

Scott Lawrence (Ad agency) $100

Michael Crane (Developer) $100

Dave Owens (SD Chamber of Commerce) $200

And that is just a sampling. I know what you are thinking, none of the donations are HUGE but they speak volumes, especially when you consider she raised 10x more than her closest competitor.

Mark doesn’t sweat big money when it helps him, his wife or his fellow Republican legislators, but when it comes to ethics reform he wants to crack down on it. Go figure.