Entries Tagged 'SF School District' ↓

Super Homan; Defiant to the end

pam111

(Screenshot; Argus Leader Media) “Mistakes? What mistakes?”

At Pam’s retirement presser today, she stayed true to herself to the end. Getting a golden parachute, blaming others for her communication problems, and in denial of her career.

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.

A fitting end to Dr. Homan’s District career.

Write your own caption

grumpy-cat

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!”

Letter to the Editor about Initiatives

I wrote this letter to the Argus, because there seems to be this impression by parents, teachers and elected officials that the I & R process is somehow harmful to the democratic process, couldn’t be further from the truth. It is a check an balance against our elected officials when they make bad decisions.

I had to edit the letter that printed in the paper, so I am posting the pre-edited version here;

Part of South Dakota’s proud history is the initiative and referendum process. South Dakota, the first state to adopt initiative and referendum on a statewide level, did so in 1898. In fact, South Dakota was the only state to originate the idea in the actual state. In the last decade, South Dakotans have approved initiatives regarding term limits, tax reform, freedom of choice (abortion) and gaming. The renewed use of the initiative process in the late 70’s can be attributed to Governor William Janklow. Janklow was a strong supporter of the initiative process and advocated its use.

I have been involved with many petition drives for initiatives and referendums. I have either carried a petition, OR helped behind the scenes for the cause. It is truly an example of democracy at work on a grassroots level.

Recently I have seen many letters to the editor complaining about this very process when it came to the school start date. I scratch my head about how little our supposed educators know about the process and how it works. I kind of wonder what kind of civics lessons our children are getting in school, but that is whole other topic.

I will explain the process very simply; our elected officials are human and fallible, just like you and me. They are not perfect, and they make mistakes, sometimes these mistakes are made in their elected capacity. The I & R process is there to correct these mistakes, not to scold the elected, teach them a lesson or embarrass them.

I pose a great example of this in recent history in our city government. In the first term of Sioux Falls City Councilor Kermit Staggers, he often offered an amendment to the budget suggesting the testing of snow gates. His fellow councilors would vote it down, each time he offered it. When Dr. Staggers was running for mayor, he once again brought up the topic of snow gates, his main opponent, Mayor Huether quickly learned that snow gates was a popular topic with constituents, and essentially stole the idea from the Staggers camp (amongst many other great ideas). But to Huether’s credit, once he became mayor, he authorized testing the devices. The city council, once again, was not happy about the expenditure. Huether was determined to get them in full swing. The city council did not approve.

In comes citizen advocate Theresa Stehly with a very successful petition drive to get snow gates on the ballot. Ironically a petition that Huether refused to sign (but councilors Staggers, Jamison and Anderson did sign). The council was so against the petition drive and snow gates, that after the petition was certified for the ballot, the first attempt by the petitioners to get it on a shared school election ballot was voted down by the city council. In fact the petitioners testimony was limited and censored by the mayor and city councilor Michelle Erpenbach.

Fast forward to the last city election. Snow gates passed with over 70% of the vote, and unlike Walmart spending over $20 a vote for their cause, the snow gate petitioners spent practically nothing and had a nonexistent campaign. They didn’t need to, PEOPLE WANTED SNOW GATES!

Like the August school start date decision by the school board, the city councilors opposed to snow gates were simply making a misguided decision, and the I & R process helped constituents to correct their mistakes. No harm, no foul, just democracy at work.

UPDATE: Is the Elton John concert trumping Roosevelt’s Homecoming?

UPDATE: I just heard that SMG did NOT ask the School District to move the game. SMG felt that the District decided on their own to move the game. Not sure if an official from the city pressured them or not?

I got an anonymous tip today that the City is asking the School District to re-schedule the football game (Roosevelt’s Homecoming) scheduled at Howard Wood on October 2nd.

The reason the City is making this request is that the existing parking at the Events Center/Howard Wood may not support both the Elton John concert and Roosevelt’s Homecoming football game.

I guess we will see if the School District caves on the request . . .

According to their calendar, the change has not been made yet.

oct-2015

The Sioux Falls School Board’s SUPER failure on the new SUPER hire

The school board can dress the contract negotiation up how ever they want, but let’s look at what they are giving the new Super;

• $200,000 a year in salary + medical and pension

• Four weeks of vacation and 15 days sick leave (Total 35 days off paid)

• $2,900 a month in ‘fringe benefits’ ($34,800 per year)

• $750 a month for transportation ($9,000 per year)

• $25,000 one time moving reimbursement

Let’s review;

• They are paying the new super who is currently in command of a student body of 5,300 (SF has 23,000) $25,000 more a year then the current Super makes after her 11 years of service (talk about a slap in the face to Homan and a bit of over confidence in Maher).

• He basically gets a month of vacation on day one.

• His ‘play money’ account is more then some teachers in the district make in a year.

• Even if he leased a really nice vehicle (which includes most maintenance) put gas in it, and insured it on his own, that would come to about $550 a month. He is pretty much getting paid $750 a month to drive to work. I would only give him $25 a month (that is the price of a monthly bus pass).

• Moving expenses are something the private sector does to lure good workers, it should NOT occur in the public sector.

When I hear the School Board talk about children’s education being their top priority, and I see them negotiate a contract like this, I want to ask them the question, “You do know the more money that goes towards teachers and classrooms the better the kid’s education?” It seems the school board’s concept of salaries in the education field is to be ‘top heavy’ and hope that trickles down to the students somehow. Okay Ronald Reagan.

So why do I think this contract was a total failure on their part and an insult to taxpayers? For the same reason the ‘Save our Summers’ group won in the last election; The lack of transparency, prudence, humility & compromise by our school board. But instead of applying these qualities to the Super search and employment, they once again slipped and instead of apologizing for their blatant ignorance, they defend it.

I told a teacher today who voted YES and wanted to keep the current school calendar, “You have no one to blame for the calendar change then the inept school board, this wasn’t the teacher’s fault.” He agreed they should have listened to a compromise.

Maybe the next time the board makes such a stupid financial decision (and it was really freaking stupid) we need to get the combat vets involved, they have at knack changing board members minds.

A very ‘Unusual’ SF School Board meeting

YouTube Preview Image

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?

 

Lunch?

Print

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!

vote-no