Super Homan up to more secrecy and closed government. When are we gonna fire her? Seriously?

Imagine that, Dr. Homan found a loophole in the new open records law to keep committee decisions secret;

A change to the state open records law in March aimed to make government committees more open to the public. In the Sioux Falls School District, it’s had the opposite effect.

Since the school board changed its policy in response to the new law, the names of committee members and the documents they receive and create have been kept secret.

Remember when she shredded naming suggestions to the new elementary school? Or when she shielded her communications director from taking responsibility for not proof reading a school directory which resulted in organizations like the Boy Scouts of America and the SF Soccer Association to not be allowed to advertise in our schools, costing them thousands of dollars. Homan ain’t budging on it – big freaking surprise!

Homan said the law does not apply to any of the school district’s dozens of committees because they all are created by the superintendent, not by the school board.

We pay Homan’s wages thru our taxes. So she is above us all of sudden? Not so fast.

“That is the kind of thing that irritates legislators,” said Knudson, who suggested additional revisions to the law are in order. “I think it’s going to take a decade to keep pushing on this issue.”

A decade? Huh? Hey Dave, we are not moving the RR tracks or developing Phillips to the Falls, we are conducting openness in government. People have told me that you are a very smart guy, but I’m starting to wonder. It takes only a few minutes to fire Homan. Then we can ask the school board to re-appoint the committees and require them to take minutes and have open meetings. That might take 30 days, tops.

South Dakota Newspaper Association General Manager Dave Bordewyk, who lobbied for the bill, said the original intent was to make all committees subject to open-meetings rules.

If lawmakers understood how school districts would interpret the law, he said, the bill would have contained different language.

“It seems like, obviously, the integrity of the law is not being followed,” Bordewyk said.

“It’s always amazing to me when you think you’ve made a step forward, but you find government officials getting around it,” he added. “I guess I shouldn’t be amazed.”

No, Dave, you should not be amazed. Power lies in controlling the message. Pam is controlling the message by stomping it out. The Argus Endorser‘s ED Board says it best;

Parents and taxpayers should have access to all final reports of all committees that work on the district’s behalf. That’s their right as well as common sense. And the school board itself limits its ability to respond effectively to committees’ work if it doesn’t even see those final reports. That’s common sense, too.



7 comments ↓

#1 Pathloss on 11.30.10 at 9:12 am

There should be a resident voter and parent with children in Sioux Falls schools for the Homan position. There are other qualified candidates. This matter is a political trick that’s unacceptable when it comes to education. It’s grounds for asking her to resign.

#2 l3wis on 11.30.10 at 10:52 am

She isn’t breaking the law, just like she wasn’t on many other issues – just side stepping it.

#3 Costner on 11.30.10 at 11:22 am

Pathloss: There should be a resident voter and parent with children in Sioux Falls schools for the Homan position.

So the Superintendent needs to have school age kids? What happens when their kids graduate – do we need to fire them?

Seems to me that limits you potential candidate pool to only be those people who are married (most likely) and have young kids, which means the candidate pool will consist of people in the mid 20s to mid 40s. That seems to discriminate against single people and older people not to mention those who are unable to have children for whatever reason.

Do we also need to require our police officers to have kids who speed and run stop signs so they have first hand experience with law breakers?

How about Parks department employees… should we require them to sleep in tents in the summer months so they have first hand knowledge about the outdoors?

Maybe we could also require that the building inspectors need to be living in homes they personally inspected, and those who work for the transit department can’t own personal vehicles and have to ride on the buss or trolley everywhere they go.

Yea… seems pretty stupid when you say it like that doesn’t it?

As far as Homan’s residency, I beleive she has since moved within city limits so I think that is a moot point, but I never understood that argument in the first place. Aside from the Mayor and City Council, I could care less where city employees live. Ok, ok I care about the guys driving the snowplows because I want them to actually get to work, but beyond that I don’t care one bit – and neither should anyone else.

That is like suggesting employees of Target should be banned from shopping at Walmart or employees of First Premier can’t get credit cards from Citibank.

#4 l3wis on 11.30.10 at 12:52 pm

“As far as Homan’s residency, I beleive she has since moved within city limits so I think that is a moot point, but I never understood that argument in the first place. ”

Really? I think it has to do with taxes and her not contributing to her own salary. The Super should live in the District, I’m glad she finally realized it.

I do agree that it doesn’t matter if she has kids or not in the district, it is about qualifications. I think Dr. Homan is a very smart person, to smart. She is always coming up with ways to keep things secret in the District, and when busted, she passes the buck instead of letting it stop with her. It’s easy to blame a committee when no one knows who is on the committee or what the committee decided. Parents and taxpayers have a right to know. Just like when they named Rosa Parks elementary when we all know damn well RF Pettigrew’s name was probably overwhemingly suggested, that is why she shredded the evidence. I want our Super to be smart and qualified, but I also want them to be open, that is way more important.

#5 Costner on 11.30.10 at 2:32 pm

“I think it has to do with taxes and her not contributing to her own salary.”

Aside from the fact when she was living outside of the district she was paying the difference in taxes directly, what difference did it make?

The few hundred in taxes doesn’t have any bearing on her ability to do the job…. it is a silly, petty argument. If we require her to live in the school district, then should we also require every city employee to live in the city limits so they too have to pay into the tax system which pays their salary?

Do we need to mandate that city employees buy their gas and groceries and clothes in Sioux Falls too and ban them from buying anything online because we expect them to support the tax system which pays them?

It is idiotic and I don’t see why anyone really cares. There is no logical reason to complain about that issue, and I find it being used as an excuse when people are either jealous of her salary or they have a personal issue with her.

If you want to complain about her job performance that is one thing (as you are doing about her closed records policies) and I agree with you on that one, but for those people who always worry about where she lives it just doesn’t make any real sense.

#6 l3wis on 11.30.10 at 2:44 pm

Property taxes are different then retail taxes. Obviously city employees who live outside of SF still pay retail taxes here.

#7 Costner on 12.01.10 at 7:34 am

I realize that, but Homan also paid a special payment equal to what it would have been had she lived within the city limits. I believe that is the special assessment or opt out dollars or whatever, but I do recall they mentioned it wasn’t very much money, so it sort of was a silly point either way.