Who is thinking about running for SF School Board?

I have at least one supporter

Well I know of least one challenger to Alberty and Westra.

After a long conversation and consultation with my wife and children (actually just my dog, Sodapop) I picked up nominating petitions just a short while ago. I decided to AT least get the petitions signed and turned in. This DOES NOT mean I am running for sure. If NO other candidates decide to challenge Alberty and Westra, at least they will have one to debate. The city council may be able to bail on the Spring election, but the school district will not.

Please, People, help a brother out and pickup the petitions!

MY PLATFORM (if I choose to walk the plank)

Indoor Public Pool in conjunction with the city.

Substitute teacher pay.

Property taxes in reference to people without children in the district.

No RUBBERSTAMPING of Homan’s policies.



34 comments ↓

#1 Tom H. on 03.12.13 at 3:10 pm

Comments on your platform:

1) Indoor pool – Okay.

2) Substitutes – What is your policy? Just that they get paid? Paid more?

3) Property taxes – What about them? Reduce them for childless families? (I don’t support that.)

4) No rubberstamping – More of a soundbite than a real policy platform.

#2 Detroit Lewis on 03.12.13 at 4:05 pm

No platform yet. Have not decided whether I am running or not, just going thru the steps right now. It will be a fun experience.

#3 Scott on 03.12.13 at 4:21 pm

Oh boy.

#4 Winston on 03.12.13 at 4:22 pm

To paraphrase a once Japanese Admiral….”Stormland has awoken a sleeping giant.”

#5 Justin Enger on 03.12.13 at 4:45 pm

I’ll support you but you would need to fun for the Harrisburg school district as well.

#6 Testor15 on 03.12.13 at 9:51 pm

I’ll sign!

#7 rufusx on 03.13.13 at 12:35 am

The property tax issue is reserved to the state legislature. School district has no authority to alter formula or to whom it applies/doesn’t apply.

#8 CH on 03.13.13 at 9:32 am

Full steam ahead!!!!!

#9 Craig on 03.13.13 at 10:03 am

This will be entertaining I’ll give you that much.

#10 Detroit Lewis on 03.13.13 at 10:13 am

Ruf – you are right. The city is more guilty of messing with our property taxes then the school district is. Also, I want to look at spending.

I am doing the petitions to encourage others to run. I am hoping a couple more candidates step up to the plate.

#11 Sy on 03.13.13 at 11:09 am

Paging Alice! For fux sake step in and prevent this hipster doofus from polluting our children!

Seriously though, I agree the School system should get some skin in the game on the pool, as it would ensure an actual swimming & diving program for students through grade 12. Right now you have a chicken before the egg rationale permeating the debate: not enough usage to warrant it = don’t do it. Implying usage wouldn’t grow due to finally actually having a suitable spot to train & compete.

I think the second half of your idea about cramming in into one of the HS sites is short sighted and more of a feel good move, at least until we get a price tag then most won’t feel too damn good about it. Plus you screw said HS on their own future use for any extra land they may have = more classrooms when the enrollment numbers double in 10 years. Also, how do you determine who wins the pool lotterey and which kids have to skip the last period to jump on the bus to get to swim practice?

Also like Scott pointed out in the other thread…most HS’s are next to or close to an existing outdoor pool, so you canablize their usage (IE..why swim in crappy old Kuehn Park when Roosevelt has a brand new indoor facility?)

On the plus side, if you can convince the Board to shut down their kitchen so we all can park a block away from the new EC I’m sure you’ll win in a landslide, maybe have Touch of Europe cater in daily instead..my kids like schnitzel.

Maybe part of the proceeds from the sale of Longfellow could get thrown into the pool kitty?

Just remember, if you run and win we need less (not more) 50 year mistakes in this town.

#12 Beer Jew on 03.13.13 at 11:35 am

couldn’t be any worse than corey buttermaker running for office again.

#13 Detroit Lewis on 03.13.13 at 11:55 am

BJ – Corey makes backed goods, not butter, oh and he is ‘pissed off.’

#14 Detroit Lewis on 03.13.13 at 11:59 am

BTW, a couple of interesting things happened when I picked up my petition.

1) Security did not escort me in the building 🙂

2) I picked up the petitions at the IPC, and the receptionist seemed to be confused when I told her I was there to pick up nominating petitions and wasn’t ‘SURE’ if I was at the right place. Hmmmm . . .

3) When Bev Chase was going over my packet of material there was a precinct map in the packet. She told me that those were the agreed upon precincts with the county and the city (in case they were sharing an election) she said she met with Bob Litz and councilor Jim Entenman to come up with the agreed sites. I asked a SF city councilor today if he knew anything about this meeting or agreed upon sites. He did not. I also was wondering how Jim became the annointed one to pick these sites with the school district and the county.

#15 Testor15 on 03.13.13 at 12:22 pm

“I also was wondering how Jim became the anointed one”? To gerrymander for the city…?

#16 LJL on 03.13.13 at 1:38 pm

Evidently you don’t read your own posts. Hurling slurs at people such as calling councilors coward in recent posts will catch up with you quickly.

Kelo didn’t discuss civility with you because your a voice of reason. Your the poster child for coarseness in public forums.

Do you have the right to run. For damn sure you do, and I will fight hard if someones denies you your right. Do I want your mentality involved with regards to my children’s education. HELL NO.

School boards should be used to make the best decisions for our children and not for political gains. Your motives will be sniffed out quite quickly now that you’ve made your platforms public and they have little to do with children’s education. Have others made the school board with politics in mind? Sadly yes.

That is as blunt as a hammer. These are the obstacles and criticisms you will face. We can hide behind meaningless usernames with anonymity but someone will tell you these things to your face when you enter a public race and you better be prepared to answer without barking.

Good Luck, if this is really what you .

#17 Detroit Lewis on 03.13.13 at 2:01 pm

Oh, I know I will hear about it. But Like I have said several times above, just going thru the process right now, haven’t decided whether or not I care about your kids or not enough to run. I do however care about an educated society and a school board that does their due dilligence. Like looking at million dollar contracts before signing them.

As for the ‘coward’ remark. I stand behind it. Not allowing the public to give their input and then denying 8000 petitioners an election was not courageous at all. They were scared of what the results of the election would be, and being scared is no different then being cowardly.

#18 caheidelberger on 03.13.13 at 7:50 pm

It’s spring! Think track: run hard, turn left. 😉

#19 Alice15 on 03.14.13 at 11:11 am

Oh, Sy. Under a normal community leader – I would strongly think about it, but as I have stated before, I already know first-hand the repurcussions of crossing Homan which so far has not trickled down to my kids, but I am not about to take that chance. Although I do not agree with everything Scott has on his platform, he may be just the right person to ask the hard questions, challenge Homan and her staff when needed, and the obvious – he doesn’t have kids – which with Homan – is a benefit. She cannot hang that over his head.

One other thing: I saw someone write a letter to the editor regarding the Spanish Immersion program and taking that to a vote. Is that possible? I am not against the program, but I do believe if parents want a specialized school – they should pay for it.

#20 Detroit Lewis on 03.14.13 at 12:39 pm

I actually think teaching Spanish is a good idea. There have been studies that show kids learn foreign languages faster and easier at a young age, same with playing music. Let’s face it, Hispanic immigration is not going away, as much as John McCain fantasizes about it, it just won’t happen.

Sy, why don’t you run?

#21 Alice15 on 03.14.13 at 1:13 pm

I am not saying it isn’t a good thing or that I want Hispanic immigration to go away. I am saying this is a specialized school that will cost all in razing a building and building a new structure with absolutely no skin in the game from the parents that utilize it. I guess I have a hard time with the fact that we whine every year that there isn’t enough funding for our district and our kids now sit 25th in the world in Math. What is going to benefit all kids more in the long run – Math or a handful of kids that can speak Spanish? These parents make the choice to have their kids at this school – they can pay at least a part of the cost. I guess my point is let’s make sure our house is in order – ie do we need more funding for Math and Reading so our kids can actually pass those classes later in life which currently 61% cannot in higher education – before we do a specialized school with no kick-in from those using it.

#22 rufusx on 03.14.13 at 1:49 pm

Just a general comment about what approach ANYONE holding any public office needs to take to making determinations about infrastructure, programs etc. You are not making any decisions for anyone that is an adult today. ALL of your decisions should be made with consideration for tomorrows adults – and mostly not even just tomorrow’s – but those folks who will be around 50 years from now. The immediate political or even fiscal climate is absolutely – hands-down- the WORST possible thing one can consider when making governmental decisions.

#23 Lamb Chislic on 03.14.13 at 2:39 pm

Another one bites the dust:
http://www.argusleader.com/article/20130314/UPDATES/130314020/Julie-Westra-won-t-seeking-another-term-school-board

#24 Detroit Lewis on 03.14.13 at 10:34 pm

Interesting. I guess if nobody else runs, I am a shoe in. $75 dollars, here I come.

#25 Alice15 on 03.15.13 at 2:08 pm

Attended the Superintendent’s roundtable today. Surprise, surprise – we do not have enough money to educate our ELL students – but by golly – we have enough money to teach a handful of students Spanish with their own school which by the way – most economically thriving countries do not speak either. Chaps my can!

#26 Pathloss on 03.15.13 at 3:24 pm

I’ve met Sodapop. Boxers are good companions. Incidently, the VA now offers comfort animals to returning PTSD vets. The feds worry when vets discover there’s no due process they’ll attack city hall.

#27 Craig on 03.18.13 at 9:18 am

Alice – I will admit I had many of the same thoughts as you do about the Spanish Immersion program, but then I had someone in the know explain it to me. First, it really isn’t just about speaking Spanish – that is obviously a visible indicator and what people see as the “face” of the program, but there is much more to it. They could be teaching French, Chinese, or Swedish and the net benefits would be the same.

The core advantages are by teaching students a second language it opens up areas of the brain – it improves listening skills, it creates new ways of thinking about problems, it improves language and grammar skills (even though classes are taught in a language other than English), and students who engage in these programs outperform their peers in just about every measurable way in every subject from math to science to history.

There are also the societal benefits. Students learn that non-native English speakers are not all that different from you and I. They start to see people as just people rather than segregating them into groups such as “American born”, vs “Immigrant”. They start to appreciate other cultures and it opens up their line of thinking which benefits society as these students age. It is almost as if they are teaching the inverse of racism… pretty awesome when you see the results.

Plus, as L3wis pointed out, children are much more able to learn these concepts at a young age, so let’s take advantage of that to help them throughout their lives. Like it or not Spanish is one of the world’s most popular languages – actually even more popular than English and second only to Mandarin Chinese, so needless to say it isn’t going away and those students who can benefit from knowing two of the world’s most common languages will be a step ahead as adults.

I’d encourage you to learn a LOT more about these programs before you start suggesting they aren’t valuable or that they are too costly. If you’re going to make such snap judgments, then perhaps it is best you aren’t running for school board – because we need leaders who are interested in learning the facts before they form their opinions. We’ve had a history of electing people who are far too rigid and who aren’t open to new ideas… I hope we don’t make the same mistakes again.

#28 Alice15 on 03.18.13 at 2:51 pm

@Craig – I think it is very unfortuante that you feel that I have made a snap judgement. I have taken the time to talk with friends who have their children in this program. I have never said that it is not valuable. My point has always been this school still remains a specialized school and we still have an administration that consistently, consistently complains we do not have enough funding for our typical public education. You can’t have it both ways.

I would challenge you to also get educated on where we stand for our core education in this world. There is a reason that Harrisburg is implementing a different core of learning for each student. Why? Because students are dropping out and FAILING in higher education at an alarming rate leaving them with no degree and massive debt. As the Superintendent from Harrisburg stated “if a student receives a “C” in math, yes that is a passing grade, however, they move on without learning those materials to receive an achieving grade. Eventually that catches up to a student and it is usually in college.”

Also – you mention other languages in your above comments. How long is it until there are enough students and parents that demand Chinese – or any other language? As far as economically viable countries that are producing GNP at an alarming rate – don’t you think in 10 years – if not now – that Chinese will be more valuable to a graduating senior than Spanish? How slippery of a slope are we creating by handing this one program a school with no invested effort by the parents that are demanding it? Do I now have the right to demand the foreign languauge of my choice because my kids are at the age where they learn more efficiently?

Once again – the administration wants to cry all the way to Pierre and berate our Governor (right or wrong) in front of downtown Rotary regarding our funding – but we now have the funding for this school with no private investment?

You send a message now that if parents ask – they shall receive – you better be ready for what lies ahead.

#29 Craig on 03.18.13 at 4:40 pm

Alice, you stated “What is going to benefit all kids more in the long run – Math or a handful of kids that can speak Spanish?”

That suggests you don’t understand what the benefits of a language immersion program are. If you truly did understand the benefits you wouldn’t see this as simply a way to teach kids Spanish – because it is so much more than that. You can swap out the language and it doesn’t change the core benefits… it is about the learning process, not about the language learned.

I understand your point about financing, but the students in that program would be educated either way. We still need to have desks for them to sit at, we still need space for them, we still need teachers to instruct them – so is the cost of this “specialized program” really significantly more than any traditional school? I am skeptical.

I don’t look at these types of programs as “above and beyond” or separate from traditional education. I see them as improvements on the traditional model, funded from the same sources but trying to do more. I see no reason to even suggest it is excessive or that we cannot afford it, because I suggest to you that we cannot afford not to. The output of these programs will help us for generations, and the payoff benefits us all.

You speak of our ranking in comparison to the world, yet you seem to call into the very type of program that has been proven to produce better students – the very type of program that can improve our ranking against other nations. I simply cannot balance these two thought processes which is why it suggests to me that you haven’t bothered to learn about what immersion programs really do. Speaking to parents of kids who may go there is a start – but chances are even those parents don’t really fully understand the programs, so I suggest you dig deeper.

Alice: “How long is it until there are enough students and parents that demand Chinese – or any other language? As far as economically viable countries that are producing GNP at an alarming rate – don’t you think in 10 years – if not now – that Chinese will be more valuable to a graduating senior than Spanish? “

Again Alice this only proves you don’t understand the benefits of the immersion program. It isn’t about what language is taught!

That aside, there is also a logistical component at work here. We are still in South Dakota, and finding teachers who are bilingual in Chinese would be difficult if not impossible. Finding teachers bilingual in Spanish is a bit more feasible.

However to answer your question – I really don’t feel Chinese will be a more valuable language than Spanish even in 10 years. Why you ask? Because first, Mandarin is really only spoken in China – Spanish is spoken in dozens of countries. Second, many native Mandarin speakers also speak English, because English is the language of trade and the world economy. Third, there are actually more English speakers in China than there are in the US, so if communication is really the concern both parties can likely revert to English. Fourth, the structure of Mandarin is difficult and would be much more difficult to integrate into an immersion program. Spanish is much more well suited for these types of programs and makes the most sense for a number of reasons.

I won’t bother with the slippery slope fallacy – primarily because you admit it is a slippery slope fallacy in the first place, and therefore an invalid argument.

#30 Detroit Lewis on 03.18.13 at 10:50 pm

I love the discussion on this blog. You both make valid points. I will say this, we are pretty lucky to have these programs in little old SooFoo/SD. I will give Homan credit on one front, I think in the ‘technical’ sense, she crunches the numbers and is able to run them. I think though, that she has been in ‘admin’ for so long, she is missing the personal touch a Super should have. I also think (just IMO) that she has ‘personal’ interests with this job, and is forgetting what ‘public service’ is all about. Helping others. And she makes pretty good money to do so.

#31 Alice15 on 03.19.13 at 8:23 am

I agree. We BOTH make valid points. Too bad that Craig would probably not say the same.

I can’t even describe Homan. She seems miserable in her own skin, a dictator of her own domain, and preaches a lot about kids and teachers – but then treats teachers like crap. I have had soooo many teachers ask me to run for SB just so they can feel like someone will listen to them confidentially. It is a bad vibe environment which in the end – trickles back to kids.

#32 Detroit Lewis on 03.19.13 at 9:34 am

Alice, I would agree. I know quite a few teachers in the system that have a bad attitude when it comes to how Homan is running the joint.

#33 Craig on 03.20.13 at 9:31 am

Oh Alice lighten up – even though I don’t align with your viewpoints surrounding immersion programs I actually agree with you about the need for someone to challenge Homan… in fact that is what the school board SHOULD be doing rather than simply rubber stamping everything that comes across their desks.

Come to think of it, I can’t even recall the last significant issue that they were in disagreement with the administration on. Shouldn’t that happen more often? Shouldn’t we elect people who are willing to take a stand and who are looking out for the best interests of the students? It just seems we should have more disagreement – because that is the entire point of electing people who aren’t part of the administration.

#34 Alice15 on 03.20.13 at 1:21 pm

I think we (or moreso the SB) has lost sight of the fact that they are Homan’s boss. Unfortunately – as stated before – I wish the SB had someone similar to what the city council has in their own staff that provides them with information. It is pretty hard to manage someone when your source of information for all things is from her and her staff. How do you know what a right decision is or when you should challenge something when she gives you the information that she wants you to see for her own decisions, agendas, etc? It is a pretty sick cycle right now and I am all for Scott offering a different opinion and hopefully asking some of the hard questions.