Entries Tagged 'Cynthia Mickelson' ↓

Sioux Falls School District has NO PLAN to staff $300 Million in new schools

Maybe Sioux Falls School Board Member, Cynthia Mickelson just didn’t know the answer, but when asked the other day while addressing the League of Women Voters about the school bonds, she was asked where the money will come from to staff the new schools.

Obviously, when you build three new schools and spend $40 million to upgrade other schools, you will need additional staff. When Cynthia was asked the question, she pretty much said, “We will figure it out.”

The $300 million bond is ONLY for capital improvements and will not be used for operating. On top of that, the levy will change so they could change the tax structure for paying off the bonds. In other words LESS money coming in for operating.

So how will they staff the new schools? I expect another small opt-out initiated by the school board. But seriously, shouldn’t the Super and Board explain to the public how they will fund these schools operations? Utilities? Maintenance? Teacher/Admind/support staff salaries?

Good Question.

Sioux Falls School Board Member Cynthia Mickelson says some interesting things about open enrollment and the school bond issue

The first thing I found interesting was she was out promoting the bond issue before the school board has even voted on the special election (They vote on it July 23). She talks about the problem of re-districting and how it will be done AFTER the schools are built, which is putting the cart in front of the horse. It should be done before the bond vote. She shows how some of the schools are under utilized. She continues to mention that re-districting is hard and will come with some challenges. She talks about how they may use the school for the deaf area for a new Whittier (but says that is off the record). She also talks about losing housing in the ‘Poorer’ neighborhood if they build Whittier in current location. One person in the crowd asks an interesting question, “Where will the money come from to staff the new buildings?” Cynthia really didn’t have an answer except that “They hope not to have another opt-out.” She than goes on to say, “They will have to figure it out.” So basically they are asking for around $300 million to build new schools without a plan to staff them. Speaking of the $300 million number, Cynthia never mentions the principal + interest with the bond. It seems to be the dirty little secret about this bond issue, NO one will talk about the total cost of these bonds. Should this be considered lying by public officials? NO. But it certainly is very dishonest to not give the voters these numbers.

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.

Should we be ramping up privately funding SF Public Schools?

I will admit, I am kind of on the fence on this one. I think if people want to donate to public schools, who am I to say NO, but it also leaves open the door to entitlement and segregation. Something that already exists with open enrollment.

Newly elected Sioux Falls School Board member Cynthia Mickelson suggested changing the way the Education Foundation is set up so that individuals can give specific donations to specific programs for specific schools and classes (Inside KELOLAND, FF: 5:20).

While this could be very beneficial to SOME schools, not sure how this helps with the lower income schools. I just don’t see parents donating to the Whittier art program while they are applying for free or reduced lunches. Like I said, all for the donations, but those donations should be spread EQUALLY to all the schools.

Mickelson spends almost $10 per vote to beat Dobberpuhl for Sioux Falls School Board

This, of course is according to her last financial report. It could be closer to $15 when the last financial report comes out, that is if Bev Chase decides to post it online. Big GOP money wins again, and I am sure they are not one bit to ashamed of it.

Mickelson would have been better off sending out $10 gift cards (probably shouldn’t give them any ideas).

Dobberpuhl spent about $2,400 or $1.32 per vote (2000 votes).

There was a 3.7% voter turnout.

As I have said before, I felt all candidates are qualified, but I do worry Mickelson and her donors want to turn our high schools into Vo-Techs to train carpenters and plumbers instead of preparing them for secondary education.

The CHOKEHOLD the Republican Party has on our state will now continue on the School Board. Now if more than 4% of the 90K registered voters in SF would have decided to show up.


There was also some ‘questionable’ things that went on during the campaign;

• One day before the election the Argus posted a ‘quiz’ online to determine the best candidate instead of just posting the bios/info of each candidate, many of the questions were geared towards Mickelson’s agenda. Then today, their website was plastered with Mickelson advertising.

• May 30 financial report was never posted online by the school district.

• There were NO voting centers in most of the northern part of the city, yet several in the more affluent Southside.

• KELO-TV had a cut video of Inside Keloland of the candidates that cut off Dobberpuhl’s interview.

Obviously, the planets would have had to align, but some of this stuff is a head-scratcher.

I would like to actually congratulate (Independent) Dobberpuhl for doing as well as he did against the DARK MONEY machine of the SD GOP, SD Chamber of Commerce, and SF Homebuilders Association. He held his own. I have a feeling if spending in the race would have been capped, he would have walked away with the honor tonight. Keep fighting Randy.

I would also like to congratulate Mickelson, she had a well-oiled machine behind her, and she threw everything but the kitchen sink at it. Huge donations, yard signs, direct mail, radio ads, bumper stickers and robo calls. If she were running for governor, her chances would be very good . . . oh that’s right . . .

Cynthia Mickelson breaks Sioux Falls School Board Candidate fundraising record

I was told while viewing Mickelson’s financial report today (DOC: cyn-a11) that no one in the history of a school board election has anyone raised even close to that amount (Over $20K). All for a job that pays around $5,000 a year. And it is a little startling considering her closest opponent raised $2K, another one spent $350 and the other spent and raised $0.

Besides the fact the itemized list reads like the who’s who of Sioux Falls and developers and almost a carbon copy of her husband’s campaign donor list (but she’s her own lady, except I guess when it comes to raising money, then she needs daddy’s help). Some interesting other players got in the game.

Two Minnehaha County Commissioners donated (one is married to a big developer and the other runs a senior center);

But what is precedent is the fact that ‘Affordable Housing’ PAC gave money. WTF?! What a way to spend their dough, on a school board candidate that has already raised TEN-Fold her closet opponent;

Like I said, while Mickelson may claim to be an ‘independent’ candidate from her husband, reading her financial report tells a different story. This is about Mark and his agenda, make no mistake.

And that’s not misogyny on my part folks, that’s the truth.

Inside KELOLAND will feature the candidates this Sunday Night.

Here are some Previews; ONE, TWO, THREE.

Big Money in the Sioux Falls School Board Election (at least one candidate)

I’m still waiting to get the actual financial filing documents that the school board candidates had to file yesterday, but the early results are startling.

Mickelson seems to have the SF GOP behind her in fundraising (though she says she is independent from her husband). She has raised $20,000 and spent $7,800. Makes you wonder if a couple of invoices were held off until June 1st. Like I said before, her signage alone around town has to be close to $10-12K.

Dobberpuhl has raised around $2,000 and spent the entire amount.

Not sure if the other candidates have raised any or spent. I do know that Robinson does have some yard signs up and has given out printed handouts.

I expect a full on media push by Mickelson in this last week. Like I said, though the school board is a non-partisan race, the SD and SF GOP just can’t stand to let one of theirs lose, so they will outspend the other candidates, which seems at this point by ten-fold.

Pretty pathetic when voter turnout MIGHT hit 2,000 voters. Divide and conquer, the Republican way.

Sioux Falls School Board Candidate Mickelson wants to use public education to push ‘Workforce Development’

While at first glance, this sounds like good idea, I’m not sure many voters are buying it. The school board candidates just finished their 3rd and probably final candidate forum. In each of them, one candidate’s idea stood out that got quite a bit of push back from the other candidates. Voters have also expressed to me that they found Mickelson’s comments troubling.

On Friday during the last forum at Dem Forum, Mickelson pushed for her idea again, even after saying she supports teacher unions and talked about her endorsement from the SFEA. She said the crowd is probably surprised but stressed she was an independent voice from her husband.

Not so fast.

Like I said, preparing kids for jobs outside of HS isn’t such a bad idea within itself, but the other candidates pointed out why promoting this one-legged stool is not such a good idea. The other candidates pointed to a public education being ‘equal to all’ and ‘well-rounded’. In other words the focus is to prepare ALL students for whatever they want to do after HS. If that means forgoing college to join the workforce right away, so be it, but they think we should prepare all students to strive for the best not just the easiest route.

Just because someone in the public school system may have poor working class parents, it shouldn’t mean they automatically should be prepped to work those same, low-paying jobs when they get out. The school district should be doing everything in their power to prepare ALL students for higher education.

This is why Mickelson’s statements are counter productive and reveal her true feelings on organized labor. She wants our schools to focus more on producing low wage worker bees for the states industries because some kids just are not cut out for college.

School board members should never under estimate their student body. They should also not be concerned about whether or not our state can attract and produce enough low-wage blue collar jobs. Our schools already struggle with enough problems, the last thing on their agenda should be worrying about rich business owners bottom lines.

Sioux Falls Education Association is rumored to endorse Mickelson

In one of the most bizarre moves I have ever seen a teacher union association pull, they are rumored to have endorsed a well known Republican for school board. It’s not like she is just some regular old house wife Republican, she is married to a staunch Republican lawmaker who is anti-union and anti-organized labor.

When teachers stand around with their fingers in their butts wondering why they can’t get raises, all they need to do is look at the 50 year chokehold Cynthia and Mark’s party has had on Pierre and their anti-public education stances on funding. It’s almost an insult to teachers that this person is running, than they endorse her? Baffling! The half-penny sales tax only passed because the chicken-shit Democrats voted for it also.

I’m sure this stems from the higher ups in the organization making this perplexing decision based on who they think will win, and who Cynthia sleeps with. But don’t expect Mark to wake up the day after the school board election and suddenly become PRO-UNION, the party would burn him at the stake.

Also, I think the SFEA should have stayed neutral in the race to begin with, voter turnout will probably be a record low, and it could only take a couple of votes for any of the 4 candidates to prevail, even though it seems Mickelson is spending several thousand on her campaign (rumor has it that Mark is donating his legislative campaign funds to Cynthia’s, which is totally legal) I guess we will find out after May 30 when financial reports are due. It’s your typical Republican strategy, outspend your opponent 5-10 fold instead of actually running on your credentials.

As a person who has worked in printing and the sign business, if I had to make an educated guess, Mickelson has probably spent well over $10K on signs alone. I also saw a bumper sticker today, and would expect billboards closer to the election.

Pretty sad really when you are only trying to get a majority of the predicted 2,000 votes that will be cast.

UPDATE: Also, teachers typically are not big on voting, and take into account that a large percentage of them can’t vote because they live outside district.