Entries Tagged 'SF School Board Member' ↓

UPDATE II: Sioux Falls School Board Candidates equally qualified

UPDATE II: I think the vote tonight will be an incredibly low turnout. Some have predicted about 2,000 but I think it will be closer to 6,000. I also think Johnson will win by over 60% of the vote. Hopefully the results come in quickly so Brian’s wife can get pack to dishes and laundry.

UPDATE: I am encouraging people to vote for Johnson. After hearing Mattson’s radio ads about supporting the new social studies standards I just can’t support a Noem puppet.

The ‘Man-Splaining’ video didn’t help matters either;

It has been a very long time since I have looked at a local election ballot and had trouble picking a candidate. This happened when I early voted last week. I voted for Johnson, but almost voted for Mattson.

I ultimately picked Johnson based solely on experience. But I really liked Mattson’s stance on fiscal responsibility, and that he understands the Constitution and 1st Amendment 🙂

I guess what I am saying is this is a NON-endorsement, I think both candidates are equally qualified and having either one serve would be an asset to Sioux Falls.

For once we had a real choice!

Sioux Falls School District cuts Gymnastics

About two weeks ago I decided I needed to know more about why the Sioux Falls School Board is considering the cut. I talked briefly to three different school officials. All three of them were clear, It’s going to be cut. While money and participation rates were mentioned, one thing was pretty clear, this cut was inevitable months ago when the school board was having budget talks;

“The lack of transparency regarding the process to cut gymnastics has been unsettling. The level of misinformation regarding the narrative of the gymnastics program’s history is alarming. And to force young women to come before the board to beg to participate in a sport that they love is appalling,” parent Angie Allen said.

I’m obviously on the fence since a majority of my property taxes goes to educating other people’s kids, which I’m fine with, but I do get my feathers ruffled a bit when the only time parents show up to tangle with the district is to save some program for a handful of kids (remember the AP fight with moving the school start date?).

I said to one of the school officials, “Isn’t public school really about educating?”

I also talked to some friends with young kids. One couple told me it has to do with the club sports. I’m all for club sports, just like it costs me money to maintain my bicycles, the payoff is enjoyable recreation and transportation. Sometimes if you want to do something that is NOT offered on the government dole you have to pay for it out of your own pocket. But these parents told me that some of the club sports will not allow membership if you are competing in public sports of the same genre. Then there are the kids on free or reduced lunches who definately are NOT participating in club sports. Not sure if this is true, but it seems odd to me that the school district isn’t sitting down with ALL club sport leadership and the SF Parks department to come up with more equitable options.

Of course that brings us back to transparency again.

I think the school board and administration COULD have found the funding this year, which could have given them a YEAR to figure out a permanent solution thru public meetings and forums. In a year, the conclusion may be the same, but at least you vetted the program with parents in a open forum and tried everything possible to save it.

What if the SFSD proposed cutting girls basketball or boys football? Parents would have torn the Instructional Planning Center to the ground.

Are we saying those sports are more important because there is more participation? Maybe there is more participation because there is more funding?

I agree with gymnastic parents, this is really about fairness. And even if I don’t have children, I do sympathize with these parents, because once again government secrecy provided an authoritarian plan that it seems no one is happy about, even the school board members.

Parents need to ask for open government first, then we can proceed with the negotiations, because what happened Monday night was NOT a negotiation. Parents were handed a decree from school board members who prepared their Monday night ‘I feel your pain’ speech weeks ago.

UPDATE II: Comments on the Riverline District are ‘Hot & Cold’

This was the analogy Mayor TenHaken gave at the State of the City address when a public event was suddenly hi-jacked by people who want to make a lot of cashola on the Riverline District.

To Poops credit he did make some admissions such as the difficulty of building housing in the area (he said people were not suggesting housing, even though I read most of the comments when the survey was live and there were many housing suggestions). He also brought up the natural springs in the area (without mentioning that building on top of them with permanent structures would be difficult). But where I had to giggle a bit was when Paul suggested that the comments about building a baseball stadium in the area were ‘Hot & Cold’.

Before we get to his lipstick job he applied to this very ugly pig, what made it even more amusing is Paul’s seemingly lack of gravitas when trying to sell the public on this. I read most of the comments, to say they were hot or cold isn’t untrue, but about 90% or more were pretty damn cold on the stadium idea.

UPDATE: I find the actual survey results in major conflict with the comments I read.

Over a year ago a citizen involved with community and neighborhood planning told me about a closed survey they sent out to a specific group. The link provided accidentally got shared with others and someone who wanted to see different results decided to have a little fun. The survey was filled out by the same IP address over 100 times. My point is, surveys can be fudged and are NOT scientific. I have yet to run into one single person who wants to see a new stadium built downtown.

There will be a privately funded economic impact study done soon and hopefully have results in July. Unfortunately this $200K private study will be funded by 20 private banking firms in South Dakota. What’s that saying about thumbs and scales?

Personally I think this would be a fantastic spot for a multi-story convention center with a green space attached that could be used for conventions. The obvious problem with this scenario is we already have a convention center and this would probably be a $100 million dollar project (funded by taxpayers). We could repurpose the current convention center as a rec center, but once again, where will the money come from?

I am all for the Riverline District, but I think the private investors and banksters can manage this all by their lonesome and if the city needs to put in a yield sign or a swing set, we can assist.

Poops says he doesn’t like the term legacy but pretty much wanted to make the Riverline Project his legacy. He may get it, and he may not like the results (think buckled siding, failed HVACs and Bunker Ramps).

I can almost guarantee if there is a proposal passed by the city council to bond for a multi-million dollar rec center or stadium, the signatures WILL be collected and it WILL go to a public vote which will need a 60% threshold to pass muster.

I guess the proposed pool bonds are rumored to be at or above $70 million.


Towards the end of the address, Poops recognizes Dawn Marie Johnson who is running for School Board with an election less then a month away. While I didn’t hear him mention she was running for school board, it certainly was dubious timing to recognize her accomplishments (during a public meeting funded by taxpayers). There are campaign rules about using public funds or venues to promote a candidacy. Just last year David Z was cut off at public input for violating those rules. Granted, I am unaware if Dawn knew he was going to do that, (and an attendee told me that he didn’t even see her there) and in no way is it a reflection on her or her campaign, but Paul seems to think he is some kind of king maker after the last city election. If I were Dawn, I would politely ask Mayor TenHaken to keep his endorsements to himself, she will do just fine on her own.

UPDATE II: Johnson was in attendance and took a photo with the mayor at the event that she posted to her social media page.


At the beginning of the SOC, Poops asked for people to eat up. Kind of confused that there would be any leftovers with all the reservations.

Public meetings are just that PUBLIC. Not only should there have been no muffins and coffee (unless paid for by a private donor) there certainly should NOT have been reservations. I was informed it was light grab and go pastries and the city did pay for them.

This also should have streamed in SIRE (city website meeting page), siouxfalls.org/live, CityLink, YouTube and Facebook. The media department has the technology to do this if they so choose. Heck, Dakotanewsnow even figured out how to stream it.

Also, public meetings (unless part of a pre-arranged presentation to the council or public input) are not a place for private investors to try to sell us on something we have no interest in buying. The SOC is a time for the mayor to share with the public the past and present accomplishments of city government and what the future holds, which PTH did do in between the school board endorsements, pie in the sky baseball stadium proposals, telling Jensen to stand up, looking for Tom Greco and trying to determine if a map is orange.

I will defend PTH on trying to utilize technology to reach out to the public, but shouldn’t this utilization come with more openness and transparency? Who am I kidding.

I almost want to vote for the ‘Trumper’ Sioux Falls school board candidate

It would probably be a hard lift for me to do that, but can you imagine the confusion he would have during orientation realizing the job isn’t about guns, ATV’s and guarding our southern border?

Sometimes decisions in elections are hard, this one is pretty much a slam dunk.

Sioux Falls School Board wants to hear from you in upcoming election, not so much when it comes to community centers

There is a school board election coming up with a Friday deadline of turning in nominating petitions. As I understand it at least 3 candidates have pulled petitions but not sure how many will turn them in. I am of the understanding a former school district employee, a Trumper and incumbent Cynthia Mickelson all pulled petitions. I guess we will see on Friday how many will turn in the petitions. The election is Tuesday, May 16th.

I’m hoping if there is any forums to hear from the candidates they will explain how they would have handled the community center debacle.

I really don’t have a dog in the fight but I think something different needed to be done, I think this person makes a really good point;

So, it’s disconcerting that the city and school district, led by people who do not use these facilities, think they can make such a disruptive shift without public buy-in. Not a public vote, poll, or anything. 

And here in lies the problem. We know there was NO public input on this. We also know the city council was blind-sided by the proposal. So who proposed this? Was there a public out-cry from parents wanting a different program that now costs them?


We could debate until we are blue in the face as to whether this is a good idea or not, but how the proposal came about is a fine example of how public policy should NOT be shaped. And what makes this even worse is that two local government entities are in cahoots with the coverup.

After Maher saddles Sioux Falls with $300 million in debt and the BOR in disarray leaves for Nebraska

Nothing more disheartening then when government entities bring in hired guns and after the smoke clears they leave for greener pastures;

The South Dakota Board of Regents CEO and Director, Brian Maher, has been selected as a finalist for the next Nebraska Commissioner of Education.

Maher was with us in South Dakota for almost 8 years and in his two positions he has left quite the impact. He was rumored to have been brought in to get the school bond passed ($300 million bond debt). You remember that one with hand counting by district employees and computer tabulation input by administrators.

I hope the Nebraska board of education takes a deep dive into Maher’s history in South Dakota; saddling Sioux Falls residents with millions in debt and leaving the SDBOR in cultural disarray. Seems like some good resume builders. You also wonder what kind of pension, if any, Maher will be receiving from either the SFSD or the SDBOR (he may not be getting anything besides his salary, maybe something the media should look into).

Well at least he isn’t moving to California 🙁

Sioux Falls School Board election in May

I believe Cynthia Mickelson’s seat is the only one. Not sure if she will run again or not? This may be the last time they hold a stand alone school board election if the legislature makes some changes this year to terms and elections when it comes to school boards.

City of Sioux Falls passing community centers over to the SF School District

During the informational meeting today, the Parks Department proposed turning over the community centers to the SFSD for a after school program.

Councilor Merkouris questioned how this was concocted behind closed doors without input from a majority of the council and school board. He didn’t put it that way and was little more clever and asked how the SFSD can send out notifications for this program’s enrollment before the council or school board approved this.

The SFSD and the Parks Department tried to tie in future proposed indoor rec and pool centers. So are they proposing the SFSD take over the Midco Aquatic center? Yankton Trail Park? If you are trying to justify these indoor rec centers, then justify them for city public use not for supplementing the SFSD after school programs.

I agree this is needed, but I am with Rich, why wasn’t our policy body, the council, working on this? I often question what the purpose of our council is if the mayor’s office is molding policy and sponsoring it on the agenda. Might as well just put eight tic-tac-toe playing chickens on the dais, probably make better decisions 🙂

Councilor Starr questioned if the city will be saving any money? It doesn’t appear that way, it looks like we will still be providing funding since the city will still have use of the community centers on some occasions.

While I agree the SFSD should be sponsoring this program, I’m not sure it is the responsibility of city coffers (sales taxes) to help with this. I have been a major proponent of Pre-K education and public funding of it, but that should come from property taxes, Federal grants and mostly state coffers. We have a child care crisis in this city and country, no denying it, but we need to direct funding from the correct coffer. When I have to drive over 6″ ice ruts down my residential street, I’m not wondering why the city isn’t funding child care, I’m wondering why they are not spending my sales taxes on the most basic of needs like road maintenance.

Sioux Falls School Board thinking about changing their elections

During the working session recently, the school board was considering how they are going to do elections and board member terms moving forward. They want to switch to 4 year terms for school board members (I think they are 3 years right now) and sync them with the city elections in the Spring. They looked at this as helping voter turnout. The other big droning argument in the room was ‘saving money’. It irritates me when a group of non-elected government workers and elected officials get giddy over saving money on elections. I’m all for being prudent when it comes to elections, and I think this will be a cost saving measure to do so, but to make it your main argument OVER voter turnout makes me wonder what this is really about?

Former Sioux Falls School Board President, Mickelson starts newsletter

I will have to give Cynthia Mickelson props, she is one of the rare local public servants who actually wants the public to understand what she does and why. I don’t always agree with Mickelson, but she is willing to have that conversation and provide answers when asked. She has always either returned my calls, my texts or emails and doesn’t shy away from having difficult policy discussions. You can fault elected officials for NOT being transparent or just blatant laziness but it is difficult to become frustrated with an official who wants to work with you.

Cynthia’s N/L was informative, but the chart below really astonished me with how we fund public education now, opposed to 70 years ago;