“Captain, we have encountered the Sioux Falls School District.”

The Title IX case concerning gymnastics has been interesting to watch. While I don’t have a dog in the fight, I do think that gymnastics is a legitimate high school sport, AND they had a very good case against the Sioux Falls School District. In fact, I was surprised the District didn’t concede before the hearing.

But what I found interesting in the judge’s injunction is how he dropped the athletic director and superintendent from the suit citing SCOTUS has concluded that individuals are normally dropped from these suits and only the ‘entity’ itself can be sued.

This happened recently in the Bunker House case against the city. The defendant claimed he was racially discriminated against and the city (the mayor) requested that these claims of racial bias be removed from the case. I don’t know what was said, or even if the mayor said it, but if he did, that racial bias is ON him and should not have been dropped from the case UNLESS the mayor can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he never said or did anything to discriminate.

While our local Federal Judge has no control over SCOTUS rulings and essentially wants to follow their case law I find it interesting that SCOTUS thinks individuals can’t be held liable for making bad decisions on behalf of the entity. I would have sued not only the Super and Athletic Director, but the entire school board and any staff associated with this decision.

People are NOT naive, we know since the Pam Homan days that decisions come directly from the administration and they hog house the board into going along with their poor planning.

Sorry SCOTUS but entities like school districts don’t make decisions on their own, PEOPLE do, and when those people make decisions that clearly violate Federal statutes they deserve to be sued in their official capacities AND should be permanently removed from their positions (fired).

I’m not sure how you can keep someone around who clearly advised the school board to make this decision and violate Federal law. If these are the kind of decisions she is making, do we want her running the District?

I also take issue with the fact the school district felt it necessary to spend district money fighting this. They could have probably funded the program for the next 3 years for what it cost in lawyering. I certainly am NO expert on Title IX law, but this seemed like a pretty good case that the district was going to lose. Who is giving them legal advice? Oh that’s right, no one, just the ‘ENTITY’.

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!

(An interesting moment in the video is when candidate Johnson didn’t know how to answer a question about the separation of church and state.)

The Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce will host a School Board Candidate Forum on Thursday, May 4 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the school district’s Instructional Planning Center. This forum will feature Dawn Marie Johnson and Brian Mattson who are the two candidates actively running for one open seat on the Sioux Falls School Board.

The forum will be moderated by the League of Women Voters. Candidates will answer questions on their goals if they are elected.

This forum is free and open to the public. It will also be livestreamed on the Sioux Falls School District YouTube channel and KLRN TV- Midco cable channels 20 and 595.

(I voted yesterday early at the IPC. The person attending the voting told me they are getting 30-40 early voters per day. They are hand counting the vote, so I am sure whoever wins it will be by at least 80-90% of the vote 🙂

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.