Who will invite me to talk with them?

Thank you to Troy Dassler, Marisue Horton, and others who commented on my report on the meeting of the Long Range Planning Committee on Monday, June 6.
Several people objected to my characterization of the some of the presentations as nasty and bitter. I know that it’s hard to perceive Leopold leaders and supporters as anything but polite, but I was shocked when they launched into immediate denunciations of Ruth Robarts and Lawrie Kobza, blaming them for the defeat of the referendum.

I video taped the meeting, and I hope to see the tape on the blog in the near future so that we can all assess the presentations, especially a particularly passionate personal attack on Don Severson, who stayed for the remainder of a long board meeting.
Several people also contend that the Long Range Planning Committee considered numerous options before settling on a recommendation to build a second school at the Leopold site. I’m not aware of the “many alternatives” weighed and rejected by the Long Range Planning Committee. As I look at the options on the MMSD Web site, I see two options — build or not build a new school on the Leopold site. Granted, there are variations on boundary changes based on the build/not build options, but the Web site does not show “many alternatives.”
Neither do I see on the MMSD Web site any discussion, maps, or other considerations of building one or more new schools at one or more different sites, re-opening Hoyt, purchasing and reopening Dudgeon, opening one or more charter or magnet schools in the area, building a school within Fitchburg city boundaries, or any combination of the above, just to name a few possible alternatives. If I missed information on these options, please let me know.
Immediately after the referendum failed, I wrote the following in an e-mail to Arlene Silveira:
My heart goes out to you, even though I voted no. You did everything you possibly could on the Leopold referendum.
Fortunately, you might still be able to win support for a West side school, and maybe even on the Leopold site, but as I posted on the blog, I beg the board and Leopold supporters to do two things:
1) Lay out three or four alternative locations and configurations for a new Westside school with a lot of public input, draw possible boundaries, develop cost projections, and then debate which alternative seems to be the most likely to achieve academic excellence on the West side.
2) Invite organizations or individuals to propose a charter school on the Westside. Several people during the debate suggested a charter or magnet school, so let’s see whether one might emerge as the best option for providing excellent education in the area.
If you need help with the process, I’m certainly willing, and I assume that everyone who posts on the blog would help too.

I hope that the Leopold supporters will ask to sit down with people like me to work out a solid process and plan to address overcrowding at Leopold and facility needs throughout the district. I want to relieve the overcrowding. I will vote for a solution based on a review of all of the alternatives, even an alternative that costs more than building a second school at Leopold.
Who will invite me, Don Severson, and other “no” voters to talk with them?

8 thoughts on “Who will invite me to talk with them?”

  1. Here are the long range planning committee minutes from October 25, 2005. It discusses some of the long range plans for the west side.
    Wright middle school was built to lessen the affects of overcrowding on the west side. 1994.
    Chavez was built on the west side. 2001
    Additional classrooms were built and students out posted. 2003/2004
    Leopold was the next plan to build on the west side to lessen the effects of overcrowding on the west side. 2005
    Within the next five to seven years, a west side school will ALSO be needed-again, part of a long range plan. 2010-2012
    Possibility that Leopold expansion could be used as middle school as enrollment increases.
    Within the next 20 to 25 years another west side Elementary school will be needed on the far west side. 2020-2025.
    I will be at the long range planning meetings to discuss/give opinions when the time has come to look to building a school on the west side. (As I have when it was time to build a school on the Leopold campus) I have, in all honesty, little time currently to work on a plan whose time has not yet come. Leopold is still overcrowded and very difficult decisions will need to be made. These are my students who will be affected.
    I will speak at the public hearings and advocate when I have a board member’s ear, but they are the elected officials who must make the final decision. They receive the most updated information, they attend the public meetings, and they have been given a large responsibility by the public. They are the ones who get the kudos when their decisions are popular, and also the ones who get the raspberries when unpopular decisions are made, (as you saw this at the last board meeting). Besides, this is why they are paid the big bucks.

  2. Hi Ed,
    I had other obligations and missed the LRP meeting. I understand that there may be a video. Will it be posted on the blog?
    Thanks for writing both times.

  3. Troy,
    Thanks for your comments.
    I don’t see in the minutes you refernced any discussion of options for relieving overcrowding at Leopold other than a new building at Leopold. I see that the minutes mention other schools, and from what I understand of their locations, they’ll serve the area surrounding Crestwood. It doesn’t look from the MMSD district maps that they’d affect Leopold in any way.
    Did the Long Range Planning Committee consider any options other than a second school at Leopold and boundary changes?
    I don’t know how soon the video will be posted. Soon I hope, assuming that I had all the right buttons turned on.

  4. Ed, I have complete confidence in your abilities. When it comes to pushing buttons, you are almost as good as I am.

  5. Ed,
    I don’t see why we would have to meet privately. That’s no different than what some are saying the problem is with the board.
    I recommend posting your ideas here for the LRPC Task Force and the blogging public to see and read and participate. All recommendations welcome.
    I believe Lawrie, Ruth and Johnny would print them for the LRPC and I’ll make a promise to present those I would personally be willing to consider as well as those that deserve additional research.
    It’s a start…are you and the public willing?

  6. Marisue,
    Thanks for responding.
    As we all know, blogs and e-mail are not the easiest ways to communicate. Don’t communications experts say that 80% of communication is non-verbal — facial expressions and body language? Those are sorely missing in blogs and e-mail.
    I doubt that “no” voters and “yes” voters will find common ground by e-mail and blogs. I even have doubts that it will be possible in the formal setting of a task force, but maybe I’m mistaken.
    I’m assuming that discussions need to occur because some compromise, i.e., negotiations,among all stakeholders might be needed, because I think that another vote on the same question will fail again.
    I think that all of us who want a solution to Leopold overcrowding need to talk. I’m willing to set a time and date, invite key people who want a solution and voted “no” and invite key people who want a solution and voted “yes.”

  7. Ok Ed, I gotta give on those discussion points. DARN! 😉
    BUT…I’m not giving in that the ideas we discuss WILL be shared on this blog!
    I’ll ask for your email from the administrator if you permit.

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