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7B Candidates tell Progressive Action their thoughts about the Red Plan


I oppose the “Red Plan,” primarily because the citizenry of Duluth was not
allowed to vote on the issue. The “Red Plan” as presented, makes bad use of a
law designed to help cities of the first class, namely Minneapolis , St. Paul
and Duluth , address safety and desegregation problems. The “Red Plan” is too
extensive and too expensive. I fear that the manner in which the “Red Plan”
was forced on taxpayers will leave, not a chilling, but a freezing effect on
the passage of future operating levy referendums, which will inevitably result
in teacher cuts, larger class sizes, and program cuts for our children.
To date, the largest bond issue brought under this statute was for the St. Paul
School District , which is several times larger than the Duluth School District
– and that bond issuance was for under $50 million – six times smaller than the
Duluth bonding issue.

The school district, in my mind, even if it is conceded to be in technical
compliance with the law, is certainly in violation of the spirit and intent of
the law. This plan seems to be more about buildings than it does about
desegregation and safety.

I promise to introduce legislation at the 2009 session to address language which
will clarify the law to make it consistent with its spirit and its intent.
Certainly bond issues of this size should require a vote of the citizenry, no
matter its intent. Depending upon actions of the ISD 709 School Board between
now and the end of the year, I pledge to meet with my area legislative
colleagues in St. Paul , to determine a prudent course of action. However, I
steadfastly refuse to make pledges on this issue at the behest of any
organization, or spokesperson thereof. My pledges are based on my personal
understanding of the myriad of issues and problems involved with the “Red


I do not support the Red Plan in the absence of a public vote. First, I feel any
time that much money is in question and the public is asked to subsidize any
part of it, they deserve a voice.

Secondly, I have seen no proof that this plan will reduce class sizes or improve
graduation rates. Therefore question wh is truly beng served in this plan. As
written, I fail to see how it will benefit our students in every way possible.

At this point, I would be comfortable pursuing such legislation in regard to the
public vote. I would would research the topic more before a final decision.

Hope that clarifies my opinion on the matter,



I support better and more aduquate funding of education for ISD 709 and across
Minnesota. That's the real issue at stake here. The operating levy for ISD
709 will likely faily this fall and that will mean cuts to programs and staff.
It's time we get back to a Minnesota that supports strong public education
across the state, and not just in weathly districts.

I am not a fan of the Red Plan. It emiminates all the schools in the central
part of town where I live. However, I do believe the school district needed to
adopt some plan, and should have done so a decade ago. Local elected officials
these days are having to go it alone and make very tough decisions. I respect
the authority and responsibilities of all local elected officials, including
School Board Members, and am not interested as a Legislator in micromanaging
their authorized duties.

However, I would sponsor legislation requiring signioficant bonding comittments
outside of normal operations by any local government to go to a non-binding
referndum. We did this with the DECC project and the required sales tax. As A
Councilor I voted for the referendum.



If you care about Duluth and its schools 
don't put your faith in the Duluth News Tribune
The last word on the Red Plan can be found on Harry Welty's blog:
And if you're looking for some particular piece of information use the blog's search function.
You never can tell what you'll find.