Tuesday, 2-19-2002

Quiet Meeting - Big Trouble

Dear Political Diary,

Garry Krause had told me  something would be turning up in the Trib and sure enough there was a story about a potential buyer for the Central Administration Building. Garry is convinced, and I'm sure he's right, that none of our administrators want to leave Old Central. Its a landmark but its so massive that the voters are convinced it houses a vast bureaucracy. It makes it hard for us to pass our excess levies.

After I sent in my column to the Reader Bob Boone emailed back to say it was just what he wanted. He questioned my contention that Yvonne Prettner Solon had gotten union endorsements reminding me that the Central Labor Body had turned her down. I called Garry Krause to find out for sure. While I had him on the phone I asked him about the offer for the CAB.

Garry told me that the building trade unions had endorsed Yvonne but he teased me and told me that I'd have to wait till tonight's meeting like everyone else to find out about CAB. He's good at keeping secrets.

Before the regular meeting began we had an unpleasant duty to perform. One of our students had brought an unloaded gun to East High School. Since have a "no tolerance" firearms policy a twelve month expulsion was almost a foregone conclusion. The family didn't appear before us to appeal the expulsion but we still had a of questions for the Administration. 

The student would be kept on "homebound" status meaning a teacher would visit him weekly to help him complete his classes. This was new. In the old days we didn't have to do anything for the kids we expelled. Apparently the Dept. of Children Families and Learning had recently ordered districts to homebound such students. This seemed like a humane and practical policy to me however some school districts would like to challenge this change. Our law firm let us know that they would be happy to defend us in court should we want to challenge the CFL. We weren't so inclined.

The meeting wasn't as short as I had anticipated. Mike Akervik was quiet friendly towards me during our meeting. I guess there are no hard feelings even though I haven't apologized yet. 

We got some bad news from the Administration. The House budget plan will eliminate half of our desegregation funds. Its hard to predict what will happen but I'll bet the House plan prevails. Doug Johnson in the Senate can only fight for so many things.

As expected the discussion about our Accounting services contract took a while. In the end seven of us voted to keep it with the lowest bidder the local firm Eikill and Schilling. Garry's offer for the  CAB got a cool reception from the Administration. This was appropriate because by the time we left the meeting it was beginning to snow outside. Winter in Duluth again. What a surprise.

Claudia handed me a letter from the Campaign Finance Office when I got home after the meeting. It had been hiding under a pile of stuff for several weeks. It was good news of sorts. While they reminded me that I was late in turning in my campaign finance forms they told me I had another two weeks to turn it in before they started fining five bucks a day for my tardiness. That was great news. I love postponements.

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