Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Offended by Truth? Too Bad.

This was posted on my Facebook feed today, and made me think of the District 833 administration:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back in the USSR in an American Embassy?

My brother and his wife are currently stuck in Turkey.  They traveled there on a visit to visit his wife's mom (in Ukraine) and do a little sight-seeing.  When they went to board the plane to come home, they were told they could not leave because my sis-in-law is in the process of becoming a US citizen.  They had all the "right" paperwork.  They've been married since 2008, and my S-i-L has lived in the US since at least 2007.  Neither have criminal records.  No matter, too bad, S-i-L cannot leave Turkey.  So, the next day, she and my brother went to the US Embassy where they made my brother stand outside ACROSS THE STREET from the Embassy while they questioned his wife, finger-printed her and kept her paperwork.  As far as I know, they are still there, waiting for permission for her to board a plane and come home.

These are people who work 60 hour weeks at a local historic hotel.  They live quietly in a tiny town with their dogs, cats and chickens (lucky them, their little town allows chickens!).  They have invested thousands of dollars working with an immigration attorney for my S-i-L to legally become a US citizen.  They were married at a small ceremony in the US before traveling to Ukraine for a church wedding.  They happened to meet in Las Vegas (at a conference with an organization  that assists young adults fro the former Soviet block countries - Ukraine, Romania, etc. - come to the US and work for the summer on an exchange-type program for which they both worked) and fell in love - engaged within a few months of meeting and married a few months later.  My S-i-L is an awesome addition to my family.  I absolutely adore her and love the fact that she keeps my brother on his toes.  He loves her and is happier with her than with anyone else he ever dated. She is one of the hardest working women I've ever met, one of the smartest and most fun I know.  And she's not being allowed to leave the country of her birth, where her mother lives on less than $200/month (much of that sent to her by my brother and his wife), and where her brother was a policeman until he tired of being unable to survive on the meager salary provided without taking bribes. And now where the country she loves and is trying to LEGALLY become a citizen, has finger-printed her and questioned her without her husband or an attorney present, just so she can come home to her little house, her dogs, her cats and her chickens.

Meanwhile, here in the US, our President has released hardened criminal illegal aliens from prison, shut down parts of the GI Bill, and is offering illegal immigrants in-state tuition (and probably every grant available).  The TSA harasses old ladies, little kids and Vets as they try to board a plane - like any of those people would be doing ANYTHING to harm themselves, their families and the other people on a plane.  We refuse to "profile" and instead force people to "friendly TSA pat-downs" and through x-ray machines.

There is something desperately wrong with the fact that law-abiding citizens are not allowed to board a plane and come home from Turkey and yet anyone who suggests that closing our borders and enforcing current immigration laws are called "heartless racists."

Update: They were finally allowed to leave 2 days afterward after paying around $1000 extra for the changes to their flight and fines; and only found a flight that would take them to a major city seven hours from their home. (Updated 3/25/2013 9:08am)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Superintendent Claims Black Panther Case Closed, Calls Blog "Threatening"

I have been so busy with my family and working with the folks opposing the move of Woodbury Elementary to Crosswinds (if the district acquires it) that I've not had time to post the latest on East Ridge High School's commemoration of the Black Panthers.

At the last school board meeting, the Superintendent, Keith Jacobus, made a point to alert the (maybe) twelve people in attendance that the Black Panther issue is closed.  He went on to say that the blog (yep, this lil ol' blog) is "threatening" and that Principal Aaron Harper is under "personal attack."

Imagine my surprise when I watched the meeting video and heard that they are calling this blog "threatening," and that they had also taken care to remind us that our "children are watching." Curious as to what they thought was threatening about reporting on a controversial incident in a local high school, I decided to read over all the previous posts on the matter to determine what, if anything, could be construed as such.

Here are my conclusions:

1. There is NOTHING threatening about the posts in question.  Unless one reads the comments where I am personally attacked and called names by people who apparently believe that one cannot stand up to a school  administration, and say "Hey, are the Black Panthers really a group that should be commemorated in a school-wide PA broadcast? Isn't this something that should be taught in something like, oh I don't know, maybe an American History class where the full context of the group, its origins and what it meant to America in the 1960s can be fully explored?"  Those comments are threatening, but to me, not to anyone named in the posts.

2. If the children are watching and/or reading this blog, which a) I doubt (my own kids don't even read this blog) and b) if they have, then at least we know that they have received a more rounded education on who the Black Panthers really were rather than the sanitized "The Black Panthers were militant socialist revolutionaries who also started free lunch and medical programs (huzzah!)" as was heard on February 14, 2013 at the school.  Perhaps if the children (who are watching, doncha know?) have read the blog, they've learned some American history of which they didn't previously know.  Which makes this truly the educational opportunity Mr. Harper kept saying it was in the first place.

3. Obviously, Alinsky tactics are alive and well even in our local governments.  Calling a person who is spreading light on the truth of actions/behaviors/etc. "threatening" is tantamount to telling them to "Sit down and shut up!" It is a favorite tactic of Progressives when they are upset that their actions have been called out to the public.  As long as their actions can remain unknown and unreported, they can continue to do what they want without public scrutiny.  The problem is that they forget that they work for us.  We pay their salaries and their pensions and their benefits, so if they really believe that they won't be held accountable, it truly is time for people to stand up and let them know that WE THE PEOPLE ARE WATCHING.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013



District 833 is holding their LAST Budget Meeting at 6:30pm on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at East Ridge High School where they will be discussing the proposed Options for the next budget .  Please plan to attend and discover the cuts and tax increases the Board is proposing (including terminating 27 Fulltime Teacher positions) in order to shore up the budget as it runs in the red.  For the District information and survey about the three proposed budget options, please go to:
(More info and the Survey about the Options can be found at

Most disturbing are the plans for the acquisition of Crosswinds School and relocation and disruption of Woodbury Elementary Students, two items that are not being included in currently proposed budget options.

Highlighted concerns:

South Washington County School District 833 is in the process of attempting to acquire Crosswinds School. The District’s plan for the school is to relocate the Woodbury Elementary Students from their home school into the Crosswinds building beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. The Woodbury Elementary School building would then become the home of Nuevas Fronteras an exclusive Spanish Immersion Program, funded by taxpayer dollars.When the District has been deficit spending for the past six years and is currently working on a budget that will cut services and/or require a levy referendum just to maintain its current serviceshe District’s own Service Level Document states that there is enough elementary space through 2015-2016, but that more middle school space will be needed.  Why do they want to turn a middle school into an elementary school when we need more middle school space and have enough elementary space?  

The District estimates that the Crosswinds building will cost an ADDITIONAL $1,000,000 a year to run.  The District has been deficit spending for 6 years and cuts in programming or tax increases will be needed to pay for this school.  Furthermore, they have not worked out the cost for building renovations to Crosswinds, or the addition of an enclosed, connecting,walkway between Woodbury Elementary and Woodbury Middle Schools, as well as building additions and facilities modifications if the acquisition of Crosswinds takes place.  This will take place if District 833 acquires Crosswinds School.

Woodbury Elementary is a neighborhood school with more than 170 walking students. If moved to Crosswinds, these 170 students would then all need to be bussed.  Nuevas Fronteras draws from all over the District and would only have a handful of walkers from the neighborhood around Woodbury Elementary. 

Changing Woodbury Elementary from a neighborhood school to the Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion Choice Program school, nearly guarantees that the homes values near Woodbury Elementary will drop by 8-10%.(According to local Realtors.)

Woodbury Elementary is a Pre-K to Grade 5 elementary school and houses High Needs Special Education (one of the two schools in the District equipped for High Needs Special Education students) as well as Early Childhood Special Education.  Why would we disrupt the most sensitive and vullnerable in our community - the Special Needs Children? 

The Woodbury Elementary community prides itself on being the most diverse elementary school in the District with more than 40% minority students; in contrast, Nuevas Fronteras is one of the least diverse with fewer than 20% minority students.

Crosswinds School is a valuable asset as amagnet Middle school to our community.  If 833 acquires the building and moves Woodbury Elementary students into it, not only will they be disrupting Woodbury Elementary families, but also, where will the current Crosswinds students go? For more information about Crosswinds School go to:

Crosswinds is designed for 6th-10th grade students; not elementary age kids:  Crosswinds is a 2 story middle school, with an open floor plan, 3 foot high railings on a large second floor balcony and is located adjacent to a wetland.

Budgetary Questions That Need To Be Asked:

Renovations will be needed, and the District has not shown the community a space plan that will meet the needs of Woodbury Elementary’s regular and special education students.  Without a detailed space plan the true costs of renovations can not be known. Renovation costs are not in the District’s 2013-2014 budget.  With a potential $17 million shortfall looming in the future, how does the District justify all the additional expenses as well as the community disruptions; and should 833 be held liable for a decrease in property values, to benefit a publicly funded program that services only a small, privileged, select number of District 833 children (less than 400 students out of the 17,000 in the entire District).

Contact the Superintendent and School Board to let them know that you oppose this plan!

Dr. Keith Jacobus, Superintedent                                                            Ron Kath (Board Chair)
612-458-6201                                                                                      651-769-0291                                                    

Marsha Adou *                                     Tracy Brunette *                                    Laurie Johnson*
651-738-6438                                        651-458-6391                                       651-738-0687              

David Kemper*                                 Katy McElwee-Stevens*                                Jim Gelbmann
651-702-4564                                    651-459-5411                                             651-739-5575               
  * Up for re-election in November        

There are two bills (HF592SF530) in the State Legislature that if passed, will give Crosswinds to Perpich Center for the Arts, which will maintain Crosswinds’ current programming and will eliminate the need for financial and community disruptions. Patricia Torres Ray is Chair of the Senate Education Committee and is believed be reluctant to give SF530 a hearing,  Please contact her at (651) 296-4274 to let her know you want SF530 to be heard in Committee and sent to the Senate Floor.
Andrea Kieffer (651) 296-1147                                                                      
Senator Katie Sieben  651-297-8060         
Represenative Joanne Ward   (651) 296-7807     
Senator Susan Kent 651-296-4166        

The scheduled School Board meeting is at the District Service Center at 6pm on Thursday, March 7( If you can't make the meeting on Wednesday, plan to attend the Thursday meeting and talk to the school board members.

There is also a Town Hall meeting on Saturday, March 9 (Woodbury City Hall,10am-12pm) with Local Represenatative Andrea Kieffer and Local Senator Susan Kent and Congresswoman Betty McCollum to discuss the possible Crosswinds School Acquisition and financial cost and disruptions ramifications.  

Help us save Woodbury Elementary.                                               

Please Pray

Today is a momentous day.
A friend of mine is a 31 year old mama who has incredible faith.  She is currently in surgery, having a double-mastectomy to remove the breast cancer with which she was recently diagnosed.  Many people are in constant prayer for her and her family right now.

It is also the two year anniversary of another friend's husband's death.  He was 48 years old when he succumbed to a massive heart-attack just before his son's Regional hockey game.  My heart hurts for the family.  His last words to his son were "Do Good."  His family has taken those words and turned them into a "pay-it-forward" campaign.  It is a beautiful thing.

Today is also the final public input meeting before our school board decides what they will be doing with our district's budget.  There's so many issues with the three options that they have put forth that it is difficult not to turn to the board and say "SCRAP THEM ALL AND START OVER!" Combined with the budget is a battle over a school building in our district that is currently run by an inter-district group.  Our district wants the building, which currently houses 6-10th graders, and move an elementary school into it so they can make room for the elitist Spanish Immersion "choice program" in a neighborhood elementary school.  It seems that none of the school board members are taking into consideration the disruptions in the lives of the neighborhood school kids' move to a new school or in the lives of the kids who currently attend school at the contested building.  Their only concern seems to be for a small minority of students in a program which their parents have chosen to place them.  This is so wrong on so many levels. I am hoping that there is a huge turn-out at the final budget meeting as well as the other two meetings this week - the regularly scheduled school board meeting tomorrow night and the Town Hall hosted by local legislators on Saturday.

Finally, the news from Glenn Beck regarding Eric Holder's assertion that the government could, in fact, decide to use drones to kill American citizens on American soil if they determined that there was a threat large enough to do so is more than disturbing.  It is sickening.  I would like to know why there seems to be no one in Congress brave enough to start impeachment hearings?  Where are the ones who are willing to stand up for America and fight this man who wants to be a dictator?  What kind of America will be left for my children?

So many people and issues taking up my thoughts and prayers today.  Please pray for my friends as they go through surgery and the reminder of how long they've been without the one they loved; please pray for people to come to the meeting tonight and speak out against a runaway school board who have forgotten for whom they serve, and please pray for our country and its leaders.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Question of Ethics?

It just gets dirtier and dirtier.

In order for South Washington County District 833 to acquire Crosswinds school and move the Woodbury Elementary students into that school to make room for the little darlings of Spanish Immersion in Woodbury Elementary, the offer by Perpich Center for Crosswinds must be defeated in the Minnesota Legislature.  To believe that this issue would be treated fairly is to believe that the Democrat leadership in the Minnesota Legislature is fair, which, judging by the load of crap coming out of the legislature this session, would be a false belief.

It turns out that The Crosswinds-Perpich bill (Minnesota House HF592 and Minnesota Senate as SF530) has been stalled, and is not being heard in the Education Committee.  According to the rules (made by the Democrats at the beginning of the session), if a bill is not heard in a committee, the bill is dead.  But why would the bill be stalled in committee? And who would be stalling it?  The "official" person stalling the bill is Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-63), Chairwoman of the Education Committee.  However, one of the primary members of the Minnesota Senate Education Committee also happens to be none other than Susan Kent, Freshman Democrat Senator from District 53.  District 53 includes parts of the South Washington County School District 833 where Senator Kent just happens to have a child in the choice Spanish Immersion program.  It is rumored that Senator Kent has been pushing Senator Torres Ray to keep SF530 stalled - if the bill receives no hearing, it effectively dies and South Washington County School District 833 will acquire Crosswinds to use as they please, including moving elementary students into a school designed for 6-10th graders.

It is always amazing how there are so many people who seem to only get involved in local politics to further their own agendas:  David Kemper, SWC School Board Member, also has children participating in the Spanish Immersion program.  Certainly there is no way he'd allow that to cause him to put the well-being of the district's most diversely populated elementary school students below the happiness of a small group of Spanish Immersion kids...or would he?  During the last big battle over Spanish Immersion kicking neighborhood kids from their school, David Kemper refused to remove his vote from the issue.  No conflict of interest here, folks, nope. Just keep moving.

FYI: The Spanish Immersion Program of District 833 is one that requires students to begin the program in full-day Kindergarten.  Full-Day Kindergarten is only offered as a fee-based program (except in two district schools where the Free/Reduced Lunch Program participants is equal or over 50% of the population) in SWC 833.  If parents cannot afford the fee, there are sometimes funds available.  However, to get into the school a family must enter a lottery (after showing they can pay the $2K+/yr fee for all-day Kindergarten) where slots are filled at random, unless the family somehow "hit the Spanish Immersion lotto jackpot" with an older child, then the siblings of the child already in the program are allowed to participate without having to be part of the lottery.  This system is elitist from the outset, since most of the families interested in SI are those who can afford to pay the Kindergarten fee, and it seems that the longer the families are in the cocoon of SI, the more "entitled" and vocal they become.  It would seem that David Kemper and Susan Kent have not been immune from the elitist attitudes exhibited by their cohorts in the choice program.

More information:
Crosswinds School information
It has been mentioned that Joanne Ward (DFL 53A) might be willing to vote in favor of the Perpich Center acquiring Crosswinds if she feels that she has support from her constituents to do so.
"Perpich Center for the Arts would Sustain Diversity at Crosswinds"
District 833's plans for Crosswinds
Information re Spanish Immersion in District 833
Previous post on this topic

Updated 3/1/2013 2:56pm