Thursday, October 23, 2008

281 Referendum YES281 : CARE281 Letter

Well folks, here are the questions/accusations that Ron posted on the 281Care blog site. The ones that he would not let folks comment on. They have been restated to be more polite for this open letter to the 281 board, however they are openly antagonistic and leading. I'll give you my responses and open it up for your comments. VOTE YES on Option 1 & 2

"To Board Members,
As I and others are talking with the RAS community, some questions are coming up many times;
1.) Why is RAS asking for a 7 year referendum, when your projects from the Director of Finance at the July meeting show that a $15/month increase will only last for 3-5 years? They are not seeing any answer on the website or in other materials.
2.) Is the Superintendent’s contract, which ends on June 30, 2009, being extended or is a search for a replacement going to be started? Is there any information on this item available?
3.) Why has RAS over the last 4 years negotiated to give its employees total increase of 11% at the same time the MN Legislator give the school district about a 11% total increase in its basic funding? It appears that RAS expected that all other cost in the District were going to increase by 0%. How can this be explained?
Can you point them to an answer to these questions? If you can provide answers to these questions that are being asked in the community, I would appreciate providing RAS’s replies. Thanks.
Best Regards,Ron Stoffel"

My Answers / Opinions
1. Why not make it a 7 year referendum? Do we really want the district expending our money and time going through this again in 5 years if costs are lower or revenue is higher than the assumptions? I want them focused on teaching kids and operating the district!!! The reality is the district is making assumptions regarding state funding, cost of living and many other variables that are outside of anyone's control. If you want to stretch this levy to 7 years: make sure you vote for option 1 & 2 !!!

2. I am not sure what Ron has against Stan Mack, however if Nov is some form of a due date then his question is relevant. I just wish Ron would stop using negative generalities and give some specific ideas regarding what he thinks Stan should be doing differently.... From what I have seen and heard, Stan is absolutely dedicated to the neighborhoods & kids in this district. (possibly to a fault)

3. 11% over 4 years would be about 2.75%/yr. This appears to be aligned with the SSA's COLA. Per one of my ealier entries, we citizen's get what we pay for and the market sets the acceptable wage. If your company does not raise wages with the market, the most capable employees will move to greener pastures and your company will fail/flounder. In this case, failing to keep the best teachers is not acceptable.
A company can hold wages for a short period as long as they can offer their employees hope of an upturn. Unfortunately as we have seen, raising school revenues in 281 is very challenging and the employees know it. So I believe the district is therefore better off small slow consistent increases.

Besides, if the state did give 11% additional funding for the school's total cost. Then compensation can go up 11% and other costs can go up 11% since they are both part of the total. Not sure what his point is...

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