Monday, June 28, 2010

RAS Updates and Fountainhead

Sorry for being so delinquent in my posting, I have been very busy at work, at home, and at my Parent's home. The upside is that I am pretty well prepared for a somewhat relaxing week long July 4th vacation.

Besides this I have been somewhat obsessively reading another book by Ayn Rand. This one is named "The Fountainhead". It is similar to "Atlas Shrugged" and yet very different. Both are definitely worth a read, and "The Fountainhead" currently has me thoroughly pulled into it. I'll give you more thoughts when I have finished it.

Warning: If you lean toward Socialistic or very Liberal tendencies, do not read these books. You would likely become very disturbed and have to reconsider your belief system. Or you may slip into denial and rationalization in order to avoid Ayn's brilliance, either way it would not likely work for you. However, if you believe every individual and their efforts matter, you will love it.

As for RAS, below are the links that go with these random thoughts. Read the links and match the thoughts:
  • I wish I had attended the 20Apr10 FAC mtg, the minutes are too short and uninformative for what must have been an interesting meeting.
  • It looks like RAS did great in teaching math this year and okay in reading.
  • It looks like RAS is working to increase the fund balance, which is a good thing.
  • I am anxiously awaiting the formal facilities plan. From what I can tell, the status quo is in the lead and creative aggressive action is stalled...
  • The enrollment charts are very colorful and sloping consistently.
  • How can Union leadership understand the district's financial issues, and the membership not? Seems odd...
  • Those MAP slides are so confusing. We did better than who? In which states? Do I care how we did against Mississippi? How did we do against other Minnesota schools/students?
  • When do those MCA2's come out?
Any thoughts of your own?

RAS 21Jun10 Agenda
RAS 21Jun10 Minutes
Financial Advisory Council Report
RAS MAP Results News Release
RAS MAP Results Presentation
RAS Enrollment Report
RAS 2010/11 Budget
RAS FAC 20Apr10 Minutes
RAS FAC 18May10 Minutes
RAS Divestiture Committee

Monday, June 21, 2010

Recession a Bad Thing? Revisited

Well, I wrote the following post approximately 1.4 yrs ago.

G2A: Is a Recession a Bad Thing?

What do you think:
  • Has the economic hardship been deep enough, long enough and affected enough people to teach the American citizens some important lessons? (ie saving, self reliance, continual improvement, etc)
  • Or did the huge National borrowing campaign and stimulation effort teach people to be more dependent on the government and it's "infinitely deep pockets"?
  • Or something else entirely?

Personally I think it was not nearly severe enough, long enough or impacted enough people. The fact that the US Government borrowed excessively to reduce the pain concerns me greatly. Since those "infinitely deep pockets" are actually yours, mine and our children's, and they do have a bottom.... I wonder how many times we can borrow our way out of learning the critical lessons? (one being: spend less than you make/collect...)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Comfort Limits Wealth ?

I recently bought another toy... A 2001 Kawasaki STS 900cc jet ski...

As I researched jet skis, I learned that the basic new version of what I wanted would cost me ~$8,000 after tax and license. And man they looked so nice in the showroom. However after noticing that the typical jet ski seems to clock <20 engine hours per year, there was no way I could part with that extra $5,400 in cash.

This event and some others have had me thinking. Is the fact that I was raised in a conservative upper middle class home a key factor in that I will never be rich and surrounded with the real "nice, new, shiny, in style, etc" things?

I mean, why would I ever strive for that level of wealth, prestige, etc when I have most of the things I really want. What would create that hunger, that willingness to sacrifice my comfort, the willingness be away from my family, work long days, etc? What would make me strive for the newest gadget, that biggest home, that newest decor, etc. So:
  • Is good the enemy of great?
  • Is middle class a deterrent to wealth?
  • Is poverty a promoter of wealth?
  • Or does it mean I have a very well balanced life and should keep up the good work?
Here is an article for your consideration. Thoughts?

MSN Rags to World's Richest

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

RSIS Enrollment Policy

If you are interested, 281 Exposed and myself are having a dialogue regarding the year old Spanish Immersion enrollment process/policy.

281Exposed Lottery or Cherry Picking?

Please feel free to leave your comments here or there, if you have any thoughts to add.

RAS 08Sep09 Board Minutes
RAS 08Sep09 Agenda and Linked Docs
RAS 22Sep09 Board Minutes
RAS 22Sep09 Agenda and Linked Docs
RAS RSIS Team and Charter
G2A RSIS Discussion

Thursday, June 10, 2010

RAS Alternative Financing

If you don't remember, alternative funding is a technique that larger school districts can use to raise funds without going to the voters. The rationale is good.

How else would a district with many schools get district voters to approve additional taxes to improve one neighborhood school, when most of the citizens are not connected with that school?

Please review the plan linked below so that you understand that our taxes will be higher to pay for the Northport and Lakeview remodels. Then, hopefully all the schools will have been remodelled, sold or torn down. And we will no longer need the Alternative Financing tax.... (right?) RAS Alternative Financing Plan RAS Board Minutes

Please note: this tax could be less if the excess properties were divested of. (G2A Sale Signs) The good news is that it looks like the Divestiture committee is looking at Brokers. (April Minutes)

Please also note in the minutes that Supt Sicoli is officially delaying the sale of Olson and Pilgrim Lane Elementary schools. Apparently RAS has no "Cost of Capital" or "Return on Assets" to worry about. In essence the buildings are therefore apparently free to hold. Well, maybe the property will appreciate?


Monday, June 7, 2010

14 Interesting Miles

This evening I drove my motorcycle down to an address near Central Ave and Lowry Ave. (ie N Mpls) I was delegated by my father to stop by and research a sail boat he is thinking of buying. Of course, my co-worker felt the need to tease me regarding my safety and if I would be packin... I assured him I would be going during the daylight hours...

Well after looking at the boat, which by the way looks very promising, I decided to do a little sight seeing. By this, I mean that I decided to take Lowry to University to Broadway to County Rd 9 to Larch... (ie skip the highways)

It is a fascinating drive if you are interested in diverse people, places, communities, businesses, etc. I believe this because every one of these subjects changes as you drive. Starting in the traditional / stereotypical N Mpls neighborhoods, passing some of the Mpls re-development, passing the diverse businesses on Broadway, passing the empty buildings, passing N Memorial, passing through the Robbinsdale, Crystal and New Hope communities, and then entering the newer traditional / stereotypical Plymouth/Burbs...

The diversity benefits and challenges are very visible on this 14 mile drive. We just need to remember to look, and remind ourselves that everyone you see is human and trying to do the best they can.

Any advice for this farm boy suburbanite if I go down to pick up the boat?

Other tourist areas I should check out?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kids: Stay in School

We know that typically College educated people receive more in terms of compensation. Well, it looks like they also receive more in terms of job security....

Washington Post: Unemployment by Education

The Week: Does Washington Care about Unemployment?

I would even go so far as to say that in a knowledge based world, the differential will only grow with time. The rationale is pretty straight forward.

When a company is pressed to layoff personnel, they will typically layoff those folks that are easiest to replace when things turn around. Those that have the most "hard to replace" knowledge are therefore retained, and those with less are cut loose.