Duluth Public Schools: Political, Budget, and Community Issues
We won, again!!
Last year, Superintendent Gronseth and five Duluth School Board members initiated a process to try remove me from the Board. The Superintendent's actions were based on nothing but nasty lies, and was the culmination of his intimidation to stop me from talking about failures of management of the School Distict and the many problems we face. They spent about $200,000 of taxpayer's money (classroom money) in their failed attempt to remove me.
In our successful defense, we filed a counter lawsuit in Federal Court. In the first half hour of our hearing, the Federal Judge made it very clear that the school could not remove me from an elected position, and he thoroughly chastised the Superintendent's attorney for their blatant attack on the democratic foundations of America--elected officials and freedom of speech. The school ran with their tail between their legs and got nothing--but more angst from the community and more loss of student enrollment. A case history of incompetent school leadership and incompetent school lawyers.
BEST OF ALL, the three nasty board members that went after me, knew that they would never win relection and didn't run again!!! In two years, the six board members that denied the rights of people in Duluth to have a say in their schools are all gone. All of Duluth is looking forward to the new school board. See the menus on Recent Articles and Links for more information on how this worked out and the excellent articles by the Zenith and the Reader Weekly on this fiasco.
After one-and-a-half years of incompetence and waste, this is all over.
It is now time to get back to school governance by looking at the district's questionable financial management, the enormous loss of enrollment, the achievement gap, and our low graduation rates.
Welcome to the Truth in Duluth website! This site is maintained by Art Johnston, Duluth School Board member for the 4th District. This is a forum to get information out to Duluth citizens on current political and monetary issues in the Duluth Public Schools (ISD 709). I will occasionally report on education issues, but my emphasis is not on education or school activities, but rather the community involvement in the school board, budget impacts on the classrooms, and tax impacts.
These views are based on factual information that I’ve learned and researched as a school board member; and based on what I've experienced as a board member. This is intended to be a dynamic site with frequent updates on current issues and historical and current budget information. Check back after school board meetings for updates.
Despite the public school budget being almost twice as large as the Duluth City’s budget, school issues often fly under the radar screen with little reporting by the Duluth media. Investigative journalism is virtually nonexistent in Duluth. The alternative newspapers like the Zenith and Reader Weekly occasionally do articles that have excellent investigative journalism. The TV stations are often good, but it is in 5 second sound bites. The Duluth News Tribune is about as bad as they come, and very disappointing when it comes to reporting on the schools, and when they do an "investigative article", it is down right wrong, misleading, or only is a spokesperson for the school administration--rarely do school board members' opinion even get reported on.
Citizen frustration is already high from disregard that the school has shown to citizens by denying them a vote on the Red Plan. And its getting worse due to the continued lack of transparency and honesty by the school district, large class sizes, reduced teacher positions, and the inevitable tax increases. And now people are asking, "Where did all that $314 million go?" "Why are our class sizes so large?"
This website is designed to inform Duluth citizens, education professionals, parents and students about how we got to this point and who's responsible and what we can do about it. This is meant to give a voice to reasonable decision-making based on knowledge (isn’t that what schools are all about!) and factual discussion of the issues.
If we don’t get the facts right, we’ll get the decisions wrong!