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Talk of the District: More than 8,000 reasons “Why”

Let’s face it. We all have days when the alarm clock goes off and we just do not want to crawl out from under those covers. So when that feeling kicks in, what is it that motivates us to fight off the desire to fall back asleep? What is the “why” that gets us going each day? I posed this question to the staff of the Stillwater Area Public Schools at the start of this school year. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: ‘We deserve the best possible value for the dollar, not cronyism’

Who is 834VOICE? According to a letter published in the Stillwater Gazette Aug. 12 by Mr. Blondin, we’re a “dark money group funded by hidden political agents.”

Mr. Blondin asked, “who are the special interests out to harm public education in our community by funding 834VOICE?”

He also attacked my credibility. These attacks are nothing more than a disingenuous attempt to divert attention away from district wrong-doing. This same strategy is being used by the District’s legal team instead of addressing serious allegations. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: Examining the ‘Buckets’ of Stillwater Area Public Schools

On July 29, 2016 parents received a Pony Email with a lead story titled, “Stillwater Students Continue to Earn High Marks on State Tests.” The article boasts how “Stillwater students outperformed the state average in all grades and all subjects.”

It’s not until the fourth paragraph do we learn that reading and science scores declined compared to last year. The only thing transparent about the district’s email is the lack of transparency. Why are they benchmarking our district to the state average, and using that standard for their headline? Shouldn’t they benchmark our schools to a higher standard like our own schools’s previous scores; or use an even higher standard like the top 10 percent performing school districts in the state. On August 12, 2016, the Stillwater Gazette had a front page article, “ISD 834 sees gains, losses in MCA scores.” Again, this article states, “overall scores were all above the statewide average.”

Marine Elementary School was singled out. Continue Reading →

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Letter to the Editor: Stillwater BOLD

TO THE SCHOOL BOARD:

Thank you for listening to both district administrators and community members. I can understand the dilemma you must face: On the one hand, BOLD’s promise to save $1.26 million annually would benefit our district’s chronic budget shortfalls, and closing small schools where few students live may allow educational resources to be allocated elsewhere. But on the other hand, are we a district that makes major, community-impacting decisions in such a short amount of time without involving or engaging the support of our constituents? I find this question troubling. Regardless of whether BOLD may benefit budgets or students, there are far greater matters at stake: the district’s partnerships with other governmental entities and the public’s trust. Continue Reading →

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Opinion: Table BOLD

District 834 Board Members,

I am writing you as a resident of District 834 with over 50 years of board experience. I am an elected Stillwater Town Board Supervisor. Board members of any board have an overarching responsibility to be fiduciary agents of the organization. All decisions must be viewed through a financial viability prism. The BOLD proposal may or may not be the correct decision for District 834. Continue Reading →

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Judge Greg Galler Highlights the Standards of Review in the Appellate Process

Trial court judges hear testimony, review evidence, and apply the law in making decisions. Sometimes one side or another believes that the trial judge erred either in analyzing the evidence or in applying the law. Our judicial system allows for people to appeal to the Court of Appeals or, in some cases, the Supreme Court. Some mistakenly believe that appealing a case basically starts it over from scratch with a new group of judges at the Court of Appeals. This is not correct. Continue Reading →

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