Who controls children’s futures?

The Independent School District 834’s “Bridge to Excellence” has this taxpayer asking a lot of questions about the five-year plan for our teachers and students.
Our superintendent and elected school board has put together a 34-page “Strategic Plan” which can be found on the district’s web site. They outline a timetable of implementation for this costly experiment.
Does the district really need to pay a volunteer coordinator $78,000.00 per year to coordinate volunteers?
What is “service learning” for E-12 and why will it cost taxpayers $23,400.00 per year?
Why are we supporting a $286,000 per year school-based health center for students?
Will it really cost taxpayers $64,000 per year to shadow teachers across the district?
Under “Staff Development,” taxpayers will support “instructional coaching” at an annual cost of $450,000. And another $50,000 per year so staff can, “Know how to prepare and plan for a differential classroom”.
These “new dollars” will neither pay down the district’s current debt nor support current departments that have yet to finalize their contracts with the district before the end of the year.
This “Bridge to Excellence” has the support of Kathy Saltzman, the state director to Minnesota’s chapter of “Students First.” Their web site has identified the same concerns as our district officials and they are steering ISD 834 taxpayers into supporting President Obama’s “Race to the Top,” which is the federal government’s control of all areas of learning from cradle to grave.
If we vote “yes” on Nov. 5, will our teachers lose all local control in the classroom? Will our elected school board become obsolete if we empower the federal government with our children’s futures?

Kate Carlsen
Stillwater

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