The record for fund-raising in the relatively new category of district seats on the Minneapolis school board has jumped again, thanks to an amended report by a teacher-backed political fund.
The Local 59 Political Fund now reports spending just over $15,000 on behalf of Patty Wycoff in the election last fall on the West Side of Minneapolis that was won by Josh Reimnitz in a squeaker. All byt $300 of that was an independent expenditure. The new total reported in March is triple the amount disclosed by the teacher fund in January.
The total raised in the race is now more than $67,000, including both campaign and independent fundraising. That's largely swelled by the previously reported $40,000 raised by Reimnitz and his campaign committee, which is a new record for any school campaign, whether city-wide or for one of the board's six district seats. The independent spending for Reimnitz reported in January by the New York City-based 50CAN education reform advocacy arm adds $6,000.
Wycoff raised a mere $7,195, but spent $8,445, according to the campaign report. The increased amount of $15,000 spent by teacher union members somewhat reduced the campaign spending finance gap between the two candidates. But more than twice as mcuh was spent to elect Reimnitz.
Reimnitz had already eclipsed the previous funding record from 2010 set by board member Richard Mammen, who raised $34,523 in running city-wide.
Independent spending late int he cmapaign by both the union and 50CAN drew cries of foul from the opposite side. Both expenditures came late enough in the campaigns that the amounts and donors didn't have to be disclosed before Election Day.
Former Washburn High School Principal Carol Markham-Cousins has been assigned to run a tiny high school operating inside Hennepin County's Juvenile Detention Center for next school year.
Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson announced the assignment on Wednesday in releasing a list of principal assignments for next school year.
The district said that Markham-Cousins has accepted the assignment at a school for pretrial suspects. The school opened the year with 41 students and was down to 19 at last count. The facility can hold 87 juveniles.
She would replace retiring Larry Lucio, who was assigned by the district to the school, known as Stadium View, in 2007 after he was abruptly pulled from leading Edison High School during the school year. Lucio is retiring after more than 40 years as an educator.
Markham-Cousins also was reassigned abruptly during the school year. Johnson removed her in mid-April after a difficult year that culminated with a student walkout in support of the school's athletic director, Daniel Pratt. The district has said that investigations involving both are still proceeding.
The Stadium View assignment will put Markham-Cousins back with the type of underdog student that she fought hard to educate in her turnaround role at Washburn. One third of students qualify for special education and nealry all meet the federal poverty threshold for school lunch. She'll supervise a school staff of about 15, compared to 118 at Washburn.
Other principals appointed Wednesday to fill retirement vacancies include Ronald Salazar, Folwell School Performing Arts Magnet, who has been instructional leader at Minnesota Transitions charter school, succeeding Sharon Engel; Aaron Drevlow, Lake Harriet Community School, who has been an assistant principal at Stillwater's Red Pony Student Center, following Mary Rynchek; Andree James, Lyndale Community School, where she has been interim principal since January following the retirement of Ossie Brooks James; and Emily Lilja Palmer, Sanford Middle School, an assistant principal at Richfield Middle School, following Meredith Davis.
She’s no longer principal at Washburn High School, but Carol Markham-Cousins will be making a cameo appearance at graduation next month.
That allows her to see off the crop of seniors who rose through Washburn under her tutelage, and gives the school some closure after her abrupt removal in April.
In response to a Star Tribune inquiry, the district said – after some confusion -- that Markham-Cousins’s signature will appear on diplomas and that she speak at the ceremony.
She was replaced on an interim basis by Craig Vana, a retired district administrator who has no previous connection to the school. That raised the question of whose name would be on student diplomas.
Markham-Cousins is working as a principal on special assignment, assisting the associate superintendents on projects, according to district spokeswoman Rachel Hicks. Those include serving as one of the principal representatives on a five-year enrollment project. assisting development of a high school Spanish Immersion program, working on high school schedule changes, and doing teacher observations to help some schools complete teacher evaluations.
A list of principal assignments for next school year is expected to be publicized this week.
This could have been a story about how the Minneapolis School District was prevented from demolishing one of its shuttered schools and wound up better than a million dollars richer.
Instead, the school board this week got a $1.175 million offer for Shingle Creek school, and said no thanks.
That leaves the district with a school at 5034 Oliver Av. N. that it doesn’t want, and would have to pay an estimated $280,000 to demolish.
What was the board thinking when it turned down the offer on a lopsided vote?
Board member Kim Ellison said she was concerned that the staff-recommended sale to Charter School Property Solutions could open the door to a poor-quality charter school moving in. The Nevada-based developer acts as the middleman for charter or private schools seeking a facility to buy or build, according to its web site.
“I need to have a high-performing school,” Ellison said afterward. She said she’s also working with the neighborhood group to set up a meeting, as it requested. That part of the normal process got skipped because the developer put a deadline of last Tuesday’s meeting on its offer. Normally, the board receives a recommendation at one meeting and votes at the next.
The neighborhood group of the same name has opposed demolition of the school. Last year, the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission voted to deny a demolition permit for the school. That was overturned in a district appeal to the City Council, but that was stayed for six months during which the district was to market the school. That’s what produced the offer.
The one-story school is 55 years old, and is without ductwork that was removed along with asbestos after the school closed in 2007. It’s the sole example in the Mill City of a 1950s design concept in which clusters of classrooms were linked by enclosed walkways. It’s also the city’s first example of a school location chosen collaboratively with park officials to take advantage of a nearby park. The school also played a role in desegregating schools in the late 1960s, when it received the largest shifts of black students.
The city marketed the building without success several years ago. “I was surprised to see an offer emerged at that price,” Mark Bollinger, the district’s chief administrative officer, said. But the spurned buyer put a deadline on its offer because of the lead time needed to move a school there by the time school starts. Larry Rieder, its president, predicted in an e-mail that the school will remain empty for another year.
“No school is going to buy the property in mid-year. We like the property and may take another run at it next year,” he wrote. That assumes that it’s still standing, of course.
Arson investigators are asking for the public's help in solving three arson cases in 21 days in the McKinley neighborhood of north Minneapolis.
The most recent fire lit a garage at Tuesday evening, and was the second involving a garage, police said in appealing for tips.. The third fire was set at the rear of a house in the early hours Tuesday. Investigators said that another garage fire remains unsolved in the neighborhood from November. Damage estimates were not immediately available.
The fires for which locations have been reported cluster near 33rd and Bryant Avenues N.
Police asked people with information on the fires to call Sgrt. Sean McKenna at 612-673-3389 or the arson hotline at 1-800-723-2020.
|Public records (51)||Minnesota campaigns (1)|
|Minnesota legislature (1)||Minnesota state senators (1)|
|Democrats (1)||Morning Hot Dish newsletter (1)|
|Parks and recreation (182)||People and neighborhoods (530)|
|Politics and government (688)||Public safety (386)|
|Urban living (260)||Local business (269)|