Sunday, November 05, 2006

Stillwater: Hoffman's Support For The Levy

I bet I was not the only Stillwaterian who found retiring School Board member Nancy Hoffmann's Farewell Address On The Levy a little bit sad.

Hoffman's final pre-election word on the levy was printed in the local newspapers last week. Readers will recall that Hoffman won election to the School Board as a write-in candidate, riding a wave of outrage over spending on the new "school laptop computer loan program." (Her write-in candidate colleague also won election on the "anti-laptop rage" platform that year: Chris Kunze, who will go down in Stillwater history as the School Board member who betrayed his colleagues and tried to kill the levy after promising them he would support it.)

But Hoffman is retiring (health reasons) and her words of farewell are ominous. This undoubtedly conservative elected official tells us that if this levy fails to pass, the local schools will suffer mightily. According to Hoffman, folks who object to the high price tag are in denial--it is indeed a "replacement levy" and there is simply "no more fat to cut" out of the school budget.

So let's hope it passes. We all have a stake in keeping the local schools up to standard over the next five years--doing so makes our homes more valuable, builds the character of the community, it sends the smart kids off to good schools, and makes even the stupidest kids a little bit smarter.

Without the solid educational basics I got from our public school system, I doubt that I ever could have completed the G.O.P. Property Tax Rocket. Today, that rocket is flying. And that should inspire us all.


At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is sad.

I didn't agree with Hoffman when she started, and I don't agree with her on some matters of school policy, but I have to tip my hat to her - I now see she came with an open mind and then did the right thing.

I guess, when it is all said and done, that is really all one can ask.

So, here's to Nancy and thanks to her for writing a strong piece in support of our schools.

The next item on the agenda - what to do about Kunze?

At 11:58 PM, Blogger Prendergast said...

It depends on who they appoint in Hoffman's place.

If they appoint someone who understands that the School Board is not dedicated to pissing away taxpayer's money, then Kunze's vote will be cancelled out.

If they appoint another right-wing careerist with higher political ambitions--like Kunze--then there will certainly be more teacher layoffs, bigger classrooms, cuts to teaching programs, basic services. When I say basic services, I mean basic--like school bus transportation, crossing guards at busy intersections, the kind of cuts we've already seen.

The selection of a successor will be very important, and politicized--for both sides. The reason is: local school board office is viewed a good "jumping off" point for people who aspire to political careers. On the school board, you make contacts, get your name in the local papers, talk to parents and local administrators. Political organizations almost certainly advise aspiring and likely amateurs to try to get on to the local school board to break in to politics.

The career of Michele Bachmann is instructive. My guess is that she was advised by the local evangelical political activists to run for the Board in 1999. I say that because 1) that's a common tactic used by evangelical politicals to groom their candidates and raise their name recognition, and 2) the first time I heard Michele Bachmann speak was on local Christian radio, back in 1999, when she was running for the Board one of a slate of GOP candidates in what is normally a non-partisan race.

So the remaining board members and the public should make it a point to inform themselves about the political affiliations and background of any potential Hoffman successor.

At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kunze, ah Kunze.

I'm getting a big kick out of these "Citizens for Responsible Spending" crew of 19. Now they are equating the levy results with total support for Kunzster. They must be an amazing group to shoot down the vast majority of levies in the state by pretty much the same margins!

What I can't figure out is how do they know he isn't lying to them too? After all, before he was against the levy, he was for it.

Do you think they knew about this .... Nah, just couldn't be. (uh huh)

So, I guess either they knew he was lying and this was all planed OR they are too stupid to figure out he lied to them first.

What do you think the odds are on Kunze resigning? I'm thinking this is going to be a month or two of discussion about him. That will do him a lot of good for sure. ;)


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