Sunday, August 22, 2010

County Planning and Zoning votes three ties, then extends 2142 EAW

From The Cook News Herald:

Full Story Here:

The St. Louis County Planning and Zoning Commission spent 3-1/2 hours last Thursday listening to testimony on the proposed new North School that ISD 2142 is planning to build. They heard the recommendation of the county's own staff, who said they should not make the district come up with an Environmental Impact Statement, something that could take a year and a half, such as the last one the Planning and Zoning asked for took. Then the board voted 4 to 4 to require an EIS. They then voted 4 to 4 for a 30- to 60-day extension. Then they voted 4 to 4 to not ask for an EIS. 
Meanwhile, a huge crowd filled the Liz Prebich Room in the Northland Office Building. A large number of supporters for the new school, including more than 10 youngsters, came early starting to trickle in at 8:45 a.m. They were all wearing bright yellow T-shirts with "BUILD" on the front and the following on the back:
BUILD Communities
BUILD Confidence
BUILD Opportunities
BUILD Excitement
BUILD Athletics
BUILD Leaders
BUILD Futures
BUILD Dreams
During the meeting, the 10 plus youngsters sat quietly in front of the board listening to the discussion on their educational futures.

Later, a motion was made to deny the EAW and ask for an EIS. This failed 4-4. Then a motion was made asking for a 30- to 60-day extension. That failed 4-4. Then a motion was made to approve the EAW. That failed 4-4. A recess was called while the board consulted legal help.
Fifteen minutes later they came back and the opinion was that since this item had been tied three times, it was automatically passed. Board members then thought they should go with a 60-day extension if the School District would agree. Supt. Rick agreed.
That motion finally passed by a 5-3 margin. The only things that can be brought up at that meeting, which will be held Oct. 14, will be whether Flint Creek dries up and the effect of discharge into it, and storm waters.
Since the EAW wasn't approved, no CUP (Conditional Use Permit) hearing was held.
The meeting finally ended at 1:21 p.m

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ISD #2142 School District, North EAW Video Testimony, North Project EAW, Aug. 12, 2010. (Last Section Of Testimony)

North EAW Testimony Part 2  ISD #2142 School District, North Project EAW, Aug. 12, 2010.
Second hour of the meeting, Last Section Of Testimony.

Section 2 contains: Community Supporters for and Opponents against the ISD #2142 North school project plan to improve educational quality for our area's youth.

North EAW Testimony 2nd Section,Part 1 Time 14m 36s

North EAW Testimony 2nd Section,Part 2 Time 15m 01s

North EAW Testimony 2nd Section,Part 3 Time 14m 59s

North EAW Testimony 2nd Section,Part 4 Time 14m 59s

North EAW Testimony 2nd Section,Part 5 Time  2m 34s

End of Testimony: (No more to be posted)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

North EAW Testimony, ISD #2142 School District, North Project EAW, Aug. 12, 2010.

First 1.5 hours of the meeting:

North EAW Testimony Part 1 Time 12m 33s

North EAW Testimony Part 2 Time 14m 57s

North EAW Testimony Part 3 Time 14m 58s

North EAW Testimony Part 4 Time 14m 59s

North EAW Testimony Part 5 Time 14m 58s

North EAW Testimony Part 6 Time 13m 32s

More to be posted later as time allows:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Letter To The Editor - The Cost of Saving Schools

By Art Dale

How can a community save its schools when the dollars supporting them have dropped by 38%?  The loss of operating dollars means the loss of local schools.  Consolidation is the only way to save them.  Efforts to “save our schools” have disastrous consequences.  When bills can’t be paid, schools can’t be saved.  Saving our schools by trying to maintain what we have ultimately means the loss of those very schools.

In Orr, Cook and Tower/Soudan the compounded efforts to block the ISD 2142 plan will save the Virginia and Ely schools.  They will provide our students a quality education for the 21st century. Consider the results of “Saving our schools.”  Tower will lose its school altogether.  A complete impasse will result in the Cook and Orr communities without a school between them. “Saving schools” does not increase the number of students in our communities.  With 38% loss of students our schools can only operate in the red. “No School At All” is the bottom line for those blocking the only plan that can provide a higher quality education and balanced budget.  Those working to “Save our Schools” will loose them. Everything else is “red herring.”

The Planning and Zoning Committee and the Board of Adjustment interpret zoning laws to protect communities.  By their very name they make adjustments.  They make adjustments in zoning laws to build factories that provide hundreds of jobs and insure a clean environment.  Making adjustments for a building that will house activities providing quality education to our students is their job.  The have the power to make adjustments that will enable a community to balance school operating budgets and provide quality education.  “Saving our schools” by blocking the building of schools makes no sense at all.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Tim Kotzian-led Coalition for Community Schools receives another setback

Cook News Herald Article: (8/6/10)

The Coalition for Community Schools led by Tower City Clerk/Treasurer Tim Kotzian and Mayor Stephen Abramson received another setback in their opposition to the reorganization plans of ISD 2142. These plans call for a new North and a new South School, remodeling of the Babbitt-Embarrass and Cherry schools and the Tower-Soudan School remodeled into a K-6 school. Last December, voters in ISD 2142 approved the $78.8 million bond referendum to pay for this by a 51 to 49 margin.
Kotzian's group appealed a ruling by Barbara Hayden, a director in the St. Louis County Planning and Development Department, when she said the planned school in the south qualified for permitted use in the Forest Agriculture Management area and could be considered for conditional use. The Kotzian group wanted to appeal this ruling and had 45 days to do so. The ruling was given on March 25, 2010, at a County Planning and Zoning meeting open to the public. This decision was recorded on April 15.
A letter was sent to the Kotzian group on July 26, along with the $1,000 check that had been sent, informing them that the 45-day requirement had gone by so their appeal was shot down.
It was noted in the letter that other conditional uses for FAM land include landfills, slaughterhouses, airports, racetracks and feedlots.
Copies of this letter were sent to Kevin Gray, St. Louis County Administrator; Melanie Ford, St. Louis County Attorney; the St. Louis County Planning Commission; the St. Louis County Board of Adjustment; St. Louis County Commissioners; and ISD 2142.

ISD 2142 South School bids come in on budget

Article From The Cook News Herald online: (Full Story Online at the link below)

Sixty bids were received for the construction of the new South School for ISD 2142, it was announced by Gary Zifko of Kraus-Anderson Construction Company at a special study session of the board Monday at 3:30 p.m. in the Central Office in Virginia. The bids were for eight different items in the new construction.
The board, before a packed house which included Fox TV, next discussed the possible closing of schools if construction is delayed. Business Manager Kim Johnson said there would be minor savings since 70 percent of the district's spending is for people under contract. There would be some savings by cutting custodians and some of the upkeep of the buildings. The schools that might be closed were Orr, Tower-Soudan and Cotton. There could be savings in food service and transportation, but that might be matched by students going to open enrollment and other schools.
Cherry board member Darrel Bjerklie wondered if Tower-Soudan parents were behind the remodeled K-6 school or if the district should look at a new school since it seemed that remodeling costs almost as much as building new. There was talk of a survey going out to the parents in the Tower-Soudan enrollment area.
Bruns said, "Don't close any schools this year. No significant savings." She said the board should "keep our word" in keeping all schools open this year.
There was also some talk about where the new North School would be built if the present location wasn't approved. It was pointed out that a second location near the Gheen Corner was the next option.
Supt. Charles Rick said of the reorganization plan that the new schools could "bring people together" and give the district a "new identity."
There being no other items on the study session agenda, the meeting adjourned around 4:30 p.m.