Thursday, September 5, 2013


If the district closes Hoover, adds 330 seats to Longfellow and Mann, and follows through on the other parts of its long-term facilities plan, here is what the capacities of the elementary schools will be:

Look at the lower end. Three schools will be outliers: Shimek, Hills, and Lincoln. (Twain has apparently been slated for an expansion of its capacity.) If this plan comes to pass, I have to believe that the pressure to close Hills, Shimek, and Lincoln will be unstoppable.

This is especially true if we overbuild and end up with lots of empty, brand-new capacity – which the plan is practically designed to do, given that it’s based on unrealistically low capacity determinations and high-end enrollment projections.

If we have lots of empty capacity, who better to fill those new seats at Longfellow and Mann than the kids at Lincoln and Shimek? Who better to fill a southeast-side elementary than the kids at Hills? How can the district justify keeping old, small schools open if there is shiny new capacity sitting empty?

City High’s advocates, including its principal, have repeatedly expressed a desire to ensure that City not lose the wealthier areas in Lincoln and Shimek during any redistricting. That desire would create added momentum for closing those schools and sending the kids to Mann and Longfellow, putting those areas at City High once and for all.

If the community wants to move toward having fewer, newer, bigger elementary schools – farther, on average, from where people live – that would be one way to do it. But that idea hasn’t come from any public demand. In fact, at every opportunity, the public has rejected that approach and affirmed its desire to keep its existing schools open.

Yet school closures appeared in almost all of the planning scenarios. Board candidate Sara Barron, who served as a member of the facilities steering committee, said that the continual inclusion of school closures in the scenarios – an idea she opposed – seemed “pre-ordained.” By whom?

The public gets only one opportunity every two years to reclaim ownership of the school system and demand fidelity to the community’s values. One of them is coming this Tuesday. This may be the last chance to stop the fewer/newer/bigger train from leaving the station. The candidates who are on board for the facilities plan, including the closure of Hoover, are Karla Cook, Brian Kirschling, and Jason Lewis. The candidates who present the best opportunity to reverse the school closing momentum are Phil Hemingway, Gregg Geerdes, and Sara Barron. Please vote.


Mary Murphy said...

Thank you Chris. Gregg definitely does not support closing elementary schools in neighborhoods and would very much appreciate your vote and the vote of others. Mary Murphy (Gregg Geerdes' wife)

JulieVanDyke said...

Chris, I think you are very wrong about Sara Barron and have been taken in by her charming performance pieces at the forums. Since I can tell it's a discussion we will have in private or here I'd rather have it here. Nobody from Hills, Lincoln, Shimek, or any of the other endangered schools you write about in this entry should vote for Sara Barron unless they have listened to the audio of the last BLDD steering committee. Chris, listen to what Sara says throughout the meeting and then tell me if you still feel the same way. I don't think, in no particular order, that Hemingway, Tate, Kirschling, or Geerdes will be likely to close small schools. I have had discussions with all of them that arrive at the same point through various paths...that point is that they have each credibly told me that they could not vote in favor of closing Hoover, and there WILL be future votes (at skeletal minimum it will take one more board vote to approve the superintendent's recommendation to close Hoover as part of what he/she is charged with now doing 2017ish). There is another thing I question, specifically after your re-listening to the audio of that meeting, in the forums Sara seems to be saying hers was one of two bldd steering committee votes not to close Hoover and/or Hills. Is that what you "hear" at that meeting...really...because they handed out "clickers" to the committee members to, on purpose, vote anonymously. In which case I have to wonder, how do we really know whether she was one of two votes...that is not the impression I got from her when I attended that particular meeting, when I attended all of the bldd public and ESC steering committee meetings in person (they should be "video" recorded and played back on the district website and the cable ICCSD channel just like board meetings). Listen to the audio Chris. Then listen to the replay of the audio where she spoke against the diversity policy at the Saturday emergency session vote morphed to "Listening Post" with Marla and Sarah Swisher was it? This is the same woman that has spoken so insistently on the diversity policy at the forums...I'm sorry, but the thought of 4 years of a board member that can go from the statements, as a whole, in those audios, to being magically transformed to support the same things I felt I heard them speak against is really pretty scary. I have 4 signs in my yard and an additional current board member that, though I personally like and am very concerned for, should really step down. I believe the arguments can be made that the board member violated oath of office and/or ICCSD board policy regarding of ethical conduct. There are 4 signs in my yard. I would think the newly elected board of 3 has the power to appoint a board member because boards have done so in the past. I would suggest that if, prior to the election, one board member were to announce a decision to step down from the board coinciding with the election, that after the top 3 candidates are voted into place, that they then vote to appoint the 4th highest to garner public vote for the remaining two years of that service. It's a sad thing to have to suggest...but I believe that because a board member's trustworthiness is supreme in their ability to carry out their service at a time when trust and confidence in the board have reached an all time low throughout the district...that if we cannot be certain, because of the court(s) determination of ethics violations, that a board member is ethical and will always make ethical choices, that they are not able to carry out their service further. There should be 4 new seated directors on the board. The top 4 vote garners in the election. I think it makes sense that would be the 4 we choose with our votes in this election, or however that can proceed properly to happen.

Unknown said...

I too, have opposed the closure of Hoover from the first day it was announced.

Unknown said...

To too, have opposed the closure of Hoover. I opposed any closure of Hills two years ago, and still oppose any closure of neighborhood schools.

Chris said...

Jim -- That's true. It's also true that Chris Lynch and Tuyet Dorau oppose the Hoover closure.

Chris said...

Thanks, Julie. As between the person who says that Hoover should stay open (Sara Barron) and the person who says that he will move forward with closing it (Brian Kirschling), I know which one I'd vote for if I cared about keeping Hoover, Lincoln, Hills, or Shimek open.

As I understand it, Sara opposed the diversity policy because she thought the process of adopting it had moved too quickly (though she can speak for herself on that). I opposed it, too, because I thought it was wrong to commit to numerical goals without any discussion of what it would take to reach them. Opposing the policy for those reasons does not mean opposing diversity. Sara's own kids attend a school (Wood) with an FRL rate of 71%. She has made district-wide equity the centerpiece of her campaign. To cast her as an anti-diversity school-closer is way off base.

I'm not going to speculate about sudden openings on the board, but if that were ever to happen, I disagree that the board should appoint a defeated board candidate to the spot. We get so few opportunities to have meaningful public input to what the board does. Openings should be filled with special elections.

Sara Barron said...

Hi, Julie. Thanks for the compliment about my debate performance. I was one of two people who voted against closing Hoover. I also, as I said last night, thought that if the board was going to see two scenarios, they ought to see two very different scenarios, so that they could compare and contrast. That was not an endorsement by any means.

I have a lot of opinions about the Diversity Policy. Keeping in mind that the Diversity Policy (tm) is not the same as diversity, I think I've been pretty consistent. The policy could and should have been better, I'm willing to try to make it work, and my main concern continues to be the needs of students of color and students from low-income families--how they will be impacted by this policy and our more general failure to include people that our policies hope to "help" more fully in the decision-making process.

Anonymous said...

Why has a number of 500 students been decided for the new schools? I assume there was a decision made by the school board that this is a good size?
Why not build smaller schools?

Is there any hope that North Liberty will ever have small schools again?


Anonymous said...

I do not believe that small schools are the way of the future in our district.

The reality of finite resources makes efficiency important.

Chris said...

Anonymouses -- Thanks for the comments. As for what the future holds, further thoughts here.

JulieVanDyke said...

On your alleged voting statement Sara:
You keep saying, “I was one of two people who voted against closing Hoover” I have some questions about the veracity that. With anonymous clickers used to count the votes in that meeting, I question any and all statements about vote results. Not only who voted what, but how many. There were problems with the functioning of the clicker votes that night, another reason I refuse to accept the vote results BLDD recorded. I would trust pieces of paper with yes or no on them more than I trust the clicker method. Hmmm, kind of like I feel about electronic voting without receiving any kind of receipt.
1-Which vote are you talking about, at which point, in which meeting, on which date?
2-If you truly know that you were only one of two votes, which I don’t believe is possible with anonymous clicker voting anyway, who was the other one.
3-With the problems of anonymous faulty clicker voting, how can you even know if you were one of two…there were others, more than two, who I believe were clearly opposed to Hoover closure…are they liars then based on what you say?

JulieVanDyke said...

Secondly Sara, as I attended all of the BLDD steering committee meetings, and most of all in my perception of the final meeting of the BLDD steering committee, during which the relevant votes on the plan were gathered by BLDD via anonymous clicker devices, at least one of which was malfunctioning, if I am remembering correctly, have you listened to the audio yet Chris, it appeared to me that the committee was really ready to move forward with one recommendation, one that didn’t close ANY schools, most of all because it most closely matched what they “sold” us in the RPS, until you, Sara Baron, said something along the lines of it being important to send the board two recommendations, one which closed schools in addition to the one that had the majority support that did not close ANY schools. Now have you listened to the audio Chris? Essentially, if one looks at the events of that evening the way I saw them, the committee was about to move one scenario forward to the board, one that didn’t close ANY schools, until Sara gave a very touching, charming, and persuasive soliloquy that changed a few minds. Karla Cook stated at the last forum, in Hills, that as a board member that had remembered what was sold in the RPS, she didn’t expect to have any elementary school closures come to them to vote on. Yeah, I guess, not until Sara charmingly convinced, much to the preference of BLDD and other administration members of the steering committee (no conflict of interest there with VonHemert making negative statements about “problems” that had not been demonstrated to the public during several of the meetings) as it appeared. Sara, I believe that had it not been for your persuasion otherwise, the BLDD steering committee would have put forward one recommendation that did not close any schools. Now Chris, I’ll ask you again, HAVE YOU LISTENED TO THE AUDIO OF THAT MEETING, because if you haven’t, you do a great disservice to all of the small schools on the chopping block, including Hoover, by NOT listening to it and continuing to support a candidate that could be the only reason the board received any recommendations for elementary closures AT ALL.

Chris said...

Julie -- You're supporting Brian Kirschling, who openly supports moving forward with the Hoover closure. Isn't that worse than suggesting that the board should have more than one scenario to choose from?

JulieVanDyke said...

Chris, in this case, it certainly is. And I will happily tell you why except, that, again, I have already asked you the same question over and over again without your response. You think you're being fair to ignore my turn. I don't, I think it's because you didn't do what I told you was crucially important to your decision and you're simply not going to be honest with me about it. I'll answer your questions when you also answer mine...otherwise, no, not on your blog...will I answer that question, though anyone else that would like to hear it is encouraged to contact me with questions.

Chris said...

Julie -- If I can find the time later tonight, I'll listen to the audio. Even if it is exactly as you're describing, I do not see how that could lead me to vote for a candidate who openly supports closing Hoover instead of voting for Sara Barron, who opposed the closing. Suggesting that the committee give the board two scenarios is not the equivalent of supporting the closure, and is not evidence of some secret plan to pull the wool over everyone's eyes.

JulieVanDyke said...

Chris, it gets kinda old trying to tell you what you should listen to or look at to see why you're like to play little games about it because it entertains you. It's not my job to make you believe me, it's not my job to convince anyone of anything, but if you are making recommendations and telling people who they should vote for, you should be willing to look at both sides of it yourself. It's very simple, this board never asked for recommendations on school closures from the steering committee. Had they received the one recommendation the committee overwhelmingly favored (as did the public) Hoover would not have been so suddenly in danger of closure right now. That simple...if you don't want to know the truth of Sara's personal effect towards Hoover even being up for closure right now in the first place, I can't make you. What I don't have time for is regurgitating and convincing you to agree with something you haven't heard. Listen to the audio, hear what she said, the timing of it, and what resulted and decide for yourself or choose to blindly be charmed by someone who could cause the district harm. I would think, that as your last recommended candidate, in the last election, you would be considerate enough to listen to something I'm telling you is this important...but again, I can't make you drink what you won't bother yourself to come to in the first place. The irony will be if you cause someone to win enough votes that is the main reason your child's school was presented to the board for closure in the first place.

JulieVanDyke said...

And, you are veering towards liability about Brian Kirschling's stance on Hoover. He was concerned about reversing past board decisions, but even he can't and does not support the closure of Hoover and has repeatedly stated that. You just choose to ignore it because you like Sara better. These are Brian Kirschling's 7 critera for school closure consideration. Below that is his answer about Hoover, based on weighing his concern about reversal of previous board decisions against being true to the 7 criteria he has stated he will abide by. I like to call them the smell test. No other candidate has provided such a set of criteria that they will be guided by.

"Looking ahead to the predicted future needs of the district, facility closures should be considered ONLY IF the following criteria are met:

· They are considered as part of a broader redistricting plan that contributes to improved facility equity throughout the district.
· New elementary school constructions and renovations must be completed before any closures occur.
· There is a clear opportunity to reduce operational costs to the district, therefore ensuring long-term fiscal responsibility.
· Plans for a school closure are communicated in a transparent fashion to the affected families and neighborhoods with a reasonable proposed time frame of no less than 3 years.
· Affected families are included in determining a clear plan as to where students will be assigned to attend school at the end of that time period, therefore allowing families to acclimate or adjust their future planning.
· Teachers at an affected school are included in the conversation and there is open communication regarding future facility teaching assignments.
· The closure must align with “Child-Centered: Future-Focused” and affected families will have the opportunity to experience long-term benefits to their child’s education."

More specifically, and actually in addition to multiple conversations I've had with him on the topic, this is Kirschling's stance on Hoover not what you state at all. Stop putting words in his mouth that aren't there please.
"f you're interested in what criteria I think should be applied to determining if a school closure should occur, please read The BIG Question blog post from July 22. In that post, I lay out 7 criteria that I feel must be satisfied to consider a school closure. If they aren't satisfied, then I can't support it. But to say a school should never be considered for closure, I find disingenuous and unrealistic."
and evem more specifically
"Since I was not on the Board during the Facility Master Plan recommendation and subsequent vote on July 23, I was not part of the decision to close any school. Should the discussion occur again in the future, if those seven criteria are not met, I can not support it.

I am the only candidate that has given the issue enough critical thought as a current parent and potential board member to develop clear cut criteria. People know precisely where I stand and what criteria would have to be applied in the future for me whether it's Hoover or any other school.

I feel I have been honest and the criteria are fair on all accounts."

Chris said...

Julie -- Who is being snowed by whom? "That decision has been made and I was not on the board" is a blatant cop-out. Funny how none of the other candidates (or anyone else that I've ever met) seem to think a board decision cannot be changed by a later board.

What good are Kirschling's seven criteria if he won't apply them to a school closure that hasn't actually happened yet? Kirschling's blog post is just an attempt to say to Hills, Lincoln, and Shimek: Don't worry, I won't treat you the way I'm treating Hoover. It has zero credibility.

Does anyone doubt for a minute that if the previous board had voted to close Hills, Kirschling would be saying "That decision has already been made and I wasn't on the board"?

I can assure you that if the Save Hoover group hadn't endorsed Sara Barron, Brian Kirschling would not have been anywhere next in line.

S Marie said...

Julie- I read the above comments carefully as well as the blog link. I am not seeing anywhere that Kirschling has actually answered the question if he thinks Hoover should be closed, considering his 7 criteria. Where has he actually answered that? He states "People know precisely where I stand" but I truly cannot find that he answered!! I don't want to assume what he thinks, I want a straightforward response, not a wishy washy maybe I do, maybe I don't. Criteria are no use unless it can be understood how he will really apply them.
In the case of Hoover, does Kirschling feel the 7 criteria are satisfied- Yes or No.
Again Julie- where has he actually answered that?

JulieVanDyke said...

Wow Chris, you're almost as prejudiced against Brian Kirschling as Tuyet Dorau is towards Hills Elementary. But if you think she would bat an eye before closing Hoover, you're easily fooled. The ONLY reason I think Tuyet voted against Hoovers closure was because, if you look at what she really voted on, she didn't. Tuyet doesn't think City High needs an addition (I don't know if it does or not) but she has never been kind to the small older neighborhood schools before her announcement of candidacy for this election. The only reason I am not fond of Tuyet is that I don't agree with most of her votes past or present, her very clear movements and words towards closing the smaller, less-cost efficient schools in the past, and her total lack of consideration or empathy for those people and neighborhoods she doesn't "need" for whatever it is she wants at that moment.
That's great that you like Sara more than you like Brian...but like has nothing to do with my voting choice...I don't always like Phil or Jim either (most of the time, but not always) but that isn't why I will likely vote for them and perhaps for Gregg Geerdes, I'm still not solid on my 3. However, like Brian or not, I would not vote or support him if he was in favor of Hoover's closure...the way I see it, I don't care if I like Sara or not, her persuasion of enough people on the steering committee to make it happen are responsible for Hoover's closure at the moment...and that's why I wouldn't vote for her and haven't been supportive of her. She also spoke against the Diversity Policy. I also had issues with the DP which I made clear and public, but unlike you and Sara apparently, I understand that policies are revised and fine-tuned over time with this district. Just because it was not perfect from the start would I throw the baby out with the bathwater...we have to start somewhere and this is a good start. So yes, from that viewpoint, her speaking against it and your opposition to it bother me a great deal...because Chris, you have very insightful commentary, I do LIKE you, and I enjoy talking to you, BUT, you also attack district policy and problems but you never suggest anything better. You don't say, well then, we should do it like this ______________________ and, after bugging you to speak up and attend meetings for years, you finally showed up and spoke beautifully for Hoover, but you did it too late didn't you. See, change has to start somewhere and finetuning it along the way is not only a good idea but a necessity...and it's way better than NEVER starting at all. Maybe if you had stood up and spoken publicly earlier in the process, you could have effected a better outcome than just taking potshots from behind your computer at people and ideas that you dont' think are perfect.

Chris said...

S Marie -- I know what you mean; I watched his entire talk here and have little idea of what he is actually saying. But he has made it clear here that "This decision has been made, and I was not on the board. I question whether it is good practice to overturn decisions of past boards," and all of his references to his seven criteria are accompanied by statements about how "going forward" we should apply those criteria.

When he was asked here, "If you were on the board right now, would you vote to close any schools as part of a long-term facilities plan?", his answer was: "The short, honest answer to this question is yes." Then he went on to describe his seven criteria again, without saying whether any of the closures then being considered (including Hoover) met the criteria.

From his statements, I can draw only two conclusions: (1) that he will not revisit the Hoover decision and that he will not apply his seven criteria to the one school that has actually been slated for closure, and (2) that he does not want to give a straightforward answer to a question that many people are concerned about.

Chris said...

Julie -- Excuse me for not speaking against the closure of Hoover before anyone proposed it.

If you think I haven't proposed alternatives, you haven't been reading the blog. Here's one: Keep Hoover open, and don't build expensive capacity that you don't need. Here's another: use realistic capacity numbers, not imaginary ones. Here's another: pass a plan that isn't opposed by a majority of the public. Here's another: Wait until you've discussed what it would take to reach numerical goals before committing to them. Here's another: Stop forcing PBIS on the schools and teachers against their will, and stop treating kids like lab animals without any capacity to develop moral reasoning. Here's another: Give kids a half an hour for lunch, not fifteen minutes. Here's another: Vote for Hemingway, Geerdes, and Barron.

We've been through the rest before. I don't insist that everyone speak up in the same way I do. I think all the time and effort you put into school issues is great, but disparaging anyone who does less, or does it differently, is beneath you, and is just a recipe for saying that influence is rightly limited to a very tiny group.

Sara Barron said...

A vote for me is a vote to keep Hoover open, and all of our other existing schools as well. No fancy guidelines needed. Our neighborhoods and communities thrive on their relationships with their schools, and as a public resource, schools must be used as a tool of smart, sustainable community development as well as places to educate our children.

Thank you for your close watch over our school system, Julie. We are better for it.

JulieVanDyke said...

Chris said...

"Julie -- Excuse me for not speaking against the closure of Hoover before anyone proposed it."

Julie says: See Chris, I wish I could laugh at you right now for your claim that apathy to attend meetings is a right, but it's too sad...because Chris, Hoover's closure has been discussed very publicly and repeatedly for years years, right along with Hills, including the last round of redistricting 2 springs ago, and throughout the BLDD meetings with the public - all 7, which I believe you attended 1 of? Before that it was Twain and Hills the district was trying to close in the redistricting/viability study escapade, and before that it was Roosevelt (still open and a school by the way). So no, you are not excused. For years, many of the rest of us in smaller schools than your child's, Hoover, have already experienced everything Hoover has but a closure date being kept in a state of constant vigilance over our schools, including Roosevelt that defies it's closure to this day.

Nope, you are not excused...the idea of closing Hoover to the benefit of City High has been out there, discussed, and floated around in many public meetings and pages. It's not new at all...and sorry, but see, that's why for so long I've been pro "neighborhood school" instead of just pro-Hills Elementary. If every parent that favored the "neighborhood schools" elementary got off their butts and attended meetings making it clear that none of them are up for demolition INSTEAD of just showing up and becoming irate when it's "their" child's school, we'd have a very different situation on our hands. I'll give it to the Hoover families though, they stuck together and spoke up against closing anyone's neighborhood school not just theirs. They didn't throw anyone else under the bus. The problem is that they only did it once they finally were forced to accept the fact that it was happening to their school instead of just being discussed. They sat passively, quietly for several years of meetings where this was a topic because the clearer target during those meetings was another school each time, totally missing hearing that theirs was on the back burner for City High's growth area next. So, no, you've actually had a very long time to have stood up for Hoover but you passed on your opportunity because you have the right not to attend meetings or stay up to date.

JulieVanDyke said...

First Chris:
I emailed Brian to ask him the questions because I'd rather do that than assume I know them, particularly if I felt any ambiguity, even though I've talked to him quite a bit about them. If I didn't like these answers, and wanted something specific, I'd propose a specific scenario and ask him what his vote would be on it because knowing is much better than

His answers are this:

1) that he will not revisit the Hoover decision and that he will not apply his seven criteria to the one school that has actually been slated for closure,

The criteria would apply to any school. Period. I feel we have to move forward to address the larger issues. I would not push to revisit the decision immediately. If any school closure is discussed and I'm on the board I would use those as my guide.

(2) that he does not want to give a straightforward answer to a question that many people are concerned about."

I don't see how I can be any more straightforward than clearly laying out those criteria. No one else has done that. At least you know where I stand."

If there is something there you find confusing, then simply state your question as a scenario and ask what he would do? Simple, and way better than going, gosh, I just have questions that aren't answered in a form I like so I'll extrapolate they mean this instead of just asking the person point blank.

JulieVanDyke said...

And this is how hard it was to ask:

--the forwarded message follows --
From: "Julie VanDyke"
To: "Kirschling, Brian"
Received: 07 Sep, 13 10:06:30 PM

Hi Brian,

I'm really tired of people that assume they know what you think based on anything but actually asking you point blank. So, here is Chris Liebig's words for your mouth...I don't believe this is where you stand, not that you've done a particularly good job explaining it, and I know your position has evolved with thought of how the future will require many more votes on what happens to Hoover.
So without further ado, please answer Chris's question below since he will not simply ask you as I have asked him to...probably because he would rather think he is right than know that he is not. Please answer the below 2 questions as clearly as possible in as few words as possible so that he may not spend a lot of time trying to to pick them apart instead of understanding that you are not in favor of closing Hoover and would not vote to do it, as will be required of any elected board members in the future, because it does not meet the 7 criteria.

Best wishes,

Chris said...

Julie, I know you're pro-neighborhood school. That's why I don't understand why you're supporting a candidate -- Brian Kirschling -- who has made it very clear that he wants to "move forward" with the closure of Hoover.

I'm really not interested in the lectures about my personal failings. Why won't you address the issue? If Kirschling is such a champion of keeping schools open, why is he opposed to reversing the decision to close Hoover?

I'll ask again: Do you doubt for a minute that if Hills had been closed, Kirschling would be saying "That decision has been made, and I was not on the board. I question whether it is good practice to overturn decisions of past boards"?

Chris said...

Julie -- What are you talking about? Brian Kirschling has been asked repeatedly about the Hoover closure, including by me, and including at the meeting with all of the candidates and a large group of Hoover supporters. If he thinks the Hoover closure is wrong and should be reversed, it would have been very easy for him to say so, like six other candidates did. What stopped him?

If he were to suddenly change his tune two days before the election, why would anyone believe it was sincere?

I also can't help but wonder what his campaign contributors would think, since they are largely the same group that is supporting Karla Cook and are some of the very people who have pushing for the Hoover closure.

Are we talking about the same Brian Kirschling?

JulieVanDyke said...

You may think he may have made it clear, but that is not the case. He said, "The criteria would apply to any school. Period." Do you want me to ask him if he means that includes Hoover, cause I already have, and he has said yes repeatedly and still you do not seem to hear it.
If you want to hear what he thinks of a scenario of your choice, simply write it and I will email it to him because it is so hard for you.
I support him because he does not support moving forward with the closure of Hoover because it did and does not meet the criteria he has stated. He will also not vote for Hoover or any other schools closure without it meeting the criteria. If I didn't believe him, I wouldn't be voting for him or have his sign in my yard...I have stated that as one of my criteria for this election and asked him point blank what he would do in future votes towards the closure of Hoover after the previous board voted to close it by 2017 but hadn't met his criteria. His answer for weeks now, after I explained the history of the Roosevelt closure votes (still going strong as TREC at the moment), to the question of what he would do in previous votes on Hoover when the 7 criteria were not met by the previous board's decision have been, starting as a quiet realization that no board decision to close a school is made in just one vote but actually many, was quite clearly, "Well, I'd have to vote against it". Might he someday vote in favor of a school closure, Hoover or any other school, not unless it's met the criteria. Any board director that tells you they would never vote to close a school in the district under any circumstances is fluffing you, Brian is the only one that has given us a clear litmus test that, if not met, he will not vote to approve. That is better than fluff any day. When you try to hold people to fluff, they just find they've changed their minds and that it's "data driven". When you try to hold people to a set of 7 criteria, ones I might have written a little differently but sufficient for my school closure PTSD to actually relax, there really isn't any wiggle room at all. I trust Brian not to things that aren't transparent, honest, and fair...and I don't have a single doubt about it because he has answered my questions, in the forms of scenarios, very consistently.

Chris said...

Maybe it would have been a good idea for him to have said that publicly, when repeatedly asked, and not just privately to Julie VanDyke?

JulieVanDyke said...

You have changed what you said Chris, he can't "reverse" what has been done. None of us can. The board vote was made, on false data or not though likely so, and has been recorded. All he or anyone else can do is say what they will do when the next vote on it comes up...when I ask him about Hoover, in light of it not having met his 7 criteria, he says, "I'd have to vote against it."
None of the other candidates have said they were going to lead a charge to reverse the Hoover vote either...they've all said the same thing he did to me, I'd vote against it. Why are you holding one candidate to a different standard?

JulieVanDyke said...

Yes, it would have been a good idea, but it's a viewpoint I perceive him reaching after a discussion of the actual process of how the last school "closed", Roosevelt, continues to this day and will be voted on again yet at least twice, a viewpoint that he understood himself better in the form of scenario questions I posed because I had already realized he wouldn't vote to follow along with the future votes involved in any actual closure of Hoover if they didn't meet his criteria. He did start out saying he wasn't comfortable reversing previous board policy, but he has already begun to really understand what a level of 3-D chess it is. School closures actually take a lot of votes, and he won't vote against his conscience. If it doesn't meet the criteria, he won't vote yes on any future votes against any schools including Hoover.

so much as he was trying to say he wouldn't go back and , and he didn't just say that to me, and you're just focusing your rage about the Hoover vote on him for some reason

Chris said...

Julie -- What do you think he meant when he responded, "That decision has been made, and I was not on the board. I question whether it is good practice to overturn decisions of past boards"? What did he intend that to convey to Hoover supporters?

How about when he told Hoover supporters that we should "actually work to follow through on a plan that has been passed and to take the opportunity to move forward"? What did he intend that to convey?

At least Jason Lewis had the courage to tell Hoover supporters that he thought the school should be closed and to try (albeit lamely) to defend the decision.

JulieVanDyke said...

...and Chris, as you very well know, people say things to "Julie VanDyke" because she asks them. Gregg Geerdes had an excellent answer to something I'd heard that bothered me and I believed his answers just as much as I believe Brian's. People all over town say things "privately to Julie VanDyke" because I ask them outright, I go to meetings and say what I think, and I'm as honest as I can be which is apparently some form of street cred...but most of all, it's because instead of playing games with them to find out what I think they think, I ask them...over time,it has grown to a point that when I meet people, even at DQ the other day, I've never seen before, they trust me enough to tell me what they think about the school district and related topics quite candidly. It's much more effective than playing games with them to see if I can guess what they really think about things. The other reason, is that because I go to meetings and stay informed, they don't have to explain things to me and feed me the entire context first so that I'll understand...usually, it's a topic they've heard me talk about before and so it's almost a confessional release just to get things off their chests...not because I have a collar, but because I know what they're talking about because so many people talk to me. I'm sorry if that makes you grouchy, but I find it works to keep me informed and aware of things I might not otherwise ever even hear of.

Chris said...

Julie, why are you acting like no one's ever asked Brian Kirschling about his position on the Hoover closure?

If a candidate changes his tune in the final days of a campaign -- and I've still seen no evidence that Kirschling has -- and it happens to coincide with the realization that his previous position was actually really unpopular, what do you expect people to think?

JulieVanDyke said...

Well Chris, after I heard him say that, I didn't believe he really understood the process, the many votes closing Hoover, or any other school, will take...and when I explained it to him, I think he realized that, regardless of being uncomfortable about reversing or revisiting, whoever gets elected will have to make future votes on Hoover's closure...and that he won't vote against his conscience.

Don't even get me started on Jason my opinion, it looks like he's Murley's newest fan recruit and under the thumb of lots of donations from the same people that want Hoover closed so City High can grow...that he tries to lamely defend it doesn't make it more respectable, it makes it even worse.

JulieVanDyke said...

He didn't change his tune in the final days of the campaign, he did change his mind after the Hoover forum in the park several weeks ago...and he was halfway changed even before that...Sara changed her tunes pretty quickly there, as did Lynch, and Dorau...why aren't you holding them to the same standards?
When someone changes their stance on something, I expect them to be able to explain to me the mental process they went through that caused them to see it differently. If their change of heart rings true, makes sense, and they've never lied to me before, yes, I am willing to trust them and my gut on it. Again, you're holding him to some weird personal standard while not criticizing others so harshly for the same or worse...not playing fair Professor Liebig, is not playing fair...

Chris said...

Julie, how can you say that about Jason Lewis's $2,600 in contributions, but not about Kirschling's $8,600?

When did you explain all this to Brian? Yesterday? Because even at the Hills forum two days ago he didn't say anything different from what he's said before. If he's against closing Hoover, he's doing a great job of keeping it a secret.

Maybe he's the great guy you say he is. He's still a terrible candidate.

JulieVanDyke said...

...and Sara, other than your plug for yourself again, you haven't answered my questions at all...please do.

I would also point out that you have repeatedly stated at the forums things along the lines of we shouldn't be hearing from the same group of people over and makes your above thanks for close watch over our schools even less sincere in my opinion...particularly since your comments at the forums seem to imply quite the opposite. I would bet that like me, Phil, would be pleased to see a wider swathe of the community come to meetings and speak up. It really disappoints me not to be one of the folks just sitting at home on the couch watching more often. Maybe if more people were allowed to talk, instead of cutting community comment entirely from one of two board meetings every month, as they have, that could happen, oh, yeah, but then that would mean people would have to get up off their couches more often.

JulieVanDyke said...

Yes, he is not good at being a politician is he...I believe you are avoiding to mention that the final campaign reports have not yet been submitted (since the campaigns are not finished yet) and that Ed Stone's City High or Die cast of characters donated more to Lewis and Cook than to Kirschling's. I'll be interested to go over those lists when the campaign is over and we see the complete report. Brian's contributions were not from people who have bought influence...he will vote by his conscience and not because someone powerful told him to do it a certain way...probably exactly why Stone donated more to Lewis and Cook.
Yep, Brian is terrible at campaigning, it's his first time and he's nervous, but he's honest, he's fair, and he lives and makes decisions by his conscience and it's a good strong one that I think would do us all a lot of good up there. He's not great at putting on a fancy show of it, but it's there and it is a very selfless, humble, and caring one that will keep him on the right track for everyone's kids on every vote. If I doubted that, I wouldn't be voting for him or supporting him.

JulieVanDyke said...

Chris, you only hear what you want to hear...I started the discussion with him before the Hoover park forum several weeks back, I rubbed his nose in it at the park after the Hoover forum (bet he'd laugh sheepishly and tell you I sure did too), and his understanding that it wasn't a done deal with Hoover's closure vote by any measure, and that if elected he would have to vote on it and it hadn't meet his criteria so he would have to vote against it came right after the Hoover forum. It's something I've been talking with him for about for weeks.

Chris said...

That's just not an accurate statement about the contribution reports. Kirschling's reports are loaded with the City High old guard who want Hoover closed.

I'm not going to talk you out of voting for Kirschling. And you know I wouldn't be engaging in this long exchange if you weren't someone whose opinion I respect. But you must realize that people aren't going to be persuaded by, "yeah, you can't tell he's good by actually listening to him, but you should vote for him anyway because Julie VanDyke has a good feeling about him."

JulieVanDyke said...

Then they will eat their words if Sara Barron, Tuyet Dorau, Chris Lynch, or, after what she did to Hoover, Karla Cook win...see, you seem to care that people vote your recommendations whereas I know my prediction rate about what happens in the district is probably the most accurate of anyone's...all just on little ol Julie's feelings about them.
Kind of like the RPS that YOU supported Chris, I told everyone what would happen if we passed it without the data and a plan first...maybe you should take me at my word...or should I mention that, had the RPS NOT passed, Hoover wouldn't be up for closure right now and you wouldn't have, after barely attending meetings or bothering to listen to audios that I tell you are important, have helped convince people to pass it. Why, thinking of it from that angle, your support of the RPS, and anyone else that voted for it against what my good feelings told me, are as responsible for Hoover's closure as Sara is for convincing the BLDD steering committee that they couldn't just send up one recommendation that kept all schools open. Why don't you both go to your rooms and think about what you've done ;-)

Sara Barron said...

Julie, 1) At the final steering committee meeting I voted against closing Hoover, both to the question "Should any schools be closed?" and to the question, "Should Hoover be a swing school?" or however it was phrased. 2) I don't know who the other vote was, since it was unfortunately anonymous. 3) I am definitely not calling anyone a liar (but I do feel a little embarrassed to have to type that).

Brian is a nice guy. I'm not sure I understand why he gets a pass from you on some of these inconsistencies. But, I don't really need to. Take care.

new voter said...

I'm new in town...and horrified to learn that votes have been made anonymously on the board. CLICKER??!! Shame, shame, shame.

Unknown said...

new voter:

The anonymous votes mentioned were from the facilities steering committee, not the Board of Education (BoE).

BoE votes are done verbally at board meetings and are a matter of public record.

Chris said...

New voter: Jim Tate is right, it was the board's facilities steering that voted anonymously, not the board itself. I still agree that any public committee should not be voting anonymously.

New Voter said...

Jim & Chris. Thank u for clarifying re: anonymous voting. Yeah, I think the steering committee votes should be public, too. Wonder what the rationale is? Mafia? I voted today: Barron, Geerdes & Hemingway. They seemed to have the most transparent, reflective answers and rationale. This blog really helped inform me. Thanks!

JulieVanDyke said...

Sara, later, after the excitement of today, I will take the time to revisit and post the link(s) to your part in sending a second recommendation scenario to the board for vote, that included closing schools, instead of sending just one forward, the most supported one by the majority of the committee as I saw it that night, THAT DIDN'T CLOSE ANY SCHOOLS AT ALL.

If only one RPS most similar scenario had been sent to the board by the BLDD steering committee that you were on for vote, it was always possible for the board to choose to add other lego pieces as they pleased. If they really thought Hoover should be closed, it still never required sending them a scenario that made it, the closure of Hoover, such a sudden issue in the first place...particularly when there were no blue prints, no plan, no designs, no nothing showing actual evidence that City High required Hoover right now. It's not like Hoover was going anywhere.

I will also go back and transcribe your poor choices when you spoke out against the diversity policy and share them with everyone later.

Both of your "inconsistencies" are available to the public on audio from the school district website and I have my own audios of them as well. You're off to a great start and should fit in well with Jeff McGinness should others not have had the time to listen to the audios to hear what you did and what you said for themselves before deciding that you are the person you have portrayed in the forums I know what you said and did (visually as well as verbally), I know what I think of it (you caused harm in my caused the unnecessary and dangerously premature closure of a school(s) that I believe will be shortly reversed because the plan the board passed was based on the wrong documents if I understand what happened correctly.

If other people would rather take your word for in and vote for you than listen to it and see if it all rings true in comparison with your forum statements later...then they will deserve exactly what they get, won't they.

JulieVanDyke said...

Oh, and Sara, you didn't answer all my questions, but you did show quite a bit about your character and your ability to charm your way through a revision of your actions.

JulieVanDyke said...

It's a shame we can't load images. Paul McLaughlin mapped out the donations, from the early, not final, reported donations to each candidate. Kirschling's by far show district wide support in a way that I think makes it clear, at least by this measure, that he best represents ALL of us. I posted it on my fb page as public so should you actually care to base your decisions on facts please feel free to look at all of them here: