Friday, August 14, 2015

Murley, McGinness: Hoover must close

Outgoing school board member Jeff McGinness is warning voters, in an opinion piece and in mass emails like this one, that the entire facilities plan will become impossible unless Hoover school is closed.

I’m happy to have McGinness contributing to the discussion. But where exactly is the argument? His entire piece hinges on the statement that “the administration team has said repeatedly that the district cannot afford to operate both the existing Hoover and the New Hoover.”

Does McGinness subject the superintendent’s assertions to even minimal scrutiny? How can it be true, for example, that the only possible way to find money in the budget is by closing an elementary school? If that is true, what will happen the next time the superintendent needs to find money in the budget? Will more schools have to close? Doesn’t closing an elementary school—and pitting one neighborhood against another—in fact endanger passage of the bond that will be necessary to follow through on the facilities plan? McGinness doesn’t ask.

McGinness also accepts at face value the superintendent’s analysis of how much it would cost to keep Hoover open, even though that analysis doesn’t even pretend to use actual costs.

When we want to know why they need the Hoover property, all we get are evasions. When we want to know what it costs to keep Hoover open, we get obfuscation. When we want to how much more we’ll have to borrow to replace the capacity lost by tearing Hoover down, we get nothing, because the district has never asked.

If the school board is to have any purpose at all, it can’t simply defer to administrators’ preferences, no questions asked.


pooter said...

I believe that questioning the administration is the biggest task of the incoming school board. I have no idea how it devolved to a "yes-man" mentality bent on unanimous votes for questionable decisions.

On another angle, does Murley's lack of achieving a Ph.D. make him subject to dismissal by the Board?


pooter said...

BTW your link to the Press-Citizen doesn't work for me

Chris said...

Thanks, Scott -- link fixed.

Anonymous said...$file/Superintendent%20Contract%202015-16.pdf

Anonymous said...

Is that email that Jeff McGinness sent out even ethical/legal? I am a Longfellow parent and I also received one. It seems to be a subtle endorsement of a group of candidates and suggests not voting for another group. Is this something a sitting School Board Member should be emailing parents about? I was very annoyed to receive pressure from a school board member on what should be important to me and how I should vote.

Anonymous said...

Well, no matter how this election turns out, one thing can be said with certainty: the Jeff McGinness era on the school board will be over, and not a moment too soon. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, and I’m sure McGinness’s colleagues on the board have theirs, but they seem to have managed to stay above the fray, at least publicly. Not so with Jeff, who for years has wallowed in the mud with so many issues online, quite often with copious amounts of vitriol and disdain for those who dare see things differently. This latest tactic—trying to influence the election in which he is not a candidate by e-mailing district parents directly from his school board address—may not be illegal (I’m no legal expert), but it certainly smells. Jeff McGinness has neither the ethics nor the temperament to serve in an elected office.

Anonymous said...

Seems Mr McGuinnes was careful not to advocate or endorse specific candidates:

Anonymous said...

...don't forget Jeff McGinness is Mr. Murley's (yes, not Dr. Murley's) next door neighbor...or at least he was during his 2011 campaign for board. Please, for honesty's sake, while McGinness may have tried to be "careful", I have a hard time thinking many of us do not see the delicate legal wording dance he may have managed to pirouette around the stinky pile in the middle of what he says that very much appears to me to be pushing another bond endorsement and the candidates that dutifully spew their allegiance to the MASTERPLAN(cause that doesn't sound like an extermination of the smaller schools)? Why hell, the MASTERPLAN is practically his, Lynch's, and Murley's creepy offspring. One of the many things I think I may have learned about Jeff based on his lying to a judge in court and manufacturing evidence to support that lie/lies, no matter how wrong he is...he will go to extreme ends to attempt to publicly prove that he was not...he staked his law license on it and had it suspended for six months as was upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court. In the light of day of all that, what's a little email from his ICCSD account or a friendly little letter op ed in the district happy news district view friendly mouthpiece rag the depressed citizen.

Anonymous said...

Why are you happy to have McGinness contributing to any discussion? The man's a professional liar who hadn't even the grace to step down from the school board, where he certainly doesn't belong, after lying to a judge about lying and then getting caught in the lie. It's not like he hadn't had practice with public lying, either.

I don't understand why you'd give him the time of day, even out of misplaced politeness.

Chris said...

Anonymous (10:54) -- I'm just happy to have anyone making the pro-closure argument, so people can compare it with the arguments for keeping Hoover open, because I think if you take a close look, the latter wins out.

As for his mass email, I suspect the addresses are from publicly available sources, and I can't get worked up about what email address he sent it from. What bothers me about it is the argument it makes, or rather the lack thereof. Another line: "Indeed, the administration team has said they will recommend New Hoover not be built if old Hoover stays open" -- as if the board is powerless in the face of an administrative recommendation, and regardless of whether it's supported by convincing arguments!

Also, I do wonder how McGinness defines "small group," given that over eight hundred people petitioned the board to keep Hoover open and that more people have donated to the Save Hoover Committee this year than in all but four ICCSD school board campaigns on record, including McGinness's.

Anonymous said...

How can you possibly question Jeff's ethics,the man is pure as snow.