I’ll try to make this one a little shorter than the last so I’ll get right to an important issue. I attended a couple of events in support of the Vote Yes for St. Paul Kids group.  While my role as Executive Director of the Foundation does require some political neutrality, I do feel that the education of our kids is such an important bipartisan issue that I will at least pass along some information for your consideration.

First, no matter what anyone says about giving more and more money to education, it’s not true. The state is giving less and less, especially when you add in all of the unfunded mandates the public schools are required to uphold. By law, public schools are required to take every student of school age in the city and meet their needs as defined by the legislature. Unfortunately, the legislature rarely passes the funding attached to these mandates so the district is left to find the money to make it all work. Levies are one of the few alternative funding sources available.

Second, due largely to increased tax revenue from commercial properties, the property taxes of most home-owners in St. Paul will be going down, so the impact of the levy will be relatively neutral.

Third, if the levy doesn’t pass, the gains that have been made through early childhood and all-day K programs will be lost. 75% of the money being asked for is simply to maintain these existing programs that are showing success. The loss of those monies will also mean the loss of over 100 teachers attached to those programs.

Fourth, the extra money being asked for will pay for needed technology to help all students. Some have said the District should have forgone the extra ask in tough economic times. The district made the decision to add it now based on need and that both stood a better chance of passing in one sum rather than two. You can disagree with that strategy, but it is what it is and the money truly is needed.

Finally, the District, while perhaps not a perfectly-honed, lean & mean educating machine (show me one anywhere private or public,) has taken significant steps to improve. They have cut administrative jobs, combined programs, renegotiated retiree benefit packages and more to use their money as effectively as possible.  We have an energetic and dedicated Superintendent who is fully supported by the School Board we elected. This is the team we have in place. They have a plan that is showing results. It really is about our kids and our future.

So, vote as you see fit. By all means research as much as possible, don’t take my word for it. Be educated. That’s what it’s all about, right?

D12 – News came this morning that a Ramsey County District Court judge cleared the way for a local developer to build on the Pelham site that has been under dispute for most of the year. Community councils on both sides of 94 appealed to the City Council to deny the permit. When it did, the developer sued claiming he had already received permission and the council’s design concerns were vague and unsupported by the zoning laws. He won and unless the city decides to appeal, the empty lot at Pelham & 94 will soon be filled. Not with a building the neighborhoods like, but one that will pay taxes and create jobs. It’s too bad the City Council didn’t make their decision in time to change the zoning that allowed the Port Authority to sell the land for the unwelcome design. Lessons learned. The Port and the D12 Council will try to get on the same page at the next Land Use meeting….Tonight is your opportunity to connect with the Creative Enterprise Zone vibe by attending Give & Take. It’s basically a get to know your neighbors, community-building, information-sharing event that should be very fun and informative. Doors open 6:30pm for some socializing, snacks and refreshing beverages, program starts at 7 in the old Mattress Factory building at 558 Vandalia just north of 94 across from Rock-Tenn. See artist and star of Bravo TV show ‘Work of Art’ MILES MENDENHALL on working across disciplines; JEREMY LENZ on the collaborative biotech research center University Enterprise Laboratory; award winning filmmaker DAWN MIKKELSON on Kickstarter and her latest film; EMILY COOK, Rock Star Supply Co., on creating curious kids and Alchemy Architecture GEOFFREY WARNER and entrepreneur and artist CATHERINE REID DAY on the future of the Creative Enterprise Zone. Please come it’s free!...Many of us are getting creative with leaf piles these days, but remember, do your part to help prevent pollution of our waterways by keeping your leaves out of the street. D12 will be doing a week-long, DIY community leaf cleanup the week of October 13-20; they’ll have free compostable bags, snacks, instructions, and a limited number of rakes available for pickup at the following times:
Saturday, October 13, 9am-12pm at Park Midway Bank (2300 Como)
Monday, October 15, 3-6pm at the South St. Anthony Rec Center (890 Cromwell)
You can do your leaf collection at any point during the week, but please report the number of bags you collected by emailing lauren@sapcc.org or calling 651-649-5992…Award winning author, artist, and Pushcart Prize nominated poet, Annette Marie Hyder, launches the Along the Corridor exhibit of Facing Feminism: Feminists I Know. In conjunction with Irrigate, a program supporting artists and activities along the central corridor light rail, and sponsored by The Lyric Lab, the exhibit will feature live performances as well as a chance for the public to participate on October 12 and 13 during the St. Paul Art Crawl.  The event will be Friday 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Saturday 12:00 noon to 8:00 PM at The Lab at The Lyric (765 Hampden Ave S., St. Paul).

Schools – This is very cool, Como High and the Saint Paul Federal Credit Union just announced the grand opening of the SPFCU - Cougar Branch at CPSHS.  Apparently, it’s the second high school branch of a credit union in Minnesota.  The partnership will provide real work experience and hands on financial literacy education for Como students. The Grand Opening is at 10 am, Oct. 16 at the school.

Listserv – Everyone is talking about our newest neighbors, the coyote family, right here in St. Anthony Park! Sightings have been reported in both Langford and College Parks, as well as various alleys and streets. The Bugle ran an excellent article. I like the advice to scare them off by spraying them with your hose, making a lot of noise and making yourself look big and scary while waving your arms. Perfect for Halloween…

StAPnotes – Neighbor and lawyer, Charlie Nauen is in the news once again. You may remember him for his role in the gubernatorial recount of 2010. He represented absentee voters - “the Nauen 64” - and got their votes counted in favor of now Governor Dayton. He recently convinced the State Supreme Court to allow the DFL to replace their original candidate’s name (who dropped out) on the Duluth ballot with a new candidate…Neighbor and Dean of the U of M School of Design, Tom Fisher, is getting some attention in our local newspapers. First he was referenced as sitting in on the Vikings stadium architect search, then he was featured in a Strib article about a trend in colleges and universities called “flipping” where class lectures are made available online and class time is used for discussion and follow-up questions.

Calendar

Tonight - CEZ Give & Take 6:30pm doors open, 7pm program starts 558 Vandalia

Tonight - 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the Rondo Library, Bus route changes forum

Oct. 11 – 2-4pm, Senior Cinema at the Library presents Salmon Fishing on the Yemen

Oct. 11 - 6:30-8:30 p.m., SPPS school choice changes will be discussed at Como High.

Oct. 12-14 - St. Paul Art Crawl. Also Facing Feminism: Feminists I Know live performances on Friday 6-10 pm                     Saturday, noon-8 pm at The Lab at The Lyric (765 Hampden Ave S., St. Paul).

Oct. 13 – 5-7pm, Como Lutheran Meatloaf & Silent Auction fundraiser for SAPAS

Oct. 13 – 5:30-7:45pm, at StAP UCC Church film: Islam and Our Muslim Neighbors

Oct. 16 – 10 am, Grand Opening Como High Student Credit Union

That’s all for now. Take care of yourself and be a good neighbor.