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Press Release
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Reintroducing the Jaros Bill

One of Let Duluth Vote's objectives will be to have Mike Jaros's bill to require a binding vote on the Red Plan to be reintroduced into the 2009 legislature. After this summer's construction season only about $10 million of the total $293 million Red Plan will have been completed. Reintroduction of the bill could save school district taxpayers not only the $283 million remaining but the interest on it of over $100 million dollars.

To this end we intend to make sure that voters in the Duluth School District know which of their legislative candidates support this. We have sent a simple pledge to candidates asking them to support the Jaros Bill in the 2009 legislature. There are 15 candidates for four house seats that encompass some part of the Duluth School District. We sent inquiries to 14 of them.

This is the letter we sent them:

July 30, 2008

Dear Candidate,

Last year the Duluth School Board made use of a new interpretation of a fifteen year old law to authorize the “Red Plan,” a school building project on a colossal scale without a public vote. In response Let Duluth Vote quickly raised 3000 signatures on a petition requesting an advisory referendum. When the School Board ignored this request a second petition was circulated also signed by 3,000 voters asking for an advisory referendum on a compromise plan which would have cost about 2/3rds the Red Plan’s expense. Once again the School Board turned its back on Duluth ’s voters.

Subsequently, Rep. Mike Jaros introduced a bill that would have required a vote on the Red Plan. His original legislation, prior to later amendments, would have required a binding referendum to continue the Red Plan. As his press release explained:

“The school district (709) was granted the authority under a special law that allows cities of the first class ( Duluth , Minneapolis and St. Paul ) to address segregation within their school districts and deal with health and safety improvements.”

"I believe our school board abused this special privilege and instead used the law to fund the Red Plan and avoid a statewide law for school facilities improvement;" Jaros said. "Under the Red Plan, the school district is eliminating Magnet Programs at Grant, Lowell and Nettleton schools. That is a total hypocrisy because these schools were meant to desegregate Central Duluth schools."

Jaros said he sympathizes with the school board's need to address declining enrollment. He said he also understands that a number of facilities are badly in need of repair. However, he said the plan the school board adopted is too expensive and relies too heavily on property taxes.

"Their plan to address declining enrollment and address the need for repairs is going to cost almost half a billion dollars. Almost all of that is going to come from regressive property taxes. Even for a liberal like me, that's too high a price tag. The district is already facing a $5 million deficit and the above plan will probably double that. Other school districts - such as Brainerd, Faribault and Two Harbors - have made similar choices and are having a tough time raising enough money to pay for teaching programs," Jaros said.

Of the $293 million to be expended for the Red Plan only about $10 million will have been spent during its first construction season. There is ample time to reintroduce Mike’s original legislation next year thereby giving Duluth voters the final say on whether to complete the Red Plan. We are enclosing a copy of Mike’s original legislation for your review.

We are asking all the legislative candidates who, if elected, would represent some portion of the Duluth School District to pledge to reintroduce Mike’s original bill. Please return your response in the enclosed envelope. We will announce each candidate’s response to our request. 


Harry Welty
Let Duluth Vote
2101 E 4th St.
Duluth , MN   55812


If you care about Duluth and its schools 
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