Lepisto: Keep track of what is said in Frazee School Dist.
This letter is in reference to the letter written by Supt. Deron Stender of the Frazee-Vergas School District, regarding distorted information .
I want to make it clear, that all information I write about, I have the information to back my facts. When I write about my opinion, I try to clearly point out that it is my opinion or how I see things. Although, I cannot verify what everyone else writes, I think Supt. Deron Stender should look for his own/and his allies distortions in the facts.
For examples: SOD- A quote from the Frazee-Vergas Forum (FVF) in the Feb. 15, 2007 issue, according to Stender, the board never used SOD as a threat to the public. "It's not a threat," Stender said, "This is a real issue with this district..." In the March 21, 2007 Becker County Record (BCR), Supt. Stender was quoted as saying, "if you don't pass a referendum, you'll be in SOD next year." Handouts promoting the 2007 Operating Referendum stated; Frazee will likely enter into Statutory Operating Deficit. Amie Erickson from the P.A.C.E. organization, in the Nov. 1, 2007 (FVF) issue, "This is do or die, Pass the referendum or the doors will lock. This is not a scare tactic...." Facts: According to the petitioned state audit report, the Frazee-Vergas School District was well above the requirements for entering into SOD in 2007. According to state official, John Bulger, in Oct. 2007, John said it was extremely unusual for a district the size of Frazee-Vergas to talk about dissolution. Was our appointed business managers bad at estimating, or were they distorting the facts? I know Supt. Stender was pretty shook up when the petition for the state audit was turned in, because I turned it in. The audit report also stated that they could not check the calculations used by Supt. Stender because Stender erased them. It was also noted in the audit report, that erasing such calculations used in connection with the transaction of public business should have been preserved. (MN Statute 15.17)
I have a recording of Supt. Stender on the WDAY channel 6 News, in August of 2008. He was quoted as saying the petition to have the 2007 operating referendum put back on the Nov. 2008 ballot, did not have the required signatures, and it is only costing the tax payers $31/year. I can assure you, both of those statements were untrue. The only reason the district could find to turn that petition down was by saying the petition's summary was vague and misleading.
Enrollment- In my opinion, the enrollment has been a rollercoaster ride with Supt. Stender continuously changing the reasons for the declining enrollment. (Not having everyday-all day kindergarten, the operating referendum not
passing etc.) At times he has claimed the enrollment was now neutral/stable. For example, in the Sept. 9, 2008 article
(FVF), he was quoted as saying, "This is the most stable the district's enrollment has been in seven years!" According to the districts audit report, the enrollment in the Year 2001 was 1222; Year 2002- 1224; Year 2003- 1204; Year 2004-1164; Year 2005- 1113; Year 2006- 1098; Year 2007- 1034; Year 2008- 916 students. He has even stated, for example, in the March 21, 2007 issue of the Becker County Record, that there had been 80 kids that went thru the kindergarten round-up, but only 57 were attending that year. According to the school board minutes from March 13, 2006, it was recorded that there were only 47 students that went thru the kindergarten roundup. According to the April 9, 2007 school board minutes, during the kindergarten round-up, 42 kindergarteners had registered.
P.A.C.E.- They set up a website in 2007 stating they were a "nonprofit funding and informational organization." Yet, in Dec. of 2007, when they received $4,211, they claimed they would use part of that money to become a federally recognized non-profit organization. (FVF Dec. 27, 2007 issue)
I could go on, but will stop with a plea for everyone to keep track of what is being said and being done in the Frazee-Vergas School District. By weeding out the contradictions, the truth will come out. The Frazee-Vergas School District is a great place to educate our children despite all the power struggles. -- Mary K. Lepisto, School Board Candidate, Frazee