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St. Paul schools’ building plan plagued by ‘staggeringly inaccurate’ cost estimates

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
St. Paul

In the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: An ambitious and costly effort to rehabilitate aging buildings throughout the St. Paul school district has been plagued by staggeringly inaccurate cost estimates, employee turnover and a lack of oversight. Eighteen high-priority projects alone will cost around $471 million, according to recent estimates — $179 million more than expected two years earlier. ‘Every contractor wants to come work for St. Paul Public Schools because it’s frickin’ open checkbook,’ said Nan Martin, a former administrative services manager within the facilities department handling the projects.”

For Fox News, Ronn Blitzer says, “Presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., did not mince words when she took aim at new abortion laws in Republican-led states, and promised to take action to counter such measures if she wins in 2020. Several states, such as Georgia, passed ‘heartbeat bills,’ which would forbid abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically after six weeks — when many women do not yet know they are pregnant. … ‘This is dangerous,’ she told host Chris Wallace on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ ‘It is a place that we have never seen. I think people have always warned that this could happen and it’s actually happened.’”

For MPR, Kirsti Marohn says, “When starry stonewort is found in a popular recreation lake, it’s sometimes considered akin to a death sentence. Jim Bartelme recalls two years ago when the aquatic invasive species was confirmed in Grand Lake near Rockville, Minn., where he’s lived since 1952. ‘That was the first headline in the local newspaper: ‘Lake killer,’ which wasn’t a welcome headline,’ Bartelme said. But that pronouncement might have been premature. Thanks to an early detection and quick efforts to contain starry stonewort’s spread by having divers remove it by hand, the lake’s future seems brighter.”

FOX 9 has this story: “Two 13-year-old boys led deputies on a high-speed chase involving a stolen vehicle Friday in Otter Tail County, Minnesota. According to officials, shortly after 3 a.m., a deputy tried to stop a 2010 Chevy Impala on State Highway 78 just north of Ottertail City. The car continued north on Hwy 78, and the driver refused to stop. The deputy pursued the car, with speeds reaching 100 mph. Authorities used tire deflation devices, which were unsuccessful, before the suspect crashed south of Perham, Minn. The driver and passenger, both 13-year-old males, were not hurt and were arrested without further incident.”

This from KARE-TV, “Snow is falling in parts of northern Minnesota on Sunday. We’re under two weeks away from June. Let me repeat that…under two weeks away from June! RELATED: Frost advisory in effect The National Weather Service in Duluth tweeted that they ‘measured 0.4” at 10:00 am this morning’ and that ‘Highway 53 is getting slushy and visibility is low’.”

MPR’s Andrew Krueger says, “Aerial treatments to control invasive gypsy moths are set to begin in the coming days in parts of the Twin Cities metro area. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture said the treatment window opens Monday; the exact date of when the treatment will be applied by low-flying planes depends on weather conditions. The two treatment areas are a 133-acre parcel along the Dakota-Scott county line in western Lakeville and parts of Credit River Township, and a 633-acre area in the southwestern part of Stillwater.”

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/20/2019 - 06:17 am.

    Never mind northern Minnesota – around mid-afternoon yesterday, snow was falling in the Twin Cities! Sure, it didn’t stick. But there were snowflakes, and they were big, and there were a lot of them.


  2. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 05/20/2019 - 07:41 am.

    Dangerous. What are the immediate dangers of having an abortion? Contrary to what the pro-abortion crowd wants the public to believe, it is not a benign procedure.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/20/2019 - 08:33 am.

      Pro-choice, not “pro-abortion”.

    • Submitted by Mark Iezek on 05/20/2019 - 08:42 am.

      To answer your question, there have been studies done on abortion outcomes.

      In a study of over 50,000 women receiving abortions and followed for six weeks, the rate of serious complications was less than one quarter of one percent and of minor complications under 2 percent. 97% of the women in the study received abortions as an outpatient.

      The risk of death of the woman from legal abortion is less than 1 (0.7) out of 100,000 procedures. The risk of pregnancy-related death is 18 per 100,000 live births. Data for these last two figures are from the CDC Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System.

  3. Submitted by David Lundeen on 05/20/2019 - 08:48 am.

    In a related article about Saint Paul public schools, it was noted that the school still has a deficit despite passing a levy. What’s really interesting is that no one in the article questioned why they were losing enrollment to other districts. The answer that is quite obvious. A lot of the Saint Paul schools have implemented behavior programs which don’t address significant problems and just try to please students instead of fixing the problem. The kids who actually want to learn are stuck in out of control classrooms that make learning impossible. Valerie Silva created policies which destroyed learning yet she received a huge buyout.

    • Submitted by Joe Nathan on 08/21/2019 - 06:51 pm.

      Commissioner MC Ricker has offered MDE staff member to help review this $170 mess. WIll district accept this offer? Also, City Council member Jane Prince has suggested additional independent reviewers. What will be district response?
      When I shared these offers/suggestions with board and supt, at a public meeting, there was no response. Is this the way to run a $550 million dollar (SPPS general fund) budget?

  4. Submitted by Jim Peterson on 05/20/2019 - 12:13 pm.

    Anti-choice For Dummies:

    Quote from Dave Barnhart
    June 25, 2018 ·

    “The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. It’s almost as if, by being born, they have died to you. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus but actually dislike people who breathe.

    Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.

    Dave Barnhart is a Methodist pastor from Birmingham, Alabama

  5. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 05/20/2019 - 07:56 am.

    Yes, it’s tough to get teachers back from their villas in the south of France to resume teaching every year. I’d suggest Curtis solve the problem by spending a year actually teaching in an inner-city school at the entry level pay. C’mon Senker!! Show us how it’s done!!j

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