Friday, April 4, 2008

Baraboo School District Fires Lance Alwin

Last night (4/3/08) the Baraboo School Board bid farewell to one of its staunchest allies, Baraboo School Superintendent Lance Alwin. As you may recall, Alwin was at the epicenter of two referenda, the closing of Fairfield Center, the elimination of shuttle buses for city kids, the conversion of West School to a Kindergarten Center, and proudly promoted his perception of some community members to distrct staff, the school board, and the public at large. Quite an impressive set of accomplishments!

Let's review in detail. The two referenda failed and divided the community thanks to the divisiveness of the school district's blatantly biased attempt at brainwashing and fear mongering community members. OH! THE DECLINING ENROLLMENT AND READING SCORES!!

With Fairfield Center closed, the SCAN program has moved from trashing Pleasant Valley School to Fairfield. No word on how much damage they've done there, if any. Now we're starting to hear an undercurrent about the district running out of space. What a line of bulls**t. School board members: It's time to put your thinking caps on. Hmmm, where could we find more room? Hint: The answer is not, "Let's go to referendum so we can build some."

With the elimination of shuttle busses, kids are walking to school in -20 windchill and traffic by the middle and high schools is tied in knots daily. In addition, one youth was injured in that area last year because they couldn't be seen as a result of the traffic congestion. What a wonderful idea to eliminate shuttle busses!

Converting West to a Kindergarten Center is hard on the kids. As their first experience with a public school, they're together for one year. Then they go their separate ways to different schools. So much for congruency, consistency, and mainstreaming of the little ones!

As for the promoting of his perception of those who sought accountability for our school district by calling referendum non-supporters names...sticks and stones may break my bones, but I've got truth, Lady Liberty, and God on my side. We're quite a team and win every time.

Maybe, someday soon, the BNR will actually have an official opinion about FORMER Superintendent Lance Alwin. Nothing like closing the door after the cows have gone to pasture. Spineless. Their headline is just another example of being out of touch.

With Alwin's departure, yet another of my predictions for the year has come to pass. Should Alwin's eyes come across this posting, here are a few words of wisdom for him:

As you're sitting on a beach somewhere, enjoy an adult beverage on me, the Baraboo School District taxpayer. Take comfort knowing you were able to convince the school board you were something you are not...a leader. Should you decide to stay in the field of education administration, God help those you may encumber. In closing, I have two parting words for you and a farewell song.

DLTDHYOTWO - We wouldn't want an insurance claim.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Close...but no cigar

Last night, the Baraboo School Board decided not to decide with finality on Baraboo School District Superintendent Lance Alwin and his dismissal/conditional resignation.

As suspense builds, the more likely Alwin will be exiting his contract with a conditional resignation. In other words, it’s gonna cost taxpayers to provide Alwin encouragement to seek other employment opportunities. Time to get the checkbook out and practice writing zeros.

Who renewed Alwin’s contract without a whimper last May? A very costly mistake you should keep in mind as you go to the polls April 1. The odds continue to increase that the board will not resolve the Alwin matter prior to the election, leaving it for the newbies to mop up the mess.

Not surprised.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The school board is holding a meeting tomorrow night "for the purpose of considering dismissal proceedings and/or the conditional resignation of the Superintendent, and take action as appropriate."

Looks like this is the end of the proverbial employment road for our impressive Superintendent, Lance Alwin. He has left many in our community with an impression of his work performance. It's finally come to: quit or get canned.

Nothing personal. Lance Alwin is simply incompetent in the position of district Superintendent for our Baraboo School District. It's about time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ethics in Journalism - A Thing of the Past

According to one writer on today’s opinion page, the BNR should not be “forcing the news” regarding the school board’s investigation of Lance Alwin’s job performance.

I find it amazing. The BNR puts up a poll on its website, just as it has nearly every week for at least the past few years. Nice idea. Get a feel for the pulse of the community. In the past, the BNR has conveniently placed poll results on the same page as their opinion to substantiate their position on issues – but not this one. In fact, this one time, the BNR backs away from its poll findings and presents arguments undermining their own polling!

Why? It is apparent the BNR has taken lessons from the school district in selective disclosure. The poll results didn’t suit the BNR’s top-secret (like we can’t figure it out) position on Lance Alwin or the Baraboo School Board’s investigation into his job performance. Instead of simply sharing the poll findings just as they did with the quarry issue which garnered more than twice as many votes, or putting a disclosure on all poll results “fit to print”, the BNR decided to attack its own polling methodology – but only on the Alwin issue.

I see their point. The BNR online poll is hardly a scientific sample. They are right. My point is they pick and choose, dodge and weave facts to suit their agenda. Twisted. Our little hometown newspaper has taken a hard left and suffered a fate of many of today’s larger newspapers. Ethics in local journalism are a faint memory. We, the readers, see it. How sad.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Who's Zoomin' Who?

The Baraboo School Board met last night to discuss the future of Lance Alwin with the district. Although officials remain tight-lipped on an investigation into Alwin's performance, one stated Alwin was put on paid leave to allow the investigation to be completed as necessary. If it were an unpaid leave situation, "you have no control over what they do."

The school board is supposed to be controlling what Alwin does. Alwin should have had several meetings with the board over the years about his performance. He did not. The board was not controlling Alwin, and Alwin was out of control.

Did the school board put Alwin in charge of an investigation into his own performance? Keeping Alwin on paid leave allows the school board to control what he does, and the board won't say who is doing the investigating. Stranger things have happened!

How actively is the "investigation" being pursued? After one month (that we know of), it appears to still be in progress. Could board members be stymied by what they know so far? Or, is this "investigation" a ploy to allow Alwin to exit his contract gracefully?

While Vodak states Alwin's paid leave is not indefinite, neither is is contract. The district could keep Alwin on paid leave until June, 2009 with no conclusion to their investigation. Unless the board is stupid enough to renew Alwin's contract again, his contract will end with a whimper and he will be sent on his way. Don't be surprised if the "investigation" is not concluded by election day, leaving the dirty work for the new kids on the board.

Friday, February 29, 2008

When commerce cripples the hot lunch line

29 N.J. Students Punished After Using Pennies To Pay For Lunch
Some Parents Think Detention Went Too Far; Others Think It Wasn't Enough

READINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Sometimes a penny for your thoughts isn't a good thing.

Readington Township school officials gave 29 students detention after they used pennies to pay for their $2 lunches.

Superintendent Jorden Schiff said it started out as a prank. But as the eighth-graders began to get in trouble for taking up so much time, it turned into a protest about Thursday's shortened lunch period.

Schiff said the students were punished for holding up their peers and disrespecting lunch aides.

Schiff said some parents think a two-day detention went too far and others think it wasn't enough.

The school, which is located in Hunterdon County, said it wants students to know they can express themselves without disrupting other people.

Is Monday D-Day?

The Baraboo School Board will be meeting Monday night, possibly to discuss Lance Alwin's future. Read about it here.

If, in fact, the topic is Alwin, it's worth mentioning the open meeting law. The rules are: while discussion can take place in closed session, action by a governmental body must take place in open session. (I'm open for rebuttal on this topic if you read something I don't.)

What this means is that the board can visit all they want in closed session, but when it comes to making a decision (aka: taking action) such as buying out Alwin's contract or firing him, such action must take place in open session. Labor agreements are hashed out in closed session, but when it comes to the actual changing or acceptance of them, action is consistently taken in open session. No exception here.

We will find out what happens.