Yes, I’m Running for a Seat on the Hibbing School Districts School Board.

I’ve been noticeably quiet over the last many months, by design….

Why did I decide to throw my hat in the political fray???

To begin, I’m an upset parent who has seen misstep after misstep by the current and former school board members, with no rectifying solution in site!!

The former superintendent allegedly lied and cheated his way to a raise.  This left the ISD#701 teachers union with NO contract in site. HE PROMISED the teachers “their time would come.” Well, he’s now the former superintendent (good thing), and yet the teachers are still WITHOUT A NEW CONTRACT.

When times were tight, the teachers did what any union and their members do…. tighten things up, and wait until things turn around. With limited financial security of the district, the union members lessened their demands.

The union has compromised, but the school board will not. It’s beyond pathetic the school board doesn’t recognize that the last 400 days without a teachers contract, states that The board by no means values the teachers, and students!

Supposedly, the district is NOT in dire financial straits.  In contrast, there is an 8-12 million dollar surplus. If this is the case, then why isn’t YOUR elected board doing more to deliver our valuable teachers a reasonable contract??

I’m not pretending I know what’s what, but for PetesSake…..… Why is OUR school board refusing to negotiate in good faith with OUR valued teachers?

Furthermore, another issue of utmost importance is mental health assistance for students.

MInnesota has the 4TH worst student to counselor ratio in the United States. This is a travesty. Nationally the average is 481 students to 1 counselor, in Mn. It Is 723 students to 1 counselor.

Minnesota HAS THE 4TH WORST STUDENT/COUNSELOR RATIO in the country!! How embarrassing is that??Some Mn. school districts are dealing with 1,035/1!!!??

I’ve since learned ISD#701 has hired one or two more counselors… but I’m getting vague information. Either way the ratio is still NOT what it should be!!

Some more facts (from the article linked above)…. the American School Counselor Association advocates for 250/1. Far removed from the national average.

In 2016 the Minnesota Legislator worked to address the shortfall.  They approved a 12 million dollar grant program for matching funds, this grant lasts 6 years. Was ISD#701 one of 77 Minnesota districts that applied? If not, do they have any intention of applying in the 6 year timeframe?

Kids Mental Health Issues:

1 in 5 have mental health problems.

43% increase in ADHD.

37% increase in teen depression.

100% increase in suicide rate in kids 10-14 years old.

With the iPads being such a HUGE part of the learning curriculum of this district, the mental health curriculum also needs to be improved……. If a child is struggling with mental illness, how possibly can an iPad help?????

The district has given children “Pandora’s Box” and just left them alone with it!!

That’s wrong on so many levels!!

The district has no foresight in regards to electronic learning.

Medical studies are already indicating the long term detriment of repetitive electronic exposure.

The board demonstrates little to NO knowledge as to how their decisions are damaging our children.

A few examples…. Billy and Johnny talk amongst themselves about drugs during the school day…. they both can look up whatever they want about said drugs once their at home, or anywhere they can connect to WiFi. The same can be said about Suzy and Sally after talking about sex during the school day with their peers. Am I the only one who sees a problem with the districts refusal of implementing more mental health protocols in the 7th – 9th grades and beyond??

In my job as a school bus driver for district ISD#701 via Shubat Transportation, I am witness to the need for expanded mental health care.

Teachers see it first hand. What is the district doing to help the teachers assist their students in getting the help they need??

In reference to this…. 3/22/17 school board meeting.

The three community members who spoke are 100% correct!! Something needs to be done before it’s too late…….. I believe Mr. Finco needs to DO HIS job for a change.

My intent is to bring to the school board the voice of reason and common sense.

I DO NOT have a personal agenda.

I WILL put ALL youth at the fore front of my actions.

In fact, the actions of the current school board members in NO way shape or form represent the needs of the students or teachers!

I’m a firm believer one CAN NOT move forward  without looking to the mistakes of the past.

The goal of the future school board should be to learn from past mistakes, while improving the outlook for the school district.

OUR COMMUNITY’S CHILDREN DESERVE BETTER!!

Another issue I’d like to see done, is job performance evaluations of all ISD#701 administrators, this evaluation should be done by teachers and other staff, these evaluations must be taken into account for future salary increments and continued employment.

Also, the technology department should be given the same evaluations.

With the increase of students with special needs, the class size must be decreased. It is ridiculous that class sizes are close to 30 with at least 2/3 of these students needing more assistance than one teacher can provide…… And if money is short when it’s time to upgrade iPads NO MONIES shall be taken from any school fund that furthers the arts!!

No band fund, no art fund, no drama fund, no knowledge bowl fund… NOTHING!!

If money is short for new iPad purchasing it comes from sports team budgets PERIOD!!

No more taking money from the arts!!

Continuing….. Girls sports need to have the same gym time as boys sports!! In recent years, girls sports have been second to boys.

Also, older school sports kids will practice at later times, while the younger school children in sports will have early practice times.

This is common sense, yet it doesn’t seem to exist in the current scheduling.

I want to change the current trend of the school board.

Personal agendas and close-minded attitudes need to be a thing of the past. The priority MUST BE THE STUDENTS, THE TEACHERS AND THE DISTRICT.

Please DO NOT vote for me….. if you DO NOT want to hear the truth, have people called out for not doing their jobs to the best of their ability, for the salary they receive; or if straight common sense talk makes you uncomfortable

My goal is to have ISD#701 be the POWERHOUSE OF EDUCATION that it once was!!

This sight has been lost for years with the current school board.

The time has come for needed change, OUR children deserve it!!

Thank You!!

-Joe Sacco

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