Ric Studer is a candidate for the ISD 742 School Board. This morning, I noticed Mr. Studer’s LTE published in the St. Cloud Times. Saying that it’s a bit unusual is understatement. Frankly, I find it repulsive.

The opening paragraph of Mr. Studer’s LTE says “I am a candidate for St. Cloud school board. As much as I would like your vote and to serve on the board, I ask that you vote for the very qualified Shannon Haws and Monica Segura-Schwartz.” The next paragraph says “There are no ethnic minorities or women remaining on the board after Les Green and Debbie Erickson chose not to run for re-election. Our district is ethnically, religiously and racially diverse. I find it appalling that the three remaining board members and six of the eight candidates are white, middle-aged, middle class, Christian or Jewish men.”

While I agree that there isn’t enough diversity on the ISD 742 School Board, it isn’t that I’m worried about the ethnic or religious diversity. The diversity that’s lacking is diversity of thought. This board suffers from a chronic case of groupthink. They’re arrogant, too, but that’s another story. This Board hasn’t disagreed with Willie Jett in any meaningful way, much less challenged him on anything. Each of the current members and all but one of the candidates running for the Board think that taxpayers are ATMs to be tapped whenever the Board wants.

The ‘solution’ that the Board has come up with is foolish and expensive. Build a new school, they say, even though Apollo will soon be big enough to house all of the district’s high school students. This Board wants taxpayers to vote for a $143,250,000 bonding referendum simply because they want something for their legacy. That type of groupthink isn’t just expensive. It’s foolish.

I wrote this post to highlight the fact that John Palmer would be the lone voice of sanity if he were elected to the ISD 742 School Board. Dr. Palmer is a retired professor who taught education at SCSU. He’s the taxpayers’ advocate in the race. That’s why he’s needed on the Board.

Finally, there’s this from Mr. Studer:

How can good decisions be made for the district’s people without the representation of a true cross section of our community? A vote for Shannon and Monica will give us the respected voices of women and the Latino community on the board.

We’ve seen that good decisions can’t be made when everyone practices groupthink. That’s how we’ve arrived at this mess. What’s needed is a fresh perspective. What’s needed is a leader. John Palmer provides both qualities. That’s why I’m voting for him this Nov. 8.

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