The following letter was in the McLeod County Chronicle. I know its a bit long, but it is full of quality points. Those that have been following the School Board in GSL know of the oftentimes controversial stances of member Gruenhagen.
To the Editor:
I have just finished attending the Minnesota School Board Association Delegate Assembly meeting where we addressed and voted on resolutions proposed by school boards and administrations.
I am writing to tell you the results of the resolutions that were written by Glenn Gruenhagen. They all failed. Period.
I am sure that by writing this, you general "Glenn" supporters are going to think that it was a conspiracy conjured up by the rest of the GSL Board and its administration. That we single-handedly convinced over 105 delegates from our state to vote these down in order to send a message that we do not care about the same moral values and ideas that Glenn so adamantly believes in.
In actuality, the delegates of the Minnesota State School Board, which is composed of members of school boards from around the state, spoke out very clearly - no support.
Director (Loren) Mathews and I made the first and second motions to open up Glenn's resolutions for discussions before the general assembly to at least give them the respect that you so ill-advised your readers that our entire board didn't give them or him, when they were first introduced at our meeting on Nov. 27.
Each resolution was voted down by the general assembly, all without discussion and some with laughter.
The overwhelming opposition vote (not one of Glenn's resolutions got more than 16 yes votes) was not a surprise as the MSBA sends out a book of all the resolutions to each of its delegates.
Each of Glenn's resolutions was recommended for opposition, most of them with lengthy discussions backed with evidence and research of why it would be foolish to pass them.
Glenn does have ideas. I will say that he even has some great ideas, however, how practical are they for a public school?
Our public schools follow direction from state government, who follows direction from the federal. For Glenn to continue to push his religious, moral and educational ideas on a public school district that is under the direction of a state agency of education is a waste.
I checked and found out that Glenn does not have a license to teach, so it ponders me why, throughout his reign, he has pushed down the throats of our educators (people who are supposed to be trusting what is right for the education of our children) his demands for what should be taught to our children.
I respect Glenn's views, ethics and his faith, however, I also respect the public school systems and have felt for years that he has repeatedly overstepped his boundaries as a school board member.
His ideas are better suited for the private, religious or charter school systems whose boards have more control over their educators and administrators.
Glenn didn't even choose to have his own children finish out their education in the public schools. What has his immense desire been in controlling those same schools that he had no faith in? That is a question we should all be asking ourselves.
Glenn has also placed upon himself the role of "Guardian of Your Tax Dollars." His questioning and scrutinizing of our administrators and finance directors have been under the jurisdiction of what the roles of a school board member should be. He has a sound sense of finances.
I cannot, however, agree with his demands on the district for public accountability for every dollar spent. It is almost impossible in a school district, which has ever-changing funding from the state and federal governments, to promise where the money will be spent.
It would be a change if Glenn's approach to his responsibilities would be what the National School Board and Minnesota School Board associations see as a major role of any school board member - acting as a liaison to the community to promote good relationships between the schools and the communities.
In closing, I must ask again: What are Glenn's intentions as a school board member? What is his vested interest? The taxpayer's, his grandchilden's education (who are also not in our public schools, yet their father ran in our school board election), or his own beliefs?
I am aware that Glenn won by a landslide again, but if you look at the polls, he won by a large majority in areas where the referendum failed by a large majority.
Should we be blaming the failed referendum on Glenn? Was the way that he publicly questions the district enough to create the communities' mistrust that has been repeatedly proclaimed by this paper?
No, I believe the referendum failed because the vast majority of people who voted "no" could not afford any type of tax increase, and this is the one they could say "no" to. (Unlike our county or city taxes, which are just set upon us.)
Did Glenn do a good job of causing chaos so that people were confused and were thinking that the school district is not honest, or cannot be held accountable for the money that it is given? Well, that is up to the incoming board to deal with. They will need to pass the next referendum.
I have enjoyed my time on the school board. I will miss things, especially the community members who took an interest. With either good or negative things to say, at least you took an interest.
I wish the new and continuing members the best of luck and encourage them to heed these bits of advice:
The school board is designed to create policies and work through procedures;
You are held accountable to the people, even if you have no dea what they are talking about;
Our childen's education is priceless; it is up to you to trust your administrators to do their jobs in securing that education;
Most of what you will do will be volunteer, because you are only being paid a small stipend;
And yes, though it be your job to be a watch dog, it has never, ever been your job to micromanage our school district.
Good luck teaching that to Gruenhagen. He has been there forever and still doesn't get it. In fact, I believe he has been able to micromanage our administrators, (business manager Dale) Hurni and (Superintendent John) Hornung right out the door.
Stop labeling and drugging students - 2 for; 103 against.
Emphasize rote learning - 2 for; 130 against.
Implement phonics reading - 8 for; 94 against.
Teach principles of patriotism - 13 for; 88 against.
Implement abstinence - 7 for; 95 against.
Separate classes by gender - 16 for; 86 against.
Teach fallacies of macro evolution - 7 for; 100 against.
All children are gifted - 12 for; 89 against.
So how can five GSL board members be wrong voting down Glenn's resolutions when in fact the entire state on Minnesota voted them down Mr. Glennie?