Open letter to Winona School Board


From: Karl W. Sonneman

I have watched the budget reduction/school closing process unfold for the past several months. I am deeply disappointed by what I see. The recent survey highlights the lack of trust that the community has in the District and the School Board. A 90 percent negative vote on the recent referendum screams lack of trust. You have done nothing to rebuild trust, and through your response to that vote, have thrown away whatever credibility you had left.

You seem to be unaware that the school closure process involves quasi-judicial hearings. This means that you need to make the decision on the evidence that comes into the record through the hearings. Moreover, you need to act fairly and impartially, and approach the evidence neutrally when making your decision. One-sided presentations and editorials from School Board members are not examples of fairness, impartiality, or neutrality.

The process is flawed. It is time to stop, look around and listen to the community. The district has fabricated a financial problem to drive the process forward, without having a real budget or a real understanding of how it spends money and what monies will be coming into it in fiscal year 2019. You may desire to close schools, but you do not have facts to demonstrate the necessity or practicality of doing this.

Calling the public hearings of March 19 merely a public listening session demonstrates that you are not ready to decide this case. Stop now before you cause irreparable harm to the greater Winona community. Do the right thing. Call off Thursday’s vote.


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