From: Gretchen Michlitsch
Participant in the 2016
Wold-orchestrated WAPS Facilities Task Force
Thank you to those who are very generously giving of their time and attention to four three-hour evening task force sessions this month. Many fine people served on this task force in fall 2016, and I am sure many of them have agreed to return.
For those who have agreed to participate again, and for any others who were selected for the Winona Area Public Schools task force, I encourage the following:
1) Seek to understand why this architecture and marketing firm from the cities would be willing to devote this much time and resources to this task force for no additional compensation beyond the money they were originally paid to assess our WAPS buildings in 2016. Consider why the company would allot approximately eight hours of time for three-five employees/partners each, for four different sessions (say, a minimum of 100 work hours — and architects aren’t cheap), essentially for free?
2) Pay attention to who determines the criteria according to which you are expected to evaluate possible options, and what the implications are of accepting the given criteria.
3) Pay attention to who creates the options you are given to vote on, and how and by whom those options are limited. (Nor would I suggest that the brainstormed ideas of people just this minute given a question and a marker should be the only options.)
4) Consider why Wold might send its marketing department to these sessions, and be aware of how you are being used as subjects of a marketing survey (e.g., being asked to place stickers on statements that appeal to you). Presumably, Wold is assessing how it can best market its next referendum proposal.
5) Consider who was chosen for this task force, and how those who were selected were selected. (Last time, WAPS leadership selected participants based on prior stated opinions, not on how well the convened group accurately represented the community.)
6) Be aware that Wold’s expertise is in designing large, inaccessible buildings outside towns in cornfields, regardless of a community’s own geographical attributes. When Wold bid on the project to assess our school buildings, they assured the School Board that they would bring in experts in historic renovation if asked; though asked, they did not.
7) Be aware that Wold’s typical practice of not making agendas and data available in advance means that participants are (intentionally?) left unable to do homework ahead of time or to be prepared to participate as informed task force members.
8) Watch for Wold to orchestrate a tension-filled, time-sensitive, last-minute decision between pre-orchestrated options. They’re conducting, they know the score, and they’d be happy if they made millions from our Winona area taxpayers, regardless of what’s best for our children and our community.