Doug Carpenter and other Grand Forks elected officials are using his old playbook to get what they want.
When the citizens of Grand Forks vote no, exercising their authority to not submit to the reckless spending of the School Board, the officials demand another vote. And another. And another, until they get what they want.
Have we forgotten a previous, enormously expensive, totally useless boondoggle Carpenter was involved in? It was more than 20 years ago, and Grand Forks taxpayers are still being bled every year for the civic center that carries the name of Carpenter's day-job employer. No conflict of interest there … move along, move along.
When the citizens said yes to the civic center after a series of no votes, we were then told that there were 30% cost overruns? Nobody is that bad at estimating costs. The City Council misrepresented the costs when Carpenter was in charge. When Carpenter was City Council president, the governor of North Dakota had to step in and rebuke the council for its lack of ethics on the so-called Amazon property.
Experience has shown that Carpenter should not be allowed anywhere near tax money. For that matter, the School Board previous to Carpenter had more than enough shady deals. Three million dollars to update Red River High School and we got green domes and flying buttresses. The School Board hired a consultant that confirmed Grand Forks schools were nowhere near historically-proven capacity, so there was no need for a new far-south elementary school. They built it anyway. The School Board blew $13 million on high school theaters but cries about having to spend money to replace essential heating systems and cleaning-up mold in existing buildings.
The school district is destitute! Destitute, I tell you, every time contract negotiations with the faculty are underway.
Grand Forks schools are literally being run into the ground with deferred maintenance. When they reach a sort of critical mass they're supposed to be condemned, torn down and replaced. Deferred maintenance of public property and infrastructure should be a criminal offense. The School Board needs to face prison time for neglecting your schools until the only reasonable solution is to bring in the bulldozers. (And they're not the only government officials that participate in that scam.)
Schurkey Swanke, East Grand Forks, former resident of Grand Forks