Re-elect Vue and Foster to board

As a parent of three boys in the Saint Paul Public Schools and a committed public education advocate, I was happy to see MyVillager highlight the eight candidates running for School Board in the September 29 issue with a focus on how they would stem declining enrollment in the district. The candidates also addressed whether they support a moratorium on charter schools, which is a position pushed by the Saint Paul Federation of Educators and a criteria of SPFE endorsement of School Board candidates. Lost in the discussion was the fact that the School Board has no jurisdiction over charter schools and no power to impose a moratorium on their creation or expansion.

The charter moratorium issue is therefore a huge distraction from the internal structural reforms the school district needs to place the needs and priorities of students and families first. Families will send their children to district schools when they are listened to and respected as equal partners in their children’s education and when they are assured that their kids will receive the first-class education they deserve.

Candidates Jim Vue and Jeanelle Foster understand that denying Saint Paul families agency to choose the best school for their children is not the path to strengthening district schools. And both Vue and Foster have the experience to support district administration and staff and hold them accountable on behalf of students and families when their policies are failing our kids. They have my vote, and I urge you to vote for them, too. 

Pamela Marentette
Lexington-Hamline

Join me in voting for Vue

As a retired Saint Paul Public School educator, I strongly urge reelecting Jim Vue to the Saint Paul School Board. Jim and his wife Sai have four youngsters in the Saint Paul Public Schools, some of whom are students with special needs. Before being appointed and then elected to the board, Jim served on two districtwide committees, one representing Asian Americans and one representing families with students having special needs.

Jim has demonstrated independence and leadership on the board. For example, he successfully challenged the administration when it proposed early this year an increase in salary and fringe benefits to senior administrators already making $140,000-190,000 per year. Jim helped convince the board that more should be spent on direct services to students. He also helped lead the effort to require masks for students and vaccinations for faculty and staff.  

Jim is a veteran who served in the Middle East. He brings important life experience to the board. Please join me in voting for Jim Vue.

Tina Fahnestock
Highland Park

Saint Paul wrong

Members of Saint Paul STRONG lament the “lack of electoral competition” in this year’s race for mayor (MyVillager Viewpoint, September 15). Instead of blaming the local Republican Party for failing to appeal to Saint Paul voters, they blame the local DFL for being too popular and its endorsement process for being too friendly to incumbents. Yet, just across the river, in even more heavily DFL Minneapolis, the incumbent DFL mayor failed to win endorsement and faces two very credible challengers.

Mayor Carter is running strong, not because Saint Paul is a one-party town, but because he has a fantastic record. He brought business and labor together to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. At Highland Bridge, we are building more of the housing our growing and diverse city needs. Even before the murder of George Floyd, Mayor Carter reformed the Saint Paul police’s use-of-force standards.

If Saint Paul STRONG had a decent candidate or a compelling vision, they could have been competitive. If they want electoral competition, they should try bold ideas instead of weak excuses.

Rick Varco
Highland Park

Editor’s note: The writer is treasurer of the Saint Paul DFL.

Vote for Vue and Foster

I support Jim Vue and Jeannie Foster for the Saint Paul School Board. Jeannie is the current chair of the board and Jim is vice chair. Jim is running for another four-year term, and Jeannie is running for the two-year term. Both are leaders in advancing ethnic studies, creating safer upgraded school environments, reimagining an equitable and sustainable use of buildings and programs through Envision SPPS, and managing the enormous task of maintaining academic and supportive services to students and families during the COVID crisis. They also represent and are deeply connected to traditionally underrepresented racial communities whose success is critical to the future of Saint Paul.

These unprecedented times of challenge and change for our schools require proven decision-makers who have been at the table, understand the complexities, and can provide the strong, collaborative leadership necessary to turn difficult solutions into successful outcomes for all our kids. Please vote for Jeannie Foster and Jim Vue. Experience matters!

Jon Schumacher
Saint Anthony Park

Editor’s note: The writer is a former member of the Saint Paul School Board.

No time for fighting crime

It’s good to know that Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and the City Council are working hard to combat climate change, build density and install more bike paths. They just don’t have the time to help the police get a handle on crime.

Gary Fischbach
Mendota Heights

Editor’s note: The writer is a former resident of Highland Park.

Elect hard-working Hosko

I urge Saint Paul voters to get out their “brooms” on election day and make a clean sweep. I will be casting my vote for Bill Hosko for mayor. For months, Mr. Hosko has been door-knocking throughout the city and hand-delivering his campaign literature with specifics on what he will do to improve all that needs to be done in Saint Paul. If Mr. Hosko is working that hard to meet the people he hopes will elect him mayor, I think he would be a terrific choice. When you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got. Let’s start over with competent people willing to work hard for Saint Paul’s hard-working citizens. Please join me in voting for Bill Hosko as our next mayor.

Kathleen Deming
Macalester-Groveland

Vote for Larsen in District 197

I am a retired School District 197 teacher who cares deeply about our public school system. I am supporting Sarah Larsen for the District 197 School Board.

Sarah is dedicated, level-headed and works well with a wide variety of people. She is passionate about our schools and takes the time to do her homework and fully understand the issues she is working on. She has multiple perspectives as a parent, volunteer and daughter of a public school teacher. She has regularly volunteered at both the elementary and secondary levels. Her experience has varied from leadership roles to one-on-one contact working with both accelerated and struggling students.

Sarah chose the public school system for her children because she values the diversity of our schools. As a School Board member, she will be an advocate for our schools, committed to representing our entire community. Please vote for Sarah Larsen on November 2.

Jean Stai
Mendota Heights

Jim Vue for SPPS

Jim Vue is a parent with children in the Saint Paul Public Schools. Decisions he makes as a member of the School Board have an impact on him, his children and his children’s future in school and work.

Jim Vue is Hmong and knows the impact of School Board decisions on the 17 percent of district students whose home language is Hmong and the 31 percent of district students who are Asian. Jim Vue has children with special needs, so he understands the importance of decisions based on what is best for each child, not necessarily what is easiest to administer.

Please join me in voting for Jim Vue for Saint Paul School Board on November 2.

Katherine DuGarm
Highland Park

Vote ‘yes’ for rent stabilization

When I was a Saint Paul Public Schools teacher, I worked on the East Side. The majority of our families were renters. I witnessed the impact housing instability had on my students: moving, homelessness, missing school, which means missing meals, tests, special education services, etc.

Everyone – no matter their race, income, or zip code – should have a stable, affordable home. More than half of Saint Paul residents are renters, and half of all renters are paying more than they can afford for housing, meaning they have to cut back on necessities like groceries or health care.
Anxiety around losing their homes, due to unexpected rent hikes, is experienced by parents and their children. This emotional distress creates difficulty focusing, displaced anger or a general sense of unhappiness. Changing schools midyear makes all of this worse.

Please vote “yes” for rent stabilization. Help ensure that as many people as possible in our communities can stay securely in their homes.

Betsy Braman
Highland Park

License to kill curtailed

As a mom and a physician, I want to say “thank you” to the Saint Paul City Council for aggressively taking on tobacco (“City Council considers new limits on the sale, marketing of tobacco,” MyVillager, October 13). For far too long, the tobacco industry has had a license to kill. It must stop.

Dr. Anne Lippin
Summit Hill

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