The D11 Fact Sheet

There is much disinformation and misinformation circulating around the School District 11 community. Much of this misinformation is being spread by those who are intent on maintaining the status quo. This blog will set the record straight and it will educate the public on the identities of these defenders of the status quo.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tom Strand, Charlie Bobbitt, and Steve Schuck!

Colorado Springs liberals love to hate local businessman Steve Schuck because of his strong belief that schools exist to educate students and that parents should have a say in the education of their children. Liberals believe that parents have no right to have a say in how their education tax dollars are spent and they believe that educating students is only secondary in importance to employing adults who happen to have "PhD" attached to their names.

Liberals attack Steve as a "right-wing privatizer" who they accuse of trying to destroy public schools. Never mind that Steve was once a public school teacher himself, and never mind that his son and daughter-in-law are currently public school teachers, and never mind that Steve provides more money to D11 students for education, tutoring, and textbooks than any other entity in the city, these liberal defenders of incompetence still declare Steve to be a threat to public education.

The Colorado Springs Independent despises Steve Schuck. This year, the Independent endorsed Tom Strand for election to the board. In December, the Indy endorsed Charlie Bobbitt to replace Eric Christen for the recall election. The local Democrat Party endorses Tom Strand, and liberal darling and personal voucher queen Karen Teja manages Strand's campaign this time around. The anti-parent District 11 Watch blog, whose bashful and nameless"owners" organized the 2006 recall election, have a strong hatred for Steve. They have endorsed both Tom Strand and Charlie Bobbitt for the November 6th election. On July 13th of this year, they called for the defeat of parent advocate Willie Breazell because he is (in their words), "the last member of Schuck's team."

Not so fast, silly little liberals.

It appears that both Tom Strand and Charlie Bobbitt have secretly attempted to gain the favor and funding of none other than: Steve Schuck.

One goal of us reformers has always been to allow the business community and the public to take part in D11's negotiations with the local labor union. Since the labor union controls the majority of the D11 board, they adamantly oppose any type of openness in contract negotiations. They much prefer darkness over light. Willie Breazell has been attempting to get the board to discuss the possibility of making labor union negotiations more open to the public, but board president and labor union mouthpiece John (it's all about me) Gudvangen has refused to discuss the topic on the orders of his labor union handlers.

Despite the efforts of the local press to show otherwise, there is discord on the current D11 board. Labor union activist Jan Tanner despises Bobbitt and accuses him of being too open to new ideas. She prefers to work with others on the board who blindly follow their orders from their handlers. Bobbitt went to Steve Schuck and complained that the administration wouldn't listen to his ideas. He complained that other board members just weren't taking him seriously. Bobbitt wanted Steve's support and agreed to help get the discussion about business community involvement in labor union negotiations onto the agenda. Tom Strand also met with Steve on more than one occasion and also stated that he did not believe that the current administration was doing enough to improve the district. Strand also agreed to get the discussion about the contract negotiations onto the table. He mentioned to Steve that his handler, Karen Teja, warned him to never have a discussion with Steve.

As can be seen in the following email exchange, Strand and Bobbitt balked when it came to the labor union issue. They wanted Steve Schuck's support to win the election, but they did not want to have to do anything to earn his support. They both later said that they needed to first win the election before they could advocate for the community or for the kids of D11. Think about it. Somehow they actually feel that their election is more important than doing the right thing for the students. Neither of these two has had the guts to do anything yet on behalf of kids, but somehow they feel that they need to be on the board to do something on behalf of kids. They feel that their chances of being elected decrease if they actually do something that would cause improvement. Pretty sad, but pretty typical of your average school board member in this district.

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Schuck
To: Willie Breazell
Sent: Thu Oct 18 10:14:15 2007
Subject: RE:

What happened?

(Steve asked Willie if the board agreed to talk about business involvement with labor union negotiations).

-----Original Message-----
From: Willie Breazell [mailto:breazell1@comcast.net]
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2007 8:07 PM
To: Steve Schuck
Subject: Re:

Steve, Frankly, I don,t know what happened. I know that neither the admin nor certain members of the board want to discuss. Topic in a public forum.

(Gudvangen and Terry Bishop blocked attempts to get this item on the agenda).

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Schuck
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2007 9:39 PM
To: 'Willie Breazell'
Cc: Charlie Bobbitt (charlie_bobbitt@yahoo.com); Tom Strand (tomstrand19@yahoo.com);
Subject: RE:

What are you saying? Didn't you agree on the value and importance of your forcing public exposure of this opportunity despite the predictable objection of "the admin and certain members of the board"? Of course they don't want to debate this in public, but you agreed on the importance of battling it on to the agenda, regardless of opposition. Where in hell are your so called allies who say that that they want what is best for the kids in the district? If they and you do not have the stomach for the fight, then please have the courtesy to tell me. It should come as no surprise to any of you that my friends who are seeking reform and meaningful improvement have no appetite to fund and support campaigns of those of you whose actions, or lack thereof, suggest that improvement on the margin (1%) is acceptable, and even rewarded. This initiative is but one of a long list that define, at least for us, whether you all are truly committed to improvement. Are you setting policy for the district or are you going to allow the union to continue to call the shots that you should not allow anyone other than you to control? You guys continue to disappoint all of us who committed to support you because you told us you would do what was right, like subordinating your personal electoral interests to "what is best for the kids". Obviously we were wrong to assume that your actions would match your rhetoric and to assume that there might be a few of you with the courage to stand up to "the admin and certain members of the board". Whenever you guys are ready to walk the walk, please call.

Steve correctly upbraided these cowards for begging for support, then running away from a simple effort to make a public employee contract open to the public. Interesting, isn't it, how these public haters of Steve Schuck will secretly run to him and his friends for support to remain on the school board to apparently do absolutely nothing of value. Steve is absolutely correct when he points out that these school board members have abdicated their responsibilities as elected officials by allowing the private labor union and the administration to run them instead of them running the district.

Below is another email exchange between the Voucher Queen candidate and Steve Schuck. Don Griffin works for Steve and initiated the exchange with regards to the Cesar Chavez charter school.

-----Original Message-----
From: Don Griffin [mailto:DJG@theschuckcorporation.com]
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 8:45 AM
To: tomstrand19@yahoo.com; Willie Breazell
Subject: The Denver Post: Charter school merits imitation, not resentment

I thought you might find this article of interest. ---------------- Charter school merits imitation, not resentment - By David Harsanyi Denver Post Staff Columnist
When Cesar Chavez Academy opened its doors seven years ago, enrollment was 240. Today the number stands at 1,100. View Full Story

From: Willie Breazell [mailto:breazell1@comcast.net]
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 10:25 AM
To: Don Griffin; tomstrand19@yahoo.com; Willie Breazell
Subject: RE: The Denver Post: Charter school merits imitation, not resentment

Don,
Cesar Chavez is the main reason two of our schools are working harder this year to recruit and retain students. You have recalled the D-11 principal of one of elementary schools was out knocking on doors a few weeks ago seeking students. Well, the only reason he was doing that is the proximity of Cesar Chavez. Competition in public school is what is long over due. We need to expand our teacher performance pay options as well put more pressure on the superintendent with measurable goals.
I hate to admit it, but Craig Cox was on target with some of criticism in his recent editorial. We typically pay administrators huge salaries and in return we (the public) receive mediocre results and we are happy. Willie

Steve Schuck wrote:
Willie Please excuse my reaction to your comments but my sense is that they are empty. you guys had an opportunity to actually have chavez run east and you turned it down, unanimously. What about those 200 plus kids? If you are so dissatisfied with your overpaid administrators, why did you give terry a raise and promotion? It is increasingly difficult to reconcile rhetoric with action, or more accurately lack of it. And before you guys accuse me of abandoning dist 11, pls tell me who provides more private funds to dist 11 students than do we. There is a difference between supporting d11 kids and supporting a board and staff who appear to be proud of a 1% improvement over a 50% proficiency performance. Sorry to be so blunt and direct
Regards
steve

From: Thomas Strand [mailto:tomstrand19@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 10:11 PM
To: Steve Schuck
Subject: Re: FW: The Denver Post: Charter school merits imitation, not resentment

Dear Mr. Schuck:
Wow!! You certainly are blunt and and direct. I do not recall a unanimous vote about Chavez operating out of East Middle school. My recollection is that they withdrew their request before we acted upon it. I'll go back and check. As to the comment about the "overpaid and promoted administrators, including Dr Bishop", my personal motivation was to stimulate a sense of support and inject a feeling of urgency to make our District better. When I looked at comparable salaries for our top 4 "officers" I found District 11 at the lower end of the pay scale. Again ,I'll double check this. Please don't lose interest in or give up in D-11. We need you as a partner.
Your idealist and naive public servant,
Tom

(Craig: For the record, Tom, D11 is also in the lower end of the academic performance scale. Maybe these over-paid administrators should make what they are worth, which is much less than you gave them).

From: "Steve Schuck"
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 17:45:27
To:"Thomas Strand"
Cc:,"Don Griffin"
Subject: RE: FW: The Denver Post: Charter school merits imitation, not resentment

tom thanks for your note and congratulations on your recent endorsements.
just to set the record straight, let me quickly respond to your comments. yes with my typical bluntness. my reference to the unanimous decision related to the closure of east which had the effect of foreclosing any further discussions with chavez. their request was withdrawn, as you suggested, but only after there was NO interest in even exploring options with them coming from either the administration or the board. and that is what infuriates me. ( btw, they are now open only a few blocks from east and, in just a few weeks, have enrollment approaching capacity. my guess is that many of those kids are former east attendees who will now enjoy the opportunity to attend the highest performing middle school in the State. are you guys truly interested in what is best for the kids? ) as to administrative promotions and salaries, the real world does not reward anemic performance, nor does it expect that rewards should precede results ( if you are so proud of 1% improvement in csaps, then why didn't you just give 1% raises? ). and it certainly does not use rewards as a means to stimulate support and urgency. if your administrators do not already share those feelings, you have the wrong people on the bus. my continued committment is to the kids and families of our community, regardless of where they live, certainly to include those in d 11. while you and i do agree on the need to do more and better, we do not share the same sense of crisis and need for strong leadership that will demand bold and result generating action ( not just rhetoric ). so, let's focus on working together when and where we can and accept the fact that we are on different trajectories.
thanks and regards
steve

-----Original Message-----
From: tomstrand19@yahoo.com [mailto:tomstrand19@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2007 8:43 PM
To: Steve Schuck
Subject: Re: FW: The Denver Post: Charter school merits imitation, not resentment

Mr Schuck: I always appreciate any communication from you. To me, it means that you have not totally given up on District 11 or me. With 8 months under my belt, I have just begun to find out what I don't know. But I'm a quick learner and I have a fair amount of energy. As soon as I can get this darn election behind me ( hopefully in the "win" column) I will put all my enery into doing all I can to improve things for kids in our district. The sense of urgency that you talk about will become my mantra. Maybe I can even light my hair on fire to get attention. My campaign slogan is " Tom Strand 4 Kids". But that's just a slogan. I will prove it. - - maybe even to you. Thanks for staying engaged,
Tom
Board of Education

Notice Strand's warped priorities. He will use his energy to get elected before he will spend an ounce of energy to "improve things for kids in our district." Wow. On top of that, he has "8 months under my belt" but has "just begun to find out what I don't know." Yet he calls himself a "quick learner." Here are two people (Bobbitt & Strand) who will place their own elections at a higher level of importance than the needs of the kids of D11. It is not the least bit surprising, then, that the Independent and other liberal Democrats would endorse them.

There you have it. The Steve Schuck haters have two of their own running to the education hero for money and support. And some people thought that I was kidding when I called Strand the stealth voucher candidate.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what's ironic? Tom Strand talks about spending 8 months learning the job. Too bad a lot of kids in D-11 weren't learning much the last 8 months. But then no one is there anymore to hold ANYONE accountable, is there. Go Steve Schuck. He keeps shelling out money to actually do something, and then people like Bobbitt and Strand go to him behind closed doors, in secret, afraid of the reaction of the union. If I were Strand or Bobbitt, I'd be afraid of the reaction of the union, too, but they made a choice, didn't they? And it was not about kids or learning or improvement or rocking the boat.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Cruising around said...

Ooooooh, Charlie and Tom are going to be in trouble!! You know how much Johnny "it's only ok for me - no back room dealings" G hates not being transparent!

The local professional association will ABSOLUTELY NOT allow any discussion of civic involvement in the negotiation process. It would only take muddling through one article for any savvy business head to realize this is a cockamamie relationship - that the employee's work performance isn't a concern of this group, that there are MUCH more important things to fixate on, like "how few days can we reduce our work year to" and which of the candidates have the biggest rubber stamp for our campaign contributions?"

It's a sad, sad day when true volunteerism is snubbed and in this case, feared. Nothing bad could come from having impartial professionals participate in this process.
The only logical conclusion is what I have long suspected: the master agreement is horrible and many people should be ashamed of themselves and unemployed for it.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Freedomlover said...

You get how many email hits a day on this site? My guess is that intellectual beggars like the Watson twins, John G, and that one old angry idiot that used to show up at board meetings with her pretencious readings (what was her name?), all read this website. It will be hilarious to see what these fools do once this leaks out. Send it to Shari Cheney and that rag the Indy to get the word out even more. The left in this town will come down on those two like a ton of bricks. As for Strands comments about "8 months", "needing to get elected before he can turn to helping kids", etc, I mean what can one say? Simply remarkable. This board is so lacking in brains or original thoughts it is scary though fitting for a district quickily burning to the ground.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laughable, simply laughable. What Strand gets, and you don't, is that you have to be on the board to have any say. You had it, and you gave it away by quitting. Do you think this blog gives you more influence? If so, you are sadly mistaken.

More power to Strand and Bobbitt in trying to pry campaign dollars out of whoever might offer them. There's no harm in communicating with anyone in the District. You haven't shown anything that would suggest that Strand or Bobbit are in Schuck's back pocket.

The only truly revealing aspect of this entire post is that it shows Steve Schuck is still very active behind the scenes. There's no issue with anybody who wants to improve the kids' plight in the District. That doesn't mean you have to agree with everybody's prescription for improvement. Schuck and his minions have shown their blueprint, and many of us think it stinks to high heaven. We're not against improvement, but that's the way you always play it, because it's your attempt to cast us as the bad guys who are against improvement. In reality, you folks who so staunchly advocate privatization are, at least in our minds, the bad guys.

The truly sad thing is that there ought to be some middle ground that we all could work towards, in a common effort to improve things for kids.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Craig Cox said...

Anony #1, it says a lot about the thuggish and controlling nature of the labor union and its leftist supporters that people like Strand & Bobbitt are so afraid of these people who paid for their slots on the board. It also says a lot about how weak these two people are that they feel the need to run around in secret trying to raise campaign money. There is a real integrity issue there when they have to do all of this in the dark. Nothing surprising about the nature of board members supported by the left.

Cruising, you know the labor union. Any civic involvement in their little playground will not be tolerated. Again, light is a threat to the anti-parent crowd.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Craig Cox said...

The angry old woman is Lois Fornander. She and her angry old woman friends run that D11 Watch website, but they don't have the courage to use their names. Even they know that their positions on education issues (and D11, which they don't even discuss anymore due to embarrassment with their board) are so out of tune with reality that they can't attach their names to it.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Disguted said...

Well, well. It's pretty clear that there is no one on the board or running who is interested in actually educating themselves about public education and what is wrong with it. Instead, they'll rubber stamp what the "educators" tell them because they're "the experts," never realizing of course that they're the reason we're in this mess in the fist place. They'll listen to gobbledy gook presentations prepared by people trying to justify their huges salaries for doing nothing. No one is going to fight for the kids - and I'm not going to vote for anyone who doesn't have the gumption to stand up to those who fight like crazy to prevent accountability or who tip toe around behind closed doors to get support from people who do have the gumption to push for real change.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Craig Cox said...

Anony #2, if anyone ever doubted me when I refer to your kind as hard-core Socialists, you have proven my point. You honestly believe that people don't have a say if they are not sitting on the school board. Your lack of understanding of our form of government is appalling. Why, then, do you spout your views at board meetings and on blogs? It is your philosophy that has driven our education system into the ground. By keeping citizens out of the process, you have turned the education of our kids over to labor unions and aristocats with meaningless PhDs.

Strand admits that he has done nothing for 8 months. What "Say" has he had? His goal is to be an elected official, not to help kids. He admits as much. He and Bobbitt have done nothing on that board. They are run by their labor union handlers and by an administration that has no interest in performing. Neither has offered any ideas on any topic, period. None of the current board members other than Willie has offered to do anything to improve this district. Johnny can't blow his nose without labor union approval, and Hasling is nothing but a gopher for Johnny. If Mann were ever sober, who knows what brilliant thoughts would eminate from her mind. The only thing that Tanner has ever said that made any sense is that Bobbitt brings nothing to the board.

Interesting that you would declare that Strand and Bobbitt can communicate with Steve Schuck if they please, then you turn around and declare that he is a "bad guy" with a stinky blueprint. Are they potentially interested in his blueprint because your side has yet to offer one?

Yes, you are against imnprovement. It smells like work and effort, and you are too incompetent to be able to actually make effort. Your claim that you are "for improvement" is as meaningless as your anonymous posts. You have never offered ideas because you are too busy defending the status quo that you pretend to want to improve. Sorry, but even you can't make sense from that lack of logic.

Your desire for middle ground is phony at best. You want it your way, which is the status quo, which means a continuing decline in the status of our schools. Middle ground to you means pretending to care about kids but doing nothing that requires effort. You want tax payer money but no accountability. The only way to improve is to make dramatic and immediate change, and that is a threat to those of you who are so busy patting yourselves on the backs that you are threatened by people who actually understand that we are in a crisis.

Let your candidates keep pretending to be "somebody" because they have a seat on the board. The facts will continue to show that these "somebodies" sat on their scared little hands while the system continued to fail thousands of kids year after year.

Steve Schuck could have walked away from this mess years ago. Good for him for staying in the fight and helping thousands of kids each year with his own dollars. His dollard are not going into the pockets of the bureacrats, and that bothers you tremendously.

For the record, the only "privatization" that has taken place is that your private labor union runs every aspect of this school district. Great job so far.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Speechless said...

You've got to be kidding! Anonymous actually says that it is OK for the anti-reform board members to seek funding from anyone they want, yet their Independent rag and all of their little minions around town had a FIT when a couple of pro-student businessmen gave a couple of thousand dollars to elect people to the board who were serious about reform. Unbelievable! Reformers can't seek funding from anyone in the community that they want, but anti-reformers can do what they want, to include allow themselves to be purchased by $1 million from Denver and Washington D.C. They are too stupid to recognize their own hypocrisy.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Cruising said...

Anonymous says you have to be on the board to have any say? WHAT THE @#@!! Those people, elected by us, are supposed to reflect our beliefs and philosophies. For someone to try to ride the fence and play both sides is duplicitous and dishonest. Clearly shows their personal desire to be somebody comes before their desire to do a good job if elected.
I have a say, Anonymous, without a board seat. It's called choice and that's why D-11 continues to lose between 300-700 kids EVERY year.
At what point will we not have enough kids in the district to pay all the fat cat administrators? They'll be the last to feel the effects of mediocre achievement and declining enrollment, but, they too will eventually feel it. We homeowners are already feeling it. Again, part of the problem, they (the executive cabinet) don't live in D-11. In other words, they aren't eating where they are........jeez, there's a whole bunch of words that would work here: pillaging, robbing, faking, pooping, you chose.

7:26 AM  
Blogger temo said...

I love it when family moves to town, now we have a little more say with the D11 board. Add Two more No votes everyone. Keep up the good word Craig...obviously people who, subconsciously, want to be converted are reading it.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous One who knows said...

For the record, Karen Teja is very steamed at Strand. He is supposed to do what she tells him to do, and visiting with Steve Schuck was not on the approved "to-do" list. Anonymous can try to play it off as "reaching out," but visiting with Schuck is not "reaching out" in their circles.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Craig Cox said...

Bottom line is that if the libs are truly OK with this attempt at Steve Schuck support by their two candidates, then we will see a continuation of the courtship by Bobbitt and Strand. In their defense, they are probably desperate to be around someone who cares about education. Their handlers (Teja and the labor union, etc), are so void of education ideas that it must be depressing to be around them.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Bob Null isn't a player in this drama?

9:26 PM  
Blogger Craig Cox said...

Jan Tanner wants to have Null on the board, so he must have some role in the drama. Tanner's labor union and Denver millionaire handlers must have approved her to support Null. Like I said, though, he is just running around town trying to become an elected official. I imagine that he will do or say anything to get elected and remain elected. I'm not sure what type of principles derive from that ambition.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous I belive in miracles said...

Nothing makes me smile broader than hearing Teja is po'd. She allowed a lot of deterioration in her 8 years on the board and should have her skeletons follow her forever.
She manipulated Shakes, planted the chaos seeds, got pretty much everything she wanted to swing her way (reformers off the board, private 10,000 voucher for herself) and now she wants to pretend she's an expert in campaigns? Did she forget that she got trounced a couple of times?
I hold Strand responsible for aligning with that one - shows how out of touch he is with the D-11 Dilemna!

10:25 AM  

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