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School Board President Rich Minder - Recuse ME!


Recuse: to remove (oneself) from participation to avoid a conflict of interest (Merriam-Webster)

Rich Minder, current USD497 Board of Education President, is also one of the original six investors in Delaware Street Commons, a Co-Housing Community. It was reported by the Lawrence Journal-World that Minder was delinquent on his property tax payments (taxes which support the school district) in the September 2, 2010 article, "Taxes owed at Delaware Commons".

It appears that taxes are still in arrears according to Douglas County, Kansas online services. A separate special tax, a loan repayment to the City of Lawrence, by Delaware Commons also appears to be delinquent. Minder has a direct stake in providing for the well-being of Delaware Commons.

Minder has also expressed displeasure of those who choose to live in a rural environment. In a 2003 email to the school board, board member-elect Rich Minder wrote, "We would not choose to live an environmentally, economically and culturally unsustainable lifestyle such as those typically found in the environs of such places as the ironically named Langston Hughes elementary." An email written by board member Minder in March 2010 reveals his expectation requiring "a major shift in lifestyle away from the automobile and will be linked to the afforementioned [sic] urban advantages, resulting in higher density, walkable built environment." He goes on to say, "that those who have chosen a rural non-farm lifestyle that requires a great deal of transporation [sic] expense would recognize the special responsibility they have to supporting collective efforts at building more sustainable patterns of settlement." Minder has an agenda which precludes rural Douglas County residents. An agenda that benefits the embodiment of his beliefs - Delaware Commons.

Yes, others, most assuredly all, have an interest - personal or ideological - in the preservation or demise of a particular school. Board of Education member Vanessa Sanburn would, presumably, have a personal interest in the retention of Woodlawn Elementary School. Board Member Bob Byers might have a personal interest in keeping Wakarusa Valley Elementary open since he is the Board liaison to the school. Mary Loveland, spouse of Dr. Charles Loveland, Pediatrician, may prefer to see Cordley Elementary close since it is not ADA compliant and requires several million dollars in repair. Of course, Board members will vote on issues based upon personal interests, ideology, and beliefs.

However, only one Board member appears to be able to benefit from the harm of others in the community.

Rich Minder, for the sake of propriety, appearance, and good ethical judgment should recuse himself from discussions and votes pertaining to school closings.

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Cogito_Ergo_Es 6 years, 10 months ago

So, if I understand this correctly, even though a normal person may stand to lose money in the value of their home if their community school closes, they will never make a profit from it remaining open. On the other hand, if Minder votes to close another school in order to keep New York Elementary open, he can actually make money off of selling more units at Delaware Commons. Got to have that walkability to and from the teacher commune. Having an elementary school within walking distance of Delaware Commons is a selling point for him. Hmmm, something is a little fishy here...

GMom05 6 years, 10 months ago

Wow! No Doubt! Sounds like a conflict of interest to me. Anyone that stands to make a commercial profit off of whether schools open or close should not be voting on that matter. New York has the second lowest enrollment in the district. Maybe that's why there's no discussion of closing them this year. I wonder if any other board members own commercial property around Lawrence? Clearly no one owns any around Wakarusa Valley! Ha! So, does he recuse himself or does his Vice President on the board ask him to step out? Who makes sure the VP asks him to recuse himself?

Doesnt_smell_right 6 years, 10 months ago

Should this involve higher powers? Attorney General?

spiderd 6 years, 10 months ago

Geez, you guys are pathetic. That was a nice, not so subtle, jab at Cordley in the process by the way - your own complete and utter lack of self interest is inspiring to all.

kravist1 6 years, 10 months ago

Pathetic?? DIST's statements about Cordley's lack of ADA compliance and need for very costly repairs are factual. Feeling a little defensive today?

spiderd 6 years, 10 months ago

Defensive? No. My point is that the point of the blog is not anything to do about a deep concern regarding conflict of interest, it's merely propoganda meant to further another's interest. That is clearly the point of the blog and clearly the point of the commenters.

spiderd 6 years, 10 months ago

First of all, my reading comprehension is doing fine, we are great chums. In fact, I can even keep reading beyond a single quote and infer that the 'all' in your writing refers directly to school board members - not yourself. Secondly, I'm just not seeing the great financial benefit you speak of. I mean it's just not there. If it is really and truly as strong as you make it sound then your logic tells me that all of east Lawrence has a chance of falling in financial ruin - if that is the case than I would think all of Lawrence would not want that to happen, not just one targeted man. I guess to put it simply, YOU'RE BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE HERE.
As for your jab, it was vailed. You gave 2 positive examples and followed up with a negative - that negative was not really on point with the rest of your blog and was inserted in a way designed to trick the reader. You are clever DIST, I was just pointing out how clever you are so that others could see it as well, though I'm sure most did. You were not just stating a fact as you say. Lastly, I regret the use of the word "pathetic", it's an ugly one. I used it only in reference to this strategy that I've watched unfold with these baseless personal attacks. I just chuckle as each new commenter shows utter amazement at hearing about this, I've seen it happen so many times now. For the record, I do not wish to see WV closed either, I just think this strategy is bunk. I repeat, you're barking up the wrong tree.

Synjyn Smythe 6 years, 10 months ago

Is Cordley now ADA compliant? Will it be made ADA compliant prior to the proposed consolidation? If so, how much money will be spent only to see the school closed upon consolidation w/in 3-5 years? Can you really tell us that is a responsible expenditure of our funds??

Gombay 6 years, 10 months ago

Most of the people who live in the "country" think sustainable means- have your own garden, fruit trees, chickens, goats, cows, hay crops, wood stoves or geothermal . Not sure where you put those at Delaware Commons. See you at the Farmer's Market, it's just south of Pachimamas on Saturday mornings, for those in Delaware Commons that need directions. It's where the "sustainable" people meet to exchange produce.

Cogito_Ergo_Es 6 years, 10 months ago

You know, Mr. Minder, I don't remember telling you how you should live your personal life, please refrain from passing judgement on where I choose to raise my children. They get to play in their treehouse, ride their bikes around our yard, fish in our pond, hunt for frogs, play with the cats, look for eggs in the chickencoop, pick apples and pears from our orchard, or go for hikes in our timber every afternoon. We can build a fire and have a family hot dog roast on the weekends. I never worry about them being swiped because our yard isn't fenced in. I know they'll never be hit by a car chasing after a ball. It's not a special outing from the city. It's a way of life and it is good.

JustNoticed 6 years, 10 months ago

He should recuse himself for that haircut.

Business_Guy 6 years, 10 months ago

Rich Minder has always pushed his agenda! Now, this. Rich, "ol boy, what do you have to say for yourself?

In the business world, it's a conflict of interest. This type of action would be subject to dismissal. It's slimy!. But in public politics, it's the norm.

Rich, it will catch up to you in the end!

LadyJ 6 years, 10 months ago

How many elevators could have been put in Cordley if only 1 football field had been built instead of 2?

LadyJ 6 years, 10 months ago

Why am I not surprised? So let's see which one gets an elevator first.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 months ago

Actually if Rich could convince the BOE to re-open East Heights that would be far more convenient to the Delaware Commons residents. And to just about all other families that live nearby.

Keeping New York School opens makes good sense considering taxpayers have poured so many dollars into that school since 2003. Actually it makes sense to keep most all the schools open than to bring another bond issue forward to build more schools. Our schools are worth several million dollars each.... why close them?

Keeping New York School and all others open benefits all residential values in the areas = smart dollars and sense.

Following this gathering of information, the Task Force refined many recommendations, goals and thoughts down to 12 basic criteria or goals that we used in reaching consensus and which we believe should be used going forward .

These are: The district should • Fully utilize elementary school locations before constructing new schools at new locations, • Plan for a capacity of approximately 300 to 500 students at all elementary schools, • Plan for equity in terms of learning environments across the district, • Plan for all‐day kindergarten at all schools in the future, • Eliminate all portables at elementary schools, • Plan for flexibility to accommodate changes to programs in the future, • Plan for investment to address aging facilities, • Deploy services in a differentiated manner such that all schools receive the services and programs they need, • Strive to create and maintain schools that embody such a community that every school is a community school, • Ensure that as many children as possible are able to walk or bike to school if they choose to do so, • Incorporate best practices that research suggests have a greater impact on student achievement than school and class size, • Plan to provide minimum 720 square foot classrooms for grades 1‐5 and 900 square foot classrooms for Kindergarten in existing schools.

Actually based on the criteria submitted all BOE members should recuse themselves... now we're talking. Put this matter to a vote!!!!! Absolutely!!!

Stephen Roberts 6 years, 10 months ago

Merrill - WTF- Do you even have a clue what you are talking about. How much more money would it take to do what you want? Are you willing to have have YOUR taxes (ALL STATE TAXES) Quadruple??? No, so give it a rest.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 10 months ago

For the sake of the children, ban the use of internal combustion lawnmowers within 5 miles of a public school. Failing to do that would be absoutely dumb and irresponsible!!!!!!

LadyJ 6 years, 10 months ago

When did Centennial school close? An elevator was promised then since Centennial was ADA compliant and Cordley was not.

kugrad 6 years, 10 months ago

This article is much ado about nothing. Nowhere has there been any reasonable chain of evidence to support an idea that Mr. Minder is trying to make a profit off of Delaware Commons. As I understand it, this is more of a not-for-profit attempt or experiment that seeks to give people a previously unavailable community option. Delaware commons also happens to be so far from New York that the property valuations would likely be unchanged if New York closed. The argument that he will profit in based entirely on speculation that has no real support. It is just a petty personal attack with a bit of filler thrown it to give the illusion of a broader argument than the straw man at the heart of this weak blog.

pace 6 years, 9 months ago

I really dislike Minder and can't understand why he was elected. but I don't see this as a true conflict of interest.

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