Eye-popping tax proposals and a half-baked strategic plan could make Tuesday’s St. Paul Public Schools referendum an unusually hard sell in a city that’s historically opened its wallets to support public education. The four St. Paul school levy increases since 2000 each won between 56 percent and 62 percent approval from voters. Tuesday’s vote could be closer, judging by the results of a May survey commissioned by the school board. It found 58 percent of respondents were willing to pay an extra $125 a year in school taxes, while just 44 percent would pay $150. The school board settled on an $18.6 million tax hike that would cost the average homeowner $135 a year plus inflation. Rosilyn Carrol, a school board member from 1976 to 1983, hasn’t decided how she’ll vote. She’s been frustrated by the quality of education on the city’s East Side and doesn’t see a clear plan for improvement, with or without higher taxes. “To do the same old … [Read more...] about Will higher taxes, unclear goals doom St. Paul schools referendum?
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A girl at a St. Paul elementary school noticed a suspicious man lurking near their playground earlier this week and told some of her classmates. As the man started heading in her direction, her friends huddled around her, and the man ran away, authorities say. That’s part of the narrative included in a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court on Thursday. Yeng Houa Moua was charged with one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct as well as additional counts of making threats of violence and fifth-degree drug possession for his alleged actions Wednesday evening. Police officers went to Phalen Lake Elementary on 1089 Cypress Street about 6 p.m. after receiving a report that a man had been spotted watching children on the playground with his hands down his pants, the complaint said. A 10-year-old student told officers he saw a man thrusting his hips at kids, prompting he and others to approach him. The man threatened to rape and kill the students if they got … [Read more...] about Man near St. Paul school with hands down his pants threatens students who confront him, charges say
HUDSON, Wis. — The husband of a former St. Paul school administrator who stole more than $200,000 from her church was sentenced Monday to three months in jail. Michael LaVenture, 47, of Roberts, Wis., pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor theft charges under a deal that will let him work to pay back New Centerville United Methodist Church. He’ll spend one month in jail with work release each of the next three years. “It really comes down to, ‘How do they get their money?’ And he has to be out there working,” said St. Croix County assistant district attorney Erica Ellenwood. Church members, she added, “understand that him being in jail is counterproductive to their goal.” Kara Amundson-LaVenture, a former assistant principal at Highland Park High School in St. Paul, was sentenced in October to two years in prison after pleading guilty to felony theft. She was the church’s volunteer treasurer when she stole at least $203,000 over … [Read more...] about Husband aims to pay back Wis. church after theft by ex-St. Paul school administrator
Plans to scrub a slave-owning U.S. president’s name from two St. Paul school buildings have rankled alumni of the former Monroe High School. The old high school is one of two campuses of the K-8 Linwood-Monroe Arts Plus, with buildings in the Summit Hill and West Seventh neighborhoods. Its namesake, James Monroe, was the fifth U.S. president, one of 12 to own slaves during his lifetime and one of eight to do so while in office. “It’s a critically important issue that James Monroe was a slave owner, and that doesn’t reflect the kids that go to Linwood-Monroe in the slightest,” PTO president Jason Johnson said in an interview. Thirty percent of the dual-campus school’s students are African-American and about as many are white. Amid national discussions about monuments and namesakes for public institutions, a Linwood-Monroe parent brought concerns to the PTO about the Monroe name, Principal Bryan Bass said. The PTO agreed the name should go and so did … [Read more...] about Movement would rename St. Paul school named for slave-owning president
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