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Flag Education News: FUSD Finds $116,000 For Trips / NAU Tackles Free Speech

By Elisha Dorfsmith

I was unable to attend Tuesday’s Flagstaff Unified School District board meeting and apparently I missed a couple big stories.  Today’s edition of the Arizona Daily Sun includes an article covering two major topics that I have written about extensively in the past.

FUSD Suddenly Finds Over $116,000 In Override Money For “Mini Buses”

Yes, you read that headline right. While FUSD has given us every imaginable financial gloom and doom scenario they could think of, they now suddenly have enough money to buy extra buses for trips! We were told that overrides had to be passed to save teacher’s jobs, keep class size down, save school librarians and nurses, and insure that art and music programs would not be cut.

As usual, the fear didn’t equal the facts and the money is hardly being used for critical education. Sports programs are the big winner AGAIN.  Those of us who opposed the overrides knew this would happen. Hopefully everyone keeps this in mind the next time FUSD tries to get us to open our wallets through fear mongering and scare tactics.

FUSD Picks Schools For Mobile Health Van

Kinsey, Killip, Thomas, and the alternative and social programming building (the old Christensen school) are set to have the North Country Healthcare mobile health van parked outside when the program starts next year.

Services the van may offer include primary care, sports physicals, immunizations, risk behavior, acute illness, minor trauma, chronic disease care, routine physicals, health education, behavioral health, and reproductive health (including referral and prescriptions, STI screening and contraception counseling).

Below are a few of the articles I have written on the health van:

Capital Grant Approved For Mobile Health Van At FUSD

The Big Business Of Obesity

PFLAG, ECONA and Budget Discussion

FUSD Votes To Seek Grant For Mobile Health Van

The DSM-V Says Your Kids Have A Behavioral Problem

Will A Mobile Health Van Lead To More Behavioral Drugs?

FUSD Considers School Based Mobile Health Unit


Other Flagstaff education news:

NAU To Hold Meeting On Free Speech Rules

Northern Arizona University will hold a special public meeting on Friday, September 16 to discuss speech on campus. The meeting starts at 10:00 a.m. in the Agassiz room in the High Country Conference Center.  This is in response to the national attention the university received after staff gave students a hard time for handing out American flags on 9/11.

You can read more about the incident here:

Free Speech Is Dead At NAU

I have been somewhat amused and frustrated at how many people on all sides of the political spectrum have said that rules are rules and we should never question or resist them. We are told that we should be obedient little sheep blindly following whatever our masters tell us to do.

I came across an editorial in Northern Arizona News by John Westover that perfectly illustrates the idea that we should never question authority. He says:

“Rules exist for a reason, even if we do not understand or agree with them.”

In other words SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, and BEHAVE!!! The government always knows what’s best for you.

Mr. Westover is a perfect example of what our public education system produces. Cookie cutter clones who all march to the same beat refusing to think outside the box or question the status quo. We are creating followers who jump through hoops, embrace red tape, line up in nice straight rows and are programmed to report anybody who steps out of line to the proper authorities.

History shows us that the great thinkers, artists, inventors and leaders all challenged authority and questioned laws. Those who believe in freedom and liberty go out of their way to push back against unjust policy and regulations. The freedom you enjoy today is there because of people who questioned rules! If we take our freedom for granted we will wake up one day and realize it’s gone.


  1. September 15, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Jeez , give it a rest. If these kids would have been radical enviromentalists you would be asking for their heads on a platter.

    • Jim_AZ
      September 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm

      Leaving one bridge for another is dangerous. Clever hobbits might trick you.

  2. Bill Tippett
    September 15, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Being one of those who believe rules are rules in this case, I think it is disingenuous of the protestors to retroactively turn their demonstration into a free speech issue when the original intent was to commemorate an event–just looks like someone was spoiling for a fight. I support the free speech rights of jingoists as much as I do any other group I might disagree with and would help defend that right to whatever extent necessary. But they weren’t there protesting the fact that NAU is supported by public money but has private property rights. Even if they were they still would have been given the boot. You know as well as I do the most effective way to change the process is from within. I’m no classicist but Plato’s “Apology” helps me on this one.

  3. Bill Tippett
    September 15, 2011 at 10:04 am

    BTW, excellent reporting on FUSD. Thanks for the heads-up for next time we hear those plaintive pleas for more of our money to support a failing bureaucracy.

  4. September 15, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Dermott, I strongly support the rights of radical environmentalists to say whatever they want.

    Bill, We’re going to have to agree to disagree here. 😉

    • Stuart Lynjyn
      September 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      I think it would have been appropriate to hand out flags for other nations including Islamist ones. We get, and are, so centrist in viewpoints that as an example in this case, we have either forgotten, overlooked, or decided to not include the recognition of loss and suffering that this incurred upon the world, not just our nation. It should be either all or none. Anything in between smacks of censorship, control, partisanship, radicalism, etc.

  5. September 15, 2011 at 10:09 am

    And just to be clear, I sincerely appreciate and respect your thoughts and opinion Bill. I just don’t think many things change from the inside. That’s why I’m a strong supporter of things like nullification and peaceful civil disobedience.

  6. Bill Tippett
    September 15, 2011 at 10:15 am

    “I just don’t think many things change from the inside.” I agree with you there but my experience tells me you can win some battles this way but you’ll ultimately lose the war. I know that you would be supporting the rights of any group as well. The claim that flag-burners and other assorted “leftist” groups would have been accommodated is BS. Most bureaucrats are equal opportunity enforcers.

    • September 15, 2011 at 10:22 am

      I didn’t hear anyone claim that flag burning would be allowed inside (obviously it wouldn’t be allowed and for good reasons).

      I can think of many “wars” that were won by people standing up against the system.

      • September 15, 2011 at 11:22 am

        Someone on the Daily Sun website said flag burning without permission would have been fine with the NAU PTB. I doubt it. They really didn’t have to be such hard-asses though. They could have let them finish and advised them go through the “proper channels” next time. Threatening to disband the group was totally uncalled for, and does feel discriminatory.

        F.I.R.E. gives NAU a yellow on this particular issue:

        Now this is really creepy:

        Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, will start using “proximity card readers” in some lower-division classes in fall 2010, to record student attendance, said NAU Spokesman Tom Bauer. Using $85,000 in federal stimulus funds, the university hopes such a tool will push professors to incorporate attendance in their grading systems, he said.
        “It’s a trend toward a surveillance society that is not necessarily befitting of an institution or society,” said Adam Kissel, defense program director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education…


  7. Bill Tippett
    September 15, 2011 at 11:34 am

    That remark wasn’t directed at you; and, the flag burning comment was made somewhere else by someone who was helping to perpetuate what I view as basically a tantrum.

  8. September 15, 2011 at 11:58 am

    OK, thanks for the clarification. If Stephanee was using the flag burning argument I would be sure to yell at her next time I saw her. 😀 I would imagine that we agree more than it appears on much of this.

    I just just have a problem with the idea that most issues like this can be solved from within. If that was the case, we could claim that government is the solution to everything and it just depends on who is running any specific department at any given time. One thing is clear to me, if NAU was a private institution there wouldn’t be any issue here whatsoever. They could have any rules they wanted and it would be none of my business.

  9. September 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I link to a DSM-V blog post in the mobile health van section of the above article. My concerns about the health van are confirmed more and more every day:


  10. naima
    September 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    it’s truly astounding that money for classroom supplies has to be scrounged up by teachers, and more gas guzzlers are paid for by “found” money….tell me, what organization or corporation, for that matter, FINDS $116,000? sounds fishy to me…

  11. September 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    At a budget meeting at the beginning of the school year, I learned that FUSD is in the process of using override money to add solar panels on some of the school buildings. I believe Cromer is the first school and they’re going to start putting them up soon. After the meeting, I asked the Director of Budget if these projects are popular and being demanded by the community members. He told me no, the people of Flagstaff haven’t made any noise about adding solar panels- – APS initiated the idea. He also let everyone know that it would certainly be 5 or more years until the district would see financial benefits from this investment. Just before the solar panel update, the Director of Budget spent much more time talking about how many critical resources the district is lacking because of such a poor economy and because they lack funds. So evidently there is money to sign a nice sized contract w/ APS for solar panels but not enough for new books and smaller class sizes. The Director of Budget also mentioned that another override would again be voted on in 2012. After trying to pump up faculty and staff to get more community members registered to vote so it passes easily, I asked him if the district was prepared to push to get the override on the ballot again as soon as possible (like was done last time around) if it were to be voted down in 2012. He laughed off the suggestion and said Flagstaff historically passes overrides. Last time around people just weren’t paying attention. That’s my update from the trenches.

  12. September 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    WOW! I knew about the solar panels but I was not aware of where the money was coming from. There are two overrides on the books right now, one from 2006 which is probably the one they will be trying to renew. I talked to an FUSD parent last week who said the discretionary fund at their school was cut 65% and the school could not afford any supplies for students and teachers. I’ll be keeping my ears open about the next override as we go into 2012. I may have to re-start my political action committee. Thanks Jared.

  1. November 27, 2011 at 4:30 pm

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