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Be Skeptical of former PLSAS Board Chair Richard Wolf’s skepticism

Former School Board Chair, Richard Wolf has leveled a serious and personal allegation against PLSAS School Board candidates who are challenging incumbent Board members. He made the allegation in his letter to the editor of the Prior Lake American (Skeptical of PLSAS “change candidates,” Oct. 29).

Wolf’s letter states that “these candidates are backed by a political group associated with large monied groups in the state who are hostile to public education.” He also writes that these candidates “want public education students to learn only what this group desires.” Mr. Wolf offers no factual information to support his claim, but that’s not new for Wolf when attacking those with whom he disagrees.

While serving as Board Chair, Wolf launched a similar public attack against residents who were questioning the School District’s financial dealings with Nexus. In a letter to the editor of the Prior Lake American at that time, Wolf wrote that there was a group in town that “don’t want public education to succeed.” He went on to say “Don’t believe me? Check out their consultant,” and then named the consultant as “Paul Dorr” a nationally known critic of public education. With that kind of specific information from a School Board Chair, it sounded believable, but it was a flagrant lie.

Unfortunately, the Prior Lake American believed Wolf’s letter and put it online before someone contacted the American to advise them that Wolf’s accusation was false. To their credit, the American then pulled the letter from their website, and eliminated it from their print edition before it could do further damage in the community.

Wolf however, never apologized to those he had accused, nor did he offer any explanation regarding the basis for his fabricated story about a local group hiring an anti-education consultant.

For some in politics including some school board members, it has become an art form to censor or discredit the personal credibility of anyone who questions their decisions. However, a credible school board should welcome questions from parents, taxpayers and teachers. The tendency for some on the current PLSAS Board, to be evasive to those who raise legitimate questions about financial performance or teaching curricula, is why I support the change that Wolf adamantly opposes.

Wes Mader, Prior Lake