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Lindbergh School District works to earn public trust

"My Call" by Bill Milligan

I spent some time talking with Lindbergh Superintendent Jim Sandfort Saturday as he worked a concession at the 13th annual Spirit Festival.

It was a "Wheel-of-Fortune'' type concession. Children would give Sandfort, or one of the people working the booth with him, a ticket and then spin the wheel. They would earn prizes based on where the pointer stopped spinning. Probably most of the children who came to the booth were unaware that the superintendent was the one handing them their prizes.

If the line in front of the booth ever started to dwindle, Sandfort would begin calling to passers-by, urging them to spin the wheel. Anyone passing couldn't help but notice the tall man in blue jeans and T-shirt with the plastic-foam lobster on his head.

I joked with him about his luck with the weather. While Sandfort has been superintendent, it never has rained on the thousands who attend the Spirit Festival. He claims that it's because he's in charge of "climate control,'' but I think it's just his positive outlook on things.

"We had the Special Olympics here a couple of days ago and I could sense that some of the kids were afraid it was going to rain,'' Sandfort said. "I told them it wouldn't rain before 1:30 and they would all be on the bus by then. Just as the last bus began rolling, it started to pour. I looked at my watch and it was 1:30.''

That's just the way things work at Lindbergh. Everyone from board members to classroom teachers actively are involved with learning and child development. All decisions seem child-oriented and the public trust seems to be something sacred.

Like other well-managed school districts, Lindbergh invites public scrutiny into its operations and listens to feedback when offered. The school system has modern facilities, equipment and furnishings. Its teachers are well paid; its graduates are good citizens. And it has just about the lowest tax rate in the state. Those are things that don't just happen. At Lindbergh they work hard to maximize the return on taxpayers' dollars.

"It's great to have you out here covering this,'' Sandfort said. "We really appreciate all the positive things you do for this school district.''

Thanks Jim, but the public really needs to thank you and everyone in your administration for the good work. It is a rare public entity that operates with the public trust and good of its clients at heart.

We can only hope it's contagious.

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