Congratulations and kudos to those members of the board with the courage and foresight to insist that the administration, board and public consider and debate a 2 High School model for Duluth Public Schools. This should have been addressed in all earlier assumptions and proposals presented. To suggest that these earlier proposals were "long range plans" was an affront to anyone seriously looking at the long range projections and needs of this community. These proposals have been nothing more than the latest round of elementary closings that no one believes will lead to stability in the system. The plan was to be implemented over 2 years to address immediate budget shortfalls. Two Years-Long Range? No one can believes that fantasy. The administration and board appear to have chosen the path of least resistance in order to avoid the high school issue until that becomes the new crisis. As we have all found, the community will not except this lack of leadership and long term vision for our schools.
A two high school model will allow for long range stability of our educational system. It has been reported this option was considered and rejected many months ago. Even members opposed to this idea at this time have acknowledge that we probably will have to reconsider 2 high schools in 5 years. Just what is the boards definition of long range planning? To ignore the issue of a 2 high school model will miss the very unique opportunity you have to engage the
community, build public consensus and support for this change. Change is hard, but the community will except and support what they understand and what they have been allowed to help decide. Whether it can be done in 2 years or 5, it must be part of your plan so that the public can see the vision for where we are ultimately headed as a community. No one believes it will be easy or non-controversial, but neither has your process to date. I urge you to take the time and seize this opportunity to include a planned transition to a 2 high school system. This is truly the right approach to balancing equally strong secondary programming while maximizing community based elementary schools within available resources. We have spoken with dozens of families who feel the same way. Be courageous and we will support you.
K & C