Friday, 3-30-2001

Save Grant; have
two high schools

As president of the Duluth City Council, I appreciated the willingness of the School Board to give the council and the St. Louis County Board a thorough briefing on the school district's difficulties. I do not envy the School Board and would not presume to tell members what to do as they face the possibility of a $4.8 million deficit next year. I wish them well.

Having said this, I have spoken with many Duluth residents and have arrived at this impression of the community's feelings. Many people feel that the elementary schools, which remain in Duluth, have become centers for much more than public education. This is particularly true of Grant School. The Grant neighborhood would be greatly impoverished by its loss.

Since the eastern end of the East Hillside also face the loss of Chester Park School, and its remarkable collaboration with UMD, this double whammy could leave a broad swath of our city crippled in its efforts to attract new homeowners.

I have heard repeatedly from constituents that they believe a two-high school arrangement is inevitable for Duluth. In fact, even the School Board has acknowledged that it is only a matter of time before this happens. Aware that the irrevocable closing of elementary schools could wound our newly formed planning configuration, I applaud the School Board for considering a two-high school configuration. If such a configuration proves to be a viable financial alternative to the loss of multiple elementary schools, it should be strongly considered.
Patty Edwards