Mr. Almanza and School Board Members,

I applaud your plan to finally change the East-Central boundaries!! Our
4 children attended Chester Park, Woodland and Central, graduating in '93, '95, '97, while our youngest graduated from Marshall last year. We are no strangers to changing schools as our oldest started out in
Barnes, which closed then Kenwood which also closed, and then a one year stint at Cobb while Woodland was under construction. There is definitely safety in numbers when changes need to be made. My oldest daughter was very upset at having to split from her friends at Woodland to go to Central while they went to East, but did great once she got there. One of my other daughters had a hard time with the teasing that goes along with the rivalries at Chester and Woodland, but excelled when she transferred to Central in 8th grade. Your plan would alleviate these type of situations by placing students in the same corridor. 

A statement in a recent News Tribune article says it in a nut shell: 
"Our biggest hang-up is that our kids would go to Central." This parent
also says "East has superior sports and academic programs. I have
heard this over and over again since my kids were at Chester Park and there was an attempt to change the East boundary to Woodland Avenue.  Our School District has allowed East to become bigger and very disproportionate to the other two high schools. Although I do not
believe they have stronger academics, I do believe they have stronger
sports teams-mostly related to numbers. The City of Duluth and the
Duluth News Tribune are partly to blame for putting East up on a

I was a very active member of the committee to keep Central open 9 years ago and recall that the 7th and 8th graders there was to be a temporary solution. I am also a past co-president of Central's PTSA and worked on a committee with Mary Georgeson (a former Central teacher) to change the public's perception of Central. As you can see, it didn't work!! The Central community knows that Cental is a great school and has a lot to offer, but it just can't compete with East and the negative public perception that our city has. Please don't let East parents and students change this plan!

My son, who attended Central in 7th and 8th grade, transferred to
Marshall in 9th grade one week before school started because there was no hockey coach hired at Central when Brendan Flaherty left. To him, hockey was the most important thing in his life, as sports are to many at that age. There was a lot of pressure (by adults) to send him to East, but that was against our moral standards for him to take someone's spot. Although many people will deny it, there are a number of transfers related to sports. Sports and extra-curriculars are a very important part of a kid's life, and this needs to be addressed in
equalizing our high schools. It has been a crime that transfers have
been given to some students at a time when East's enrollment has been  closed due to the high numbers.

Again, I applaud you efforts and hope you continue to go forward with
this plan.