Dear Board Member Welty,

This is in regard to the school closing discussions in general, and Grant School in particular.

As you know, the City of Duluth's new Comprehensive Plan process has begun and the City has been re-divided into 10 planning districts. Grant School is in Planning District 6. If it is closed there will be no public school of any kind in Planning District 6. The City of Duluth is also immersed in the "At Home in Duluth" Program which has enticed hospital employees to buy homes in District 6 (East Hillside) with subsidies, advertising that the homes are between the school and the hospitals. This will no longer be the case if Grant School closes. It's the last school open in the district.

In the attached chart you will find that District 6 has the following:

-- the largest population of any Planning District.
-- more than double the people-per-acre of any other district.
-- more housing units than any other district.
-- more than double the housing units-per-acre than any other district
-- the smallest amount of land


In addition, female head of households (32.1%) are substantially higher than the City rate of 17.9, and the
median income is 20% below the City average.

We also have a large population of low and moderate income and minority families and single-parent
families which may have attributed to the lower turnout at the Monday meeting, babysitting costs and all.
Many parents do not have transportation either and mostly walk to Grant events as their children do.

We have so many minority and low income that at one point in the not too distant past it was thought
that neighborhood kids should be sent on a bus to other schools to decrease the concentrations. Parents told the School Board that they were content with things the way they were and did not want their children put on buses for another school. A waiver was obtained to allow neighborhood children to stay at Grant.

Other schools in the District may need more diversity, but we must be careful not to send low income and minorities away from their neighborhood schools just for the sake of creating a diversity salad in other schools. Grant kids, like other kids, want to go to school with their neighborhood friends. We like the concentration of diversity here. It is not a bad thing. If we wanted to send our kids to other schools we have always had the opportunity available through "open enrollment". Most of our kids want to stay at Grant. Comp Ed money and deseg money come to Grant for these kids and have made it possible for Grant to have great programs.

I know that District wide there is a need for money at all schools, but I hope these Comp Ed and other funds don't, in themselves, create a need to ship Grant kids to other schools, just to make those schools eligible for funding. I prefer we find our money another way. And even if Grant closes, there is no guarantee that ISD 709 will keep those kids. Edison has already lured many Grant families and there would be no stopping them from taking over Grant and offering a neighborhood school to families in
District 6.

Grant is THE CENTER of District 6 with all its programs before and after school for kids and families. A $1,000,000 grant has just been received for a project at Grant with a collaborative. It will be lost if Grant closes.

I would, at this point, not be opposed at all to using excess levy
funding, or referendum funding to tide us over for a year or two at the status quo until more discussion is had, the Comprehensive Plan for the City is seen, and the new Census figures have been looked at. With interest rates being very low, if we have to borrow short-term then this would be a good time.

Until all options are discussed we cannot say we have done everything possible to avoid more cuts in the schools.

After reviewing all options, I wish you good luck with all the tough
decisions you have to make.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

John H