Dear Mr. Welty,

I have been following the discussions on your website for some time now. While I can understand some of the objections that have been raised regarding your "Zenith Plan," it seems to me to be the most sensible plan presently on the table. More than anything, I am pleased that you are working to think of alternative plans and to keep the discussions open throughout the long-term planning process.

Modest-sized neighborhood elementary schools are a critical asset of our school system; something that sets it apart from other like-sized districts in Minnesota. It would be a pity to lose this asset. If ISD 709 is perceived as not providing quality education in at a human scale for young kids, how long will it be before more and more parents send their children elsewhere, to the growing ranks of privately held schools (many in buildings that used to be part of ISD 709) in our city? Once families have opted out of the public school system, how likely is it that they will come back? 

As you and the other board members continue the long-range planning process, please keep in mind the idea that if a business is losing market share, it really ought to be working to improve its product, and the public image of its product.