----- Original Message -----
From: Db
To: <harrywelty@charter.net>
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2003 6:37 PM
Subject: Re: Duluth High Schools

We can't believe all the negative attacks since the annoucement that Denfeld would close. Now Denfeld people are against Central because they fear no one will ever touch East. I can't believe how this has divided the city even further. IF one school must close, we were surprised that it wasn't East as East is definitely a junior high school set-up. Who with money keeps pushing for East? Mr. Welty helped create this mess along with Mary Cameron, (+former members Bennett and Balach) pushing for Edison OVER our public schools. We don't have a problem with all charter schools, but we do have a problem a for-profit charter that takes money from our school district! East parking and neighborhood are not high school material and never have been. Denfeld is set up better, but we understand from workers there that the building is in need of a lot of repairs, so they were not surprised at the decision. Central was BUILT as a HIGH SCHOOL and has wonderful parking and facilities. When people move into the community, the campus sitting above the lake could be a beautiful draw.  Central is not by everything else and is conducive to a great high school atmosphere. Let's get our priorities straight and look at the obvious. Everyone keeps saying East will never close...it doesn't have to. Make it a junior high school as that is the set-up. Have you been to all 3 schools to see. Central would benefit even more by opening up the other entrance (Orange ST.), but the tennis courts, parking lot, and newer building are all wonderful for a high school. We don't trust Mr. Welty at all as he promised us he would not be running for school board this time. (Oh, that's right, he didn't win on his other run for office). Oh and he lives East of 21st Ave. (Anyone who believes that is the dividing line without seeing the numbers needs help) Duluth students and their families deserve better from you!

I can not recover my original reply

Db responds to it.

We remember when you said you wanted Central stay open as one of the two high schools and close East. We have followed all this as close as working parents can. What we can't understand (we are not stupid) is why you changed to keeping East open. We understand that the board ignored you, but that should NOT sway you from the obvious...Central is still a much better site than East. That's why we feel money has swayed you. The sites haven't changed all that much. What is your rationale for being for East's site when it is still not a good site? It just doesn't make sense to us. Please try to explain further. We understand money issues and know that we may need to go to one or two high schools, we just don't see why Central isn't in the first, obvious choice with the location, parking, and facility.
   As for Edison, we do know that there is no current high school, but the money has been taken from the ISD 709 budget for the public school kids. Plus, we know they are trying to get a high school. Sometimes you need to look at the obvious. It took money in the past from our district and it is a FOR PROFIT charter. You should never have voted to give that the OK.
   We are not ignorant or mean people. We just care about Duluth's children. Ours are already graduated, but we still care. And for the record, we did work for the failed levy. We think it is time for the board to put the kids first and to be FAIR! Please reconsider your votes against Central. Even in one of the 3 high school plans, it calls for Denfeld and East to be "academic" schools and Central to be a "technical" school. What an insult to Central hillside kids. We faced years of "your dad works for our dad" chants at almost every game. Yes, we have been involved parents, but both of us work many hours. We just can't attend everything. Please do NOT let the rich win out again. Thank you for your time.

My second reply


I believe  that Central is a better facility for a senior high school in a
better location with room to grow, athletic fields near by with ample
parking and a second rear access that could be opened up permanantly. I also know that East has many limitations.

Despite East's limitations there are two reasons why I think East should remain the high school (although at some later date we ought to consider
building a new high school near the Martin Road)

First. I don't know how to divide the Central student body if the East kids
are sent to Central. The Central kids will all want to stay at Central and
not go to Denfeld. They will look at Central a mile away and wonder why they
can't go to the closer school. If we let them stay at Central then Central
will be twice the size of Denfeld. That's not good. We can't easily ship the
East kids past Central and send a bunch of them to Denfeld. How would you
address that problem?

Second. We have too many junior highs in East Duluth. We don't need both
Woodland and Ordean let alone East Jr. It would be a lot more sensible to
have a middle school/junior high in the center of town. I seriously think
that having the kids split up between East and Denfeld would mean that there
would be a lot of friendships between the buildings.

Despite all of the positives for Central these two arguments have brought me
back to East. If you can think of solutions to them I'm still open but I
think you will be hard pressed to think of a solution.

Best regards,

Harry Welty

Db continues

  The boundaries could be worked out. They always have been in the past. Of course, those VERY close to Central should be at Central, but the lines could be worked out with some effort! We have worked out hard things before.
  Woodland middle school is not that far from Central and according to the new 21st Ave. midline (which we don't believe), Woodland is right by that line. One of our children went to Woodland and then up to Central. One was at Washington and then to Central. One was in Central for junior and senior high (He didn't want to go to Woodland because of the way East kids were treating Central kids). This could be helped by mixing in the East kids with some true diviersity. 
   Neither of these are valid arguements in our opinion. The facility and surrounding parking, outdoor space, etc. should be one of the most important guides.

My Reply

I believe you are shrugging off a very difficult problem.

You have obviously been following this for a long time. You remember that
when Washington Junior closed the Washington families absolutely refused to
send their kids to Woodland. Now they don't mind anymore. The school and the
distance haven't changed only attitudes have.

I agree in part with you about the 21st Ave boundary  being arbitrary.
There's no doubt that the student population has moved east but you can draw
a line any direction from the circumference of a circle going through the
center and you will divide the circle in two. I would start drawing the line
dividing Duluth up from Mesaba Ave. not 21st Ave East. I would then continue
it along the Rice Lake Rd. As I said, those kids on the hill will not want
to attend Denfeld. How generous would you be? Would you grandfather them in
at Arlington or Anderson or Trinity or Haines Rd? If you did that you'd have
a much bigger Central population than Denfeld would have.

If we did split Duluth up along Mesaba and Rice Lake Road which of those
kids on the west side would you allow to stay in Central?

The simple fact is that the East kids would take over Central even if most
Central kids stayed. They would be Trojans but they also would remain cake
eaters. But they might also be forced to open themselves up to new kinds of
people. I suspect that your objection is really based more on a desire to
make sure the East people don't get their way than what makes sense for
Duluth's schools. Prove me wrong! Get the student population figures, find a
map, and draw a line for me that fairly divides the student population in
two so that Central High could stay open then present it to the School

Good luck,