Subj: Concerns about new school boundaries
Date: 2/18/02 6:36:43 PM Pacific Standard Time

Dear Members of the Duluth School Board,

As a parent of a Congdon Park Elementary School 5th grader, I read
with interest the article about the proposed new school district
boundary that was published in the Duluth News Tribune on February 15,
2002 (with corrections on Feb. 16). We live on Vermilion Road in the
two block stretch between east Arrowhead Road and St. Marie Street, a
three block walk from East High School and roughly 3/4 of a mile from
both Ordean and Woodland Middle Schools. Under the new boundary plan, we will now be part of the Central High School district, and my
daughter will eventually go to school several miles away when the
closest high school is 3 blocks away. I question the logic of this

First of all, let me state unequivocably that my concern is NOT an East
High vs. Central High one. I am a product of the Duluth school system
myself, graduating from Duluth Central (valedictorian, 1977) after
attending Birchwood Elementary and Washington Junior High schools. I
loved attending Central and received a wonderful education there. I
have no doubt that my daughter would receive the same. However, one of the reasons we bought the home we did was that it was close to several schools (Congdon, Woodland, Ordean, and UMD); we wanted a neighborhood where our daughter could participate in many activites during and after school, where she would not have to be car-dependent, where she would go through all levels of school with her friends, and where the schools were a central part of the neighborhood's fabric. 

Up until now this has happily been the case for her. The new
boundaries will change all that, however. For some reason (none has
been published), our little neighborhood has been carved out of the
East High School district despite it's closeness to the school.
Additionally, it is my understanding that only two of the current
Congdon Park Elementary School fifth graders will not move with the
rest of their classmates to middle school. My daughter is one of them
along with a neighbor girl that lives around the corner from us. At a
time when everything is changing in their lives, it seems important
that they have the consistent support of their friends rather than the
feeling of being arbitrarily singled out from the rest of their class.
Strong social connections translate to happy students able to
concentrate on school work rather than emotional concerns. 

I hope you will see fit to take another look at the proposed school
district boundaries considering all the ramifications of this decision.
Drive through our neighborhood to see where we're located, considering
the locations of East and Central High schools. I'm sure you'll
understand the concerns expressed. Thank you.