Friday, April 06, 2007
Chamber’s Board Supports Investment in Duluth Public Schools
Our beloved community is experiencing a brief, shining moment of opportunity. This opportunity is made possible through the Long Range Facilities Plan, recently released by the Duluth Public School system. The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce’s leadership strongly endorses and will actively advocate for the implementation of the Duluth Public Schools Long Range Facilities Plan.
The Chamber’s endorsement of the plan includes an affirmation of the three options presented within the plan. Further, the Chamber wishes to convey its full confidence in the Duluth Public Schools Board’s ability to select the best solution from the options presented in the plan. We encourage the School Board to accept this leadership opportunity afforded them through the plan.
Superintendent Keith Dixon plans to present the school board with the recommended option, chosen from the three options detailed, at the May school board meeting. The Chamber’s leadership encourages the school board to accept the recommended option presented to them at that time.
Seizing this opportunity will require decisiveness. This is no time to elongate the process by belaboring over modifying the options contained in the plan. The options presented in the plan are based on data-driven and expert analysis, coupled with community member input generated through over one-hundred meetings with organizations and groups.
Our school buildings are, on average, 54 years old. These school buildings house 1,600 deficiencies related to accessibility, air and water quality, and safety standard compliance. It could be another 54 years before we have another opportunity to provide such a comprehensive solution to our school district’s challenges.
The Chamber’s leadership believes the plan effectively addresses the need to address the district’s aging infrastructure and to improve the educational adequacy of school buildings, while addressing the district’s declining enrollment and its concurrent overcapacity. For the first time in several years, students and their parents would experience the stability that comes from knowing what will occur within the district for years to come. Now is the time for a needed, belated cost effective investment in the future of our public schools.
This is the right plan for our school district. Superintendent Keith Dixon is the ideal leader for this opportunity. Once the plan is implemented, all students in the district will be educated in brand new or like new schools.
The Chamber encourages the school board and superintendent Dixon to proceed with boldness and conviction as they select the best option for our school district and for our community.
posted by David Ross