Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

A seat at the table?

Bois Forte member seeks more native input on ISD 2142 board

Marcus White
Posted 11/28/18

REGIONAL – Newly-elected Bois Forte councilman Shane Drift told the St. Louis County School Board on Tuesday that he would like to see Bois Forte band members have a greater voice in district affairs, preferably a voting seat on the district’s school board.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

A seat at the table?

Bois Forte member seeks more native input on ISD 2142 board

Posted

REGIONAL – Newly-elected Bois Forte councilman Shane Drift told the St. Louis County School Board on Tuesday that he would like to see Bois Forte band members have a greater voice in district affairs, preferably a voting seat on the district’s school board.

“It would be nice to have a voice for the students,” Drift said. “They are just a number now, it would be nice for them to have a vote.” Drift, who made it clear that he was speaking as a band member and parent of two North Woods students rather than as a tribal official, had apparently hoped to ask the school board to expand the board’s membership on its own, but school officials quickly informed Drift that state law would not allow for such an action. “If you vote in your district you can’t vote in ours,” Board Member Dan Manick, of Cook, told Drift.

Drift represents Nett Lake on the Bois Forte Tribal Council. Nett Lake already has its own school district, and operates an elementary school in the community, however, it does not have a high school. Instead, the district contracts with the St. Louis County Schools for educational services for grades 7-12. Those students used to be served at the Orr School, but have been shifted to the North Woods School with the closure of the school in Orr.

Minnesota law views contract students in a similar manner as students who open enroll in other districts. Anyone can enroll in any district provided there is room, however, doing so does not grant a vote to those families.

Board member Chet Larson said that if Bois Forte residents wanted voting members on the school board, the tribe would need to seek legislative approval before the board could act.

Larson said, however, even without a vote on the board, parents and the tribal council were still welcome at any of the board meetings as members of the public to voice their concerns.

With the board unable to take action, Drift asked the board whether they would be opposed if he or the tribe pursued a legislative action.

In other business, the board:

Approved a plan to provide free breakfast for voluntary pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students at all district schools. Business Manager Kim Johnson said the district had excess funds in the food service budget. She did say, however, that the district would make families fill out paperwork for the free meals.

Took no action to alter the hockey agreement between Northeast Range and Ely. The board had previously had a spirited debate on the matter, but ultimately decided to make no changes.

Heard from Superintendent Reggie Engebritson on last week’s meeting in Chisholm between staff from several Iron Range school districts on a proposal to create a cooperative agreement. Engebritson said the meeting was a success and that superintendents from across the region were to meet on Thursday this week to begin planning out the framework for the cooperative.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment