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If the politicians don't have the sense or guts to sit down and realign the boundaries of all of the school districts in Northeastern Minnesota, the students and parents will continue to do so, with their feet, for the sake of a better education. Anyone want to bet against this? How about the cost of prolonging reality?
Why on earth we have such a geographically impossible district is beyond me! The size of the district is insane? We need to get out of this situation now! Our kids will be going to Ely or Virginia but we will be stuck with Cotton, Albrook and Cherry's bill. This has got to have a legal, ASAP resolution, divorce them!
Does anyone think some Southerners might be posting on this site?
If memory serves me correctly Tower was an independent school district not long ago, but had to fold. They had options to combine with Ely, Virginia, or (what would become) ISD 2142. Tower chose 2142.
The "southerners" mentioned in this thread were part of 2142 long before Tower voluntarily incorporated itself into 2142.
Tower is a great town, has a terrific school, and has great teachers and students so I'm not dissing Tower, only pointing out some historical facts that some might find pertinent to this discussion.
Do you think that just maybe there are some people in the north that are for the approved plan and don’t say so because of the local Nazis? Why would the people from the south even read this, they have papers that actually report news. OMG. Get real. If you care to follow the Eastern Bloc party line enjoy yourselves, everyone else has moved on now. I know it is just unbelievable to you, but many of us in the north have. “Having eye shades on to protect from the light is fine; at least until your head runs into the brick wall of reality”
Tower-Soudan and Babbitt-Embarrass made decisions to join the County School system because it made sense at the time. Embarrass was part of the county system before Alvin B. Ness became Superintendent and didn't want to invest in the Embarrass school, chosing instead to herd students to Babbitt. The best solution to this mess would be for Babbitt, Ely, Tower-Soudan, Cook and Orr (and possibly International Falls) to form a new district. Each has similarities in that a community surrounds the school, the economies are similiar and the geographical proximities offer potentials for block scheduling thereby having teachers residing in the general community in which they teach and not having to bus kids all over the place.
OrrCountry, I admire that you are looking to solve small school problems in this area and truly believe your heart is in the right place. I don’t believe your interests are vested in personal gain as others in the area are. I worry they don’t have yours or Orr’s best interests at heart as you do and will turn on you in a heartbeat. Your intelligence shows and you sincerely are trying ideas to see if they will work. I do not want to criticize your efforts but here are some issues to ponder regarding a northern district.
1.Any of us has control of the future educational course of this area at this point. The 2142 school board does as a result of the 52% to 48% approved vote.
2.An assumption that Ely, which appears to have an interest in quality education with an adequate taxation level, would have an interest in downgrading its system to the previous 2142 taxation level which is what I think is being proposed. The Ely school board appears to have suggested to Tower to take a hike after the referendum passed, if you want to send your students here do so. It isn’t a problem for us. Ely is interested in remaining autonomous at this point.
3.An assumption that Babbitt-Embarrass would be interested in downgrading the improved level of education that will result from the approved vote back down to an inadequate level.
4.We are all happy with a sub par education for our children to keep our taxes low.
5.Babbitt-Embarrass which passed the vote roughly 70% Yes, 30% No would be interested in joining such an under funded district and subsidize it as well with the taconite tax funds. What is the point of creating an under funded district which I believe Babbitt-Embarrass has no interest in being part of. The vote on this has spoken.
6.Politically, would our area legislators get involved in this in an election year when they will alienate roughly ½ of the voters in the area either way? Their gubernatorial vote is at stake.
7.A workable solution could be made. Orr hopes to be the center of a super school between Cook, Orr and I’Falls. Cook hopes to be the center of a super school between Orr, Cook & Tower. Tower hopes to be the center of a super school between Cook, Tower, Babbitt-Embarrass and Ely. When this new district would be made who gets the shaft? Financing is inadequate for these schools, period, someone in this new district will have to close and we are right back to the same situation as ISD 2142. So here we go again, everyone with their boxing gloves on deciding who is to close? How about this current desire: we maintain these schools at the current sub par level to subsidize our communities. That should do the trick. Selling our children’s future and education out for questionable interests in some cases, hmmm.
8.The personal attacks inflicted upon many by the “Tower Group” has made any discussion likely impossible at this point. There has been too much animosity generated. Sadly, they destroyed potential opportunity for Cook and Orr because of this.
Keep thinking Orrcountry, really liked your post regarding the changes needed for rural school funding. Perhaps as an area we need to work together to change the seasonal rec funding so it stays in this area rather than funding Vikings and Twins stadiums.
Greenwood needs to join the Virginia school district. It will happen now or later, but it will happen. We may end up paying a lot for other schools, but most of our kids will go to Virginia in the future.
EaglesLair: This is a very difficult situation to be sure. I don't purport to have all the answers, but you are correct, I am open minded about exploring all possible alternatives. My research has caused me to conclude that the state funding formula needs to be re-visited. I have established this position since last June. I forwarded a post to all, to look at the history of the so-called Minnesota Miracle of Wendy Anderson and the changes to it over the years. I cannot force others to read that synopsis of the funding formula and make themselves more knowledgeable...I can only recommend posters consider it.
The other element of education funding in our area is, as you stated, the seasonal-recreation property owners (Ventura, when Governor, endorsed and signed changes to the school funding formula that allows them to be exempt from property taxes being applied to our schools operations). Also, the Sierra Club and their umbrella of environmental activists, have prevailed in getting more and more land into the hands of any unit of government they can. This takes land off the tax rolls. There is a provision whereby units of government pay what is called "payments-in-lieu-of-taxes" and school trust aid. But, to my knowledge, this provision has not been re-visited to reflect the current value of the property, were it to be in private ownership, and any adjustments upward to contributions to our rural schools in this area.
In summary, we need more students and families in our area to support our schools. Just in the Orr area alone, the DNR has awarded 19 mineral exploration drilling leases to Duluth Metals. Drill core samples, from the late 1980's have revealed that potential precious metals mining could occur in our area. Guess what? You can bet your entire estate and pension that the Sierra Club, and some of the people supporting our current movement to save schools in Tower-Soudan, Cook and Orr, will fight that project and it's possible 300-400 full-time working family jobs, tooth and nail. "Green-only" jobs are not the secret to our survival up here. Our economy has been, and will always be, natural resource-based. Ignoring that will NOT be a recipe for economic success, nor will it put little people in our community schools.
Thank you for your post, EaglesLair. I may not be willing to accept many of your premises in your post, but they are worthy of consideration.
I am very impressed by the positive note and productive discussion ideas that are being submitted to this website of late. There is so much negativity in other locations that it's nice to see people trying to work towards a positive solution without redoing all the work that has already been done.
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