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Lake Superior School District Faces Budget Reduction for the Coming Year

Lake Superior School Board Meeting; May, 9, 2023

A number of teachers and parents attend­ed the Lake Superior School Board meet­ing on May 9th over concern about the plan to reduce the number of 4th grade classes starting this coming Fall. The plea that was heard from many was to not cut the num­ber of 4th grade sections which will lead to an increase in class size. According to research that has been done over the last 30 years on how to optimize the school experi­ence for K – 12 students, smaller class size tops the list of ways to maximize classroom environments and improve learning out­comes for students.

Perhaps this explains why it is common for expensive, elite, private prep-schools to advertise that their class sizes are kept between 12 to 18 students. Unfortunately, public schools don’t often have that luxury when it comes to student- teacher ratios.

One of the things that residents of Lake County have become familiar with in the last year is the fact that budget shortfalls have had an impact on everything from area infrastructure projects to the availabil­ity of many consumer goods. School dis­tricts across the state are not immune to this reality and so operating budgets are having to be trimmed. This means that the Lake Superior School District will be looking at a reduction of $375,000 for the 2024 fiscal year and a possible $500,000 reduction in 2025. In light of this, the Board voted 4 to 2 to cut one 4th grade section for the coming school year. If the State Legislature does not increase funding for schools in Min­nesota, staff reductions and increased class sizes may become the norm. If that is the case, it will have a negative ripple effect across the districts. Teaching staff and ad­ministrators will do their best to minimize the negative impacts, but in the United States, when it comes to funding for pub­lic education, we work from an approach that often looks more like a scarcity model than a model that reflects that we are the wealthiest nation on the planet. But where to find the needed money? Maybe reduc­ing annual funding of the military industrial complex is a place to start.

Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrowminded­ness…Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime”. Perhaps with this idea in mind, the Board voted to approve a proposal for a trip to Quebec and Montreal for the French class in June of 2024. This promises to be a great learning experience. Students will be working throughout the coming term to raise funds for this trip.

After 19 years of dedicated work with the Lake Superior School District, William Kelley Principal Joe Nicklay will be retir­ing at the end of the school year. Dan John­son will be filling the position henceforth.

District staff will be involved in training for the Bridges and Carnegie math curric­ulums over the summer and, a reminder to all, Graduation will be held on Friday, June 2nd at 5:00 p.m. for William Kelley students and at 7:30 p.m. for Two Harbors students.

Rick Evans
Rick Evans
My wife, Marsha Kinzer (a proud DEHS Greyhound, class of ‘77) introduced me to the North Shore on vacation in 2012. It became our regular escape when the stress of our careers in education became overwhelming, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the breathtaking scenery, the nice people, and “salad” containing Jell-o and marshmallows. So you can either blame or thank my loving wife for my being here, because when we needed to choose a retirement hometown, Marsha advocated hard for her beloved Duluth, and here we are, six months later. Yes, this will be my first northern Minnesota winter. Yes, I welcome thoughts and prayers. Government, public policy, and social justice weighed heavily in the curriculums I taught at the high school level over a thirty-eight year career. In addition, we were a laboratory school focused on critical thinking in conjunction with technical and scientific writing. So when I found myself adrift on the great ocean of retirement and spied a raft, I jumped at the chance to take up what I’d left behind…minus the bad teachers’ lounge coffee. My position at the NSJ allows me to combine my passions for government and writing, and it’s helping me to feel less out of touch in new surroundings. When I’m not being “Cubby” (Marsha’s favorite new nickname for this green reporter) I enjoy pointing at eagles and saying, “Look, honey. There’s an eagle.” I’ve had an active side hustle as a professional musician for almost as many years as Charlie Parr. As a guitarist/singer/songwriter, I graced the stages of clubs and festivals around southern Wisconsin, including an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion. Should I even mention A Prairie Home Companion, or am I the only one here old enough to remember what that is? Look! An eagle!
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