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.