Duluth School District Moving Forward in 2013

Posted at: 01/22/2013 10:12 PM

In his speech, Superintendent Bill Gronseth said he understands those who opposed the school district's recent construction project.

“There are times that I too wish we had the ability to go back and do things in a way that more people could have accepted,” Gronseth said.

But he said it's time for the community to look forward.

“However, the schools are nearly done and there's no going back. All but two of the schools are open and serving our children,” Gronseth said.

He said those schools, Congdon Park Elementary and Myers-Wilkins Elementary, are expected to open in September. And Gronseth touted what the Red Plan has accomplished so far.

He says operating fewer schools is saving money and energy rebates are returning. Property sales have been troublesome as the old Central High School remains unsold, but Gronseth highlighted a few recent sales of smaller properties.

Several board members supported Gronseth's statements, but Board Member Art Johnston was still concerned about paying for the construction.

“The fatally flawed financing that lead to the Red Plan and that we're still in the midst of, that is impacting us. And the savings are not paying for the amount that's being pulled out,” Johnston said.

But Board Member Judy Seliga Punyko said districts across the state are facing deficits because of funding cuts.

“The problems with our funding really come down to the state and federal funding,” she said. “Everyone is going through the same thing with a lack of funding.”

Some concerns about the Red Plan remain even as it draws to a close, but the superintendent said he is looking to the district's future.

The district's Think Kids initiative is one way he wants to move forward. Several meetings have been held to collect community input, but the meetings will continue into February.

Click here to find a list of the scheduled meetings at Duluth schools and more information on the Think Kids initiative.