Jump to Navigation

Platform 2013

  1.   A board that listens to ALL citizens, parents, teachers, and students.

2.  Invest first in students and the people that educate them.

3.  Stop educational funding being used for past building debts. This will:

  • Bring honesty to the citizens that pay the bills;
  • Lower class sizes and expand curriculum;
  • Bring students and families back to the Duluth schools; and
  • Reduce the achievement gap between racial and income groups.

4.   Independent audits for past building projects and Title I moneys.

5.   Equal funding and opportunities between west and east Duluth Schools.

6.  A school board that follows laws and policies and gives leadership in a transparent manner.

7.   A school board that respects and honors all viewpoints and allows and encourages citizen participation.

 

Details: 

The District is currently transferring about $8 million annually from the General Fund (the classrooms) to pay for building debts.  I believe this is illegal (violates Minn. Statue 123B.79).  Duluth schools are unique in Minnesota in paying for bricks and mortar with funds that are supposed to go to the classroom.  This is unsustainable.  This is the major reason for the problems in our district:  our large class sizes, reduction in staff, loss of students (about 1600 since 2007), and the achievement gap between races and income groups.  While there are other reasons on why we have a shortage of funds for the classrooms, this misguided transfer of money can be locally stopped and immediately mitigated if we communicate honestly with our community.

There is still a large lack of trust from the community and parents toward the district administration because they have ignored public opinion. The Think Kids Campaign missed a great oppertunity to reconnect with the city because they did not talk about financial issues and how the District ignored the people in the past.  So we still have continued angst toward the District. This has resulted in record low enrollment in our Duluth public schools, and just this last year, we have lost another 180 enrolled students.  This can only be fixed by leveling with the community and talking about real issues, such as: accountability in money; how we are to pay for our new buildings; and the General Fund budgets.  We can’t afford to delay this conversation. This will not be an easy conversation, but such conversations are imperative if we are going to regain the public and parents’ trust.

The achievement gap must be eliminated.  Currently, Duluth graduates around 35% of our students of color.  This is even worse than the rest of Minnesota, which is the 49th lowest state in graduating African Americans and 50th in graduating Native Americans.   Though this issue is not unique to Duluth, we are among the worst.  We must be more responsive to the community of color, hire teachers of color, reach out to families, and start showing the community of color that we care and that “Graduation is the Expectation”.



Main menu 2

Dr. Radut Consulting