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Amy Starzecki spent a morning this spring visiting with the principal of Piedmont Elementary. The Duluth schools assistant superintendent looked out the window, noticing kids getting dropped off 20 minutes after the day had begun. She was surprised, she said, but the principal told her it was typical. Starzecki later noticed the same thing happening at other elementary schools. "Kids need to be in school all day, every day," she said. "Missing even an hour in the morning can have a huge impact."
“‘I can’t read.’” That admission — by a Denfeld High School student who wasn’t going to class because he didn’t have the reading skills to do the work — is one reason why he ended up in a county truancy program this year. The student was going to school but not entering the classroom, said Amy Lukasavitz, an assistant St. Louis County attorney who is part of the county’s Student Attendance Review Board.
A threatening email received by the Duluth school district this morning has led to an increased police presence at Denfeld High School. District spokeswoman Katie Kaufman said the email contained several threatening comments toward Denfeld. The Duluth Police Department has determined the threats were not credible. However, families were notified that there would be more police present at the school as a precautionary measure. Police are working to identify the source of the email, Kaufman said.
The Duluth School Board voted Tuesday night to reject the $1.2 million bid to replace the controversial tire mulch on district playgrounds, and instead decided to rebid the project in hopes of a cheaper price tag. The board also voted against moving forward with a process that would analyze school boundaries to address enrollment imbalances.
The Duluth school district doesn't have the money to replace rubber playground mulch and renovate the former Rockridge Elementary school this year. That could mean borrowing up to $4.3 million to ensure both unbudgeted projects are completed. That amount would pay for Rockridge and a large chunk of planned improvements to district buildings, including projects at Historic Old Central High School and Myers-Wilkins Elementary. With those costs taken care of, money meant for this year's capital improvements could pay for the mulch project.
Many Rivers Montessori is expected to have a new home in 2018, opening in the former Cobb Elementary School building in Duluth's Woodland neighborhood. A purchase agreement has been signed with The Hills Youth and Family Services, which owns the building and rents it to the Duluth school district for the education of its clients. Those students are moving elsewhere.
Replacing the rubber mulch used on 10 playgrounds may cost the Duluth school district at least $1.2 million and take three years to complete. The Duluth School Board earlier this year voted to replace the controversial material with wood chips, but wanted to see bids before settling on a timeline. The replacement estimate then was $630,000. But the lowest bid, district staff said at a Monday meeting, was $1.2 million, with the bid calling for four elementaries to be done this summer, four next year and the two middle schools in the third year.
Another housing developer has backed away from purchasing the former Nettleton Elementary School from the Duluth school district. Minneapolis-based United Properties has opted against developing the property, said Duluth schools superintendent Bill Gronseth, noting the decision had to do with "timelines." "Once they looked (further) into the building and what they'd like to do with the site," he said, "I think it just didn't work out."
A bronze homage to a roving Lakeside neighborhood cat is the goal of a 5K run to be held May 20, in the cat's memory.
The lawsuit brought against the University of Minnesota Duluth by 13 alumni over a teacher licensure issue has resulted in a jury trial expected to begin Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court. The former students, who graduated from UMD in December of 2014, have alleged fraud and misrepresentation by UMD in connection with compliance problems within the College of Education and Human Service Professions' integrated elementary and special education (IESE) program.