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Corridor Coalition asking for School Board 'no' vote

The newly formed Corridor Coalition is working frantically to campaign against the proposed plan that would close five neighborhood schools, cut educational programs and reconfigure boundaries in the Duluth School District.

The newly formed Corridor Coalition is working frantically to campaign against the proposed plan that would close five neighborhood schools, cut educational programs and reconfigure boundaries in the Duluth School District.
"We have to fight this proposal as if our children's education depends on it, because it does," said Ken Loeffler-Kemp, who is heading up the Coalition.
The Coalition is asking the Duluth School Board to vote "no" to the proposal on March 28.
Approximately 100 members of the Coalition, made up of parents from across the district, met on Saturday at Central High School following the Legislative Platform.
The Coalition's purpose is to facilitate communication across the district, provide support to local and neighborhood efforts and develop a positive districtwide campaign to address the district's financial situation.
"It's important to be seen as a positive force in questioning (the proposal) rather than a negative force," said Rosie Loeffler-Kemp.
The Coalition has implemented its purpose by starting a postcard campaign and a petition drive. Every member was given 10 "Vote No March 28" postcards and asked to send them to each school board member as well as Superintendent Julio Almanza. Every person also received a yellow sticker in the shape of a yield sign.
Ken and Gail Wallace attended the meeting. They commended the school board, but criticized Gov. Jesse Ventura.
"They (school board) have to maintain their composure in the face of someone who has lost his," Ken said about the governor. The Wallaces have two children, one at Woodland Middle School and the other at East High School. If the proposed plan goes through, both children will have to leave their schools.
"Ironically, we just bought our 16-year-old a letter jacket, and we don't know what letter to put on it," Gail said.
During the meeting, it was mentioned how the current proposal has caused plenty of hurt, anger and disruption in the lives of parents and their children. Yet it's important to avoid pitting schools against schools, neighborhoods against neighborhoods and corridors against corridors.
The Coalition also held a press conference on Sunday on the main steps of the Central Administration Building.
Parents and students held signs that said "Slow Down 4 Our Kids," "Forced Out, I'll Homeschool" and "Be Cool, Let Me Go To My Own School."
At the press conference, Ken Loeffler-Kemp said the school district projected a $500,000 savings in the first year of the proposed plan to close neighborhood schools. That's one-half of 1 percent of the annual district budget, he said.
"As we are all too familiar, schools don't close -- they simply turn into private and charter schools," Loeffler-Kemp said.
He added that the plan wouldn't save the school district a dime, because all it would take is losing an additional 100 students districtwide, or five students per school or two to three families per school.
Parents are considering their options, such as enrolling their children in private schools, charter schools or home-schooling.
Several parents spoke at the press conference on Sunday, including Moira Olson. She has three children attending Rockridge and Lester Park Elementary, two schools slated to close under the proposed plan.
"You may balance the budget, but you'll ruin the community," she said.
NEWS TO USE
The last of three public meetings for the West Corridor on the proposed scenario for the school district's long-range plan will be held at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Denfeld Auditorium. Administration and school board members will present the proposed plan to the public, as well as take comments. Public comments are limited to three minutes per person so that everyone has a chance to speak. Comments will be recorded and summarized for school board consideration at the Committee of the Whole meeting on March 19.

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