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Supporting schools

We are being offered a brief but shining moment of opportunity within our beloved community -- an opportunity made possible as a result of the Duluth Public Schools' recently released Long Range Facilities Plan. The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerc...

We are being offered a brief but shining moment of opportunity within our beloved community -- an opportunity made possible as a result of the Duluth Public Schools' recently released Long Range Facilities Plan. The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce's leadership strongly endorses this plan and will actively advocate for its implementation.

The Chamber's endorsement includes an affirmation of the three options presented within the plan. Further, the Chamber wishes to convey its full confidence in the Duluth Public Schools Board's ability to select the best solution from these options. We encourage the School Board to accept this leadership opportunity.

Superintendent Keith Dixon is planning to have the recommended option presented to the school board for a first reading in May. The Chamber's leadership urges the school board to accept the recommended option presented to them at that time.

Seizing this opportunity will require decisiveness: this is no time for elongated and belabored modifying of the available options. They are based on data-driven, expert analysis, coupled with community members' input generated in more than 100 meetings with organizations and groups.

Our school buildings are, on average, 54 years old. These school buildings house 1,600 deficiencies related to accessibility, air and water quality, and safety standard compliance.

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It could be another 54 years before we have a second opportunity to provide such a comprehensive solution to our school district's challenges.

The Chamber's leadership believes the plan effectively addresses the problems presented by the district's aging infrastructure, improves the educational adequacy of school buildings and simultaneously addresses the district's declining enrollment and concurrent overcapacity.

Moreover, for the first time in several years, students and their parents will experience the stability that comes from knowing what will occur within the district for years to come.

This is the right plan for our school district, the right time to implement it, and without question, Superintendent Keith Dixon is the ideal individual to lead the charge. Once the plan becomes a reality, all students in the district will be educated in brand-new or like-new schools.

The Chamber encourages the school board and superintendent Dixon to proceed with boldness and conviction as they select the best option for our school district and for our community.

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