BlueStone-like redevelopments the goal for old school buildings

“The board reaffirmed a long-standing policy not to sell vacant buildings to other E-12 institutions a few months ago after much community conversation and input. We’re working with community partners to market excess properties for a variety of uses. Private redevelopment at the sites provides an opportunity to meet market demand for new housing, encourage new business, generate jobs and increase the tax base for the school district, city and county. Private development of a former school site at Woodland Avenue is doing all of that and more. We believe the redevelopment of our properties could do the same to add economic value to our city.”

Duluth School Board Chairwoman Annie Harala in a statement to the News Tribune Opinion page in response to a request for comment

 

Secrecy, silence over offers damages trust

“I … had absolutely no knowledge of any offer from Many Rivers Montessori. I was never given an opportunity to evaluate if any of their offers would make sense for ISD709 students and Duluth taxpayers.

“By keeping offers secret, the administration and the board chair avoid the conversation and silence voter representation. Trust will need to be rebuilt with complete transparency.”

Duluth School Board Member Alanna Oswald in a statement to the News Tribune Opinion page in response to a request for comment

Conversation has to include early learning

“I am looking forward to our next board discussion about ‘surplus’ property to consider the Duluth public schools expanding pre-K programming needs. We know the achievement gap begins before kindergarten, and we are working to reach more families with high-quality early-childhood offerings. Space available for that early investment in our students is an important element of any property discussion.”

Duluth School Board Member and Treasurer Nora Sandstad in a statement to the News Tribune Opinion page in response to a request for comment

 

This has been ‘discussed at length’

“ISD709 policies regarding the disposal of school ... properties were discussed at length earlier this year, and extensive community input was also received and considered. The majority of the School Board voted to continue the policies, and Chair Harala and the district administration have acted in accordance with those policies.”

Duluth School Board Member and Vice Chairman David Kirby in a statement to the News Tribune Opinion page in response to a request for comment