Our view: School district flexes its flexibility
The Duluth school district didn't just scale back its plans for an eastern high school at Ordean this week. And it didn't only abandon the unpopular prospect of using eminent domain to snatch property from reluctant homeowners for an expanding sc...
The Duluth school district didn't just scale back its plans for an eastern high school at Ordean this week. And it didn't only abandon the unpopular prospect of using eminent domain to snatch property from reluctant homeowners for an expanding school campus.
With a new and dramatically scaled-back set of schematic designs, the district demonstrated a willingness to listen to community concerns, to be open-minded and to be flexible, traits it hasn't exhibited often enough in the months since adopting a long-range facilities plan. They're traits the News Tribune editorial page has argued for on at least two occasions, including in the Dec. 10 editorial, "Rethink Ordean stadium."
The district's revisions came in response to neighbors of the now-Ordean Middle School who quickly organized over the past couple of weeks, protested, and raised red flags over the portion of the red plan that most affects them. The new designs include fewer parking spaces (350 instead of 600), fewer athletic fields (two instead of three), and the elimination of a controversial access road to 36th Avenue East.
"They have addressed several of our concerns," neighbor Tom Kasper told the News Tribune for a story that appeared in Tuesday's paper. "It's encouraging that we're finally talking through some of this stuff."
Encouraging, indeed, even if some neighbors remain unhappy -- something that can be expected after any attempt to compromise.
This week's good, old-fashioned give-and-take was just what is needed as $293 million worth of details are determined and decisions are made during the red plan's implementation.
Duluthians are never shy about raising questions and concerns. The school district has shown it's willing to listen -- and to be flexible in accomplishing what remains its No. 1 objective: providing quality education.