"It is now time for ... Harry Welty,
... to... explain to the public
how the loss of students does not negatively affect School District finances."
OK. Here goes:
Our taxes did not rise and our
children have not been hurt as a result of Edison's arrival. There are
three new public schools in Duluth run by Edison. This means increased
parental choice, something which some current school board members seem
intent on eliminating by closing the magnet schools. On the other
hand, the DFT has lost several dozen teachers and the $500 annual union
dues they would otherwise send away to St. Paul and Washington DC. Of
course, the DFT is free to try and organize Edison's teachers to recoup
Our 709 teachers are paid the same
whether Edison is here or not and we have just as many programs as we
had before Edison arrived.
Edison has meant one change, however.
ISD 709 has fewer students to pay for the same number of buildings, but
getting the Edison students back would not give the District a free
ride. If we got the Edison students back we would also get back the
expenses for teaching them. In fact, because Edison seems to do a better
job of containing their expenses than 709 does, getting the Edison
students back could pose financial problems for us.
Declining enrollment is not a new
phenomenon. Declining enrollments made closing a high school a
good idea ten years ago when it was first rejected. Its an even better
idea now. Edison plays no part in this as the Edison students return to
ISD 709 after eighth or ninth grade.
In fact, well before Edison arrived we
started putting 5th and 6th graders into middle schools, and 7th and 8th
and 9th graders into our high schools. Its worth keeping in mind
that Edison's 875 enrollment is only about half of the enrollment
decline we've seen since their arrival.
I like Jim. We taught across from each
other back in 1987 at Morgan Park. He was my daughter's math teacher at
Woodland a few years later. But Jim is a vice president of the Duluth
Federation of Teachers. Its his duty to criticize Edison.