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Duluth Parents Weigh in on Proposed Boundary Changes

Ryan Juntti
Updated: January 23, 2020 12:56 AM

Concerned parents packed East High School on Wednesday night. They were asked to provide written feedback on three scenarios presented that would change the district's boundary lines.

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The scenarios were designed by consultant firm Cooperative Strategies with input from community members, parents, students, and staff.

The district says the three scenarios would address the issue of overcrowding, and an imbalance between the middle and high schools, but parents are concerned about the impact those scenarios would have.  

It was an emotional topic for many. Courtney Shaw, who lives in Gnesen Township, says her son already has to ride the bus for at least 45 minutes. She is worried how adding onto that commute will impact his future.

"I feel that that would take from away his academics, time at home, eventually his sports, if I want him to be well rounded, and he may have to make a decision at some point to give up sports to keep his academics, and that's just not something I think he should have to do," said Shaw.

At one point during the meeting, a woman in attendance asked everyone in the audience to stand who doesn't want scenario one or three.

"To my family in particular, scenarios one and three will basically drive my children past the schools that are minutes away for an unknown time," said Scott Asperheim, who lives in the Woodland neighborhood.

Superintendent Bill Gronseth says changing the boundaries is necessary to balance enrollment within the district.

"Some of our schools have more students than they have capacity for, and that is one element of this. We also have programs that are growing that we need to decide what we're going to do with," said Gronseth.

Gronseth insists the scenarios were all designed by the community and with them in mind.

"It's really important to the school district that anything that we recommend reflects what the community wants to have happen. That is why the process has been designed by the community," said Gronseth.

The feedback gathered from Wednesday's meeting, and one Thursday at 6:00 at Denfeld High School, will be given to the Duluth School Board. Public meetings are expected to follow to help create a final scenario. Gronseth says the final scenario will likely be a mix of the three, and be designed in late February or early March.

He adds that there could be small changes this coming year, but that it will likely take longer for the full changes to take effect.  

The public is also able to provide feedback until February 3 via a survey.

More information about the specific scenarios is available here

Credits

Ryan Juntti

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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