To the Aitkin School Board
I am a resident of Aitkin, former teacher at Rippleside, taxpayer and parent of three future Gobblers. I am concerned about recent cuts to staff at Rippleside: three teaching positions and the art specialist teaching position.
Are these cuts all due to loss of enrollment, general budget cuts, or both? If the district needs to cut beyond the three general teaching positions, and a priority is to look at how many students are impacted, it doesn’t make sense to cut the art specialist position. Every student who goes through the district is part of the elementary art program. Is the district planning to continue cutting specialist positions?
Do these cuts put students first? Teachers? Education? The community needs to prioritize values. By cutting the art specialist position, the district is turning “art” into a socioeconomic opportunity. All students deserve to learn from a trained art professional. There is immense added pressure on teachers: no art curriculum, specialized subject area to prep and shared supplies among every classroom.
If enrollment is declining steadily, where will the district secure funding in the future? Will the district focus on increasing enrollment, passing a referendum, looking for state/federal funding, or cutting direct student-contact teaching positions? The school board must agree to put the students first when making decisions.
Please, while there is still time, walk through the halls of Rippleside and observe the outstanding work our teachers are doing for the students in our community. We could all benefit from an art class or two.
Lucy Swanson, Aitkin
Four openings on MLEC board
After the cold weather snap (polar vortex) in the month of February we have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to reliable electricity. The lights stayed on.
Unfortunately, the people living in the state of Texas were not so lucky. I probably should not say the word lucky because it is not luck that kept our electricity on but a lot of hard work and dedication by Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative employees and the partnership with Great River Energy.
As we found out by watching Texans on TV, reliable and affordable electricity is the backbone of our existence.
We can all talk about the frozen wind turbines and ask about how reliable electricity is without being produced using coal. But, changes are coming to the future production of electricity. As a member of the Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative, I am asking you to become involved. We must always have good, honest, knowledgeable people in charge on the Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative Board. I serve with honest, knowledgeable people, making decisions about the future of our electricity. There are four director openings on the Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative Board of Directors. All are deserving to be re-elected. Among the openings is District 2, of which I serve as a director. I am asking for you to keep me on the board by voting for me one of three ways: through a mail ballot, online or in person on May 6 at the annual meeting which is being held starting at 4:30 p.m. at the Mille Lacs Grand Casino.
Please watch for more information in your monthly Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative newsletter. It is an honor to serve you by being a director on the Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative Board.
Carol Pundt, director District 2 Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative