Board positions itself for possible referendumCloquet Schools Superintendent Ken Scarbrough laid out a tentative timetable Monday night for the eventual public debate that may result in a referendum to help fix the district’s facilities issues.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
Cloquet Schools Superintendent Ken Scarbrough laid out a tentative timetable Monday night for the eventual public debate that may result in a referendum to help fix the district’s facilities issues.
Speaking prior to Monday night’s meeting of the Cloquet School Board, Scarbrough said he’d like to see plenty of public input to help kick off that process.
“We’d like to have four or five meetings so we can explain to the public what our needs are and get their viewpoints,” Scarbrough said. “We want input from the public and input from our staff so we can get a total picture of what we need to do.
“The idea is to have something to the board in April and they can decide if it’s project-worthy,” Scarbrough added. “I’m excited to move forward. I think we have a chance to do something exciting for our kids.”
A preliminary facilities study released to board members earlier this summer presented a range of options in dealing with facilities issues, which primarily affect the Cloquet Middle School but are spread out across all district buildings.
“The options range from renovation and repair, to a capital project like building a new middle school,” Scarbrough said. “Our space issues at the elementary schools might also be addressed.”
Scarbrough said he hopes to have a series of recommendations ready for the board by April for review and comment, at which point the board might choose one. The recommendation would then go to the state of Minnesota for its review, which would take several months.
“Then we’d go back to the public, and hopefully have an election in December ,” Scarbrough said.
That would mean two school elections in the space of a month, as board members are up for re-election in November 2014 as well.
In other news, the board voted to approve a $14,000 budget to help fund the after-school program for Cloquet American Indian Education.
That program had been funded by a “Success for the Future” grant that the district lost earlier this year.
“That was a five-year funding stream that got cut and we hated to lose it,” local Indian Education Coordinator Gerard Sordelet said. “We used it for academic support and we hope to keep that program going.”
Administration asked Indian Education Director Tara Graves to prepare a replacement budget, which was approved at the meeting. Only about one-third of the cost will come from general funds while $2,500 will come from the Cloquet Educational Foundation and $7,000 from a Johnson/O’Malley federal grant.
The program will provide after-school services one day a week.
The board also rescheduled its first November meeting from Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day and a holiday, to Thursday, Nov.14.