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District grapples with traffic, testing and worries about musical rating

CLOQUET SCHOOL BOARD

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The school year is in full swing now, and all the usual activities — studies, sports, homecoming, the fall musical — are underway at Cloquet High School. However, there's been a hiccup with the fall production of "Legally Blonde: The Musical," because of some concerns with the popular musical's more adult content and themes.

CHS Principal Warren Peterson told Cloquet School Board members at Monday's meeting that he feels the school has "a good procedure" moving forward. After meeting with the director, assistant director and activities director, they decided to enlist the help of a parent group to make sure the play will be "PG" rated when it is performed here.

"They're going to make sure the play is community friendly," Peterson said.

Based on the movie, "Legally Blonde: The Musical," follows the transformation of sorority girl and fashion major Elle Woods as she follows her college sweetheart to Harvard Law School. Once there, she tackles stereotypes, snobbery, scandal and realizes her true potential.

The performance is set for mid-November.

In other matters Monday, Cloquet Middle School Principal Tom Brenner reported that the school is working with the county engineer to continue to address issues with traffic moving too fast on Washington Avenue during school hours.

Peterson commented that having the middle-school on the same campus has brought a whole new energy; he can hear the kids playing outside from his office window.

"That outside recess time is an added bonus," Brenner said, agreeing. "They still need that at their age, but they couldn't get it [at the old middle school]."

After discussion, board members also agreed to cover the costs of the ACT test, an estimated $6,000 in additional costs for the district after the state changed its mind about paying for all students to take the college entrance exam. Now the state is only paying for students who qualify economically for free-and-reduced lunch to take the ACT test. Assistant CHS Principal Steve Battaglia said he knew of one student last year who took the test and scored in the 30s.

"He didn't have enough credits to graduate at that point, but taking that test made him realize he was pretty smart [and he got more motivated]," Battaglia said, adding that the student likely wouldn't have paid to take the test.

Community Ed Director Ruth Reeves said they held the first open swim at 7 p.m. Friday and 70 people came to swim and observe. Swimmers under 14 have to come with an adult with the more crowded conditions, she said, adding that it was nice to see all the people using the new pool.

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