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Let’s hear it for the Wrendogs!

Although some area residents would disagree (see Tony Sheda’s letter on this page) it seems that the move for consolidation between the Wrenshall and Carlton School Districts is gaining support.

With 249 signatures on the “Better Together” petition that restarted the consolidation process, there’s no doubt that a number of residents support the idea. And, if we take the two school superintendents at their word, members of the two school boards are more in favor of the idea than they were last year. That’s when the movement officially died, after the Wrenshall board said it supported the idea after all — as long as the school was a K-12 located in Wrenshall — and Carlton board members couldn’t come to an agreement.

Reading between the lines of last week’s Pine Journal story by Jeff Papas, there was a certain sense of déjà vu, as both superintendents talked about one-school sites, each in their own communities. Hmmm.

Certainly, there will be greater efficiencies at one site. However, there’s no arguing that a two-site solution as proposed in the petition — with Wrenshall and South Terrace as the two sites — also offers a number of positives.

No. 1, it’s a compromise solution that more members of both communities will be able to support without worrying about the loss of community that comes when a school goes away. It could also be accomplished a lot faster than building new.

2. There will still be efficiencies. One bus system. One superintendent, one business manager, one athletic director and other reductions at the district level. One school board. One mascot (and it doesn’t have to be a Wrendog).

3. Remodeling two schools is cheaper than building one new one. And there’s grant money available from the state for 75 percent of costs, up to $10 million for remodeling and $20 million for building new, provided the school boards and districts can make up their minds before the deadline.

4. The combined school district should be able to offer more extracurricular activities — from sports to arts to STEM activities and other academic competition — and successfully fill those, certainly an issue with both schools and certain athletic teams over the past few years.

That’s our list. We hope Wrenshall and Carlton residents will start compiling lists of their own, for or against, and take them to the public meetings next Monday in Carlton and Tuesday in Wrenshall.

If you can’t attend, send a letter or make a phone call. Share your thoughts. Respect others. Let your elected officials know what you think. Participate.

~Jana Peterson

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