Guest column: Referendum brings back programs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 29, 2003

At the March 17 school board meeting, the board voted to restore and add programs for the 2003-2004 school year, as TEAM (Together Education Achieves More) had promised. These additions and restorations came about because of the residents of District 241 passing the referendum last November.

Class sizes were reduced in core program areas. Classes in math, social studies, English, and reading were restored or expanded. Class sizes in grades 4-6 were reduced to an average of 23.3 to 27 per classroom. At Southwest Middle School, elective/enrichment classes were restored, class sizes were reduced and teachers were not cut as much as enrollment decline dictated. Elective and enrichment classes were restored at the high school. There were also increases in classes for physical education, agricultural science, family and consumer science, industrial technology and business education. The busing schedule is restored to the one-mile rule for grades 1-6 at a cost of $40,000. Cross country was restored at a cost of $12,000 and the dance team was restored at a cost of $4,000. Finally, all-day, everyday kindergarten was added.

There was an addition of 10.1 full-time teacher equivalents with all of these additions and restorations. The school district has held true to its promises from last November’s referendum. The school board and administration has also been very active communicating information and issues to the community. This truly is building a very strong school district for our community.

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With all of these additions and reinstatements, it is important to reiterate that the legislature has some major funding issues to deal with. As a community, we must be involved and let our legislators know the importance of adequate funding for our school district. If the state chooses not to increase funding to keep up with inflation, programs could again be negatively impacted. To make your voices heard, contact Dan Dorman at his e-mail address and Dan Sparks at his e-mail address

The Albert Lea community can be proud of what we have been able to accomplish for our students’ future. We have shown we value education and our children. To keep heading in this positive direction, we must be active and involved in the process. Find a committee or program you like and become part of the process today.

For more information or for questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us or the school district. You can reach TEAM at these e-mail addresses:

Dennis Dieser:

Terri Wichman:

Becky Johnson:

Tom Ehrhardt:

Dave Nolander: