Editorial: Give community more time for input on big school changes

Published 8:46 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2019

After the Albert Lea school board’s vote on Monday, a boundary shift for students attending Lakeview and Sibley elementary schools is now official.

The board ultimately voted unanimously on the decision.

While much could be said about the decision itself, today we focus not on the vote but on the fashion in which the vote was made.

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Two board members commented during the meeting that they thought the decision could have warranted more time, and a third said she felt the process felt “rushed.”

We agree.

Though district staff have likely been working on how to resolve this issue for much longer, the public was only brought into the discussion essentially in the last month. The listening session for parents was April 25.

We think the public should have been brought into this discussion much earlier for an issue involving a boundary change.

As some board members noted, doing so could have eased parent anxiety and helped the public feel like they were part of the decision process.

We hope this instance can be a lesson for school administration and the school board about the important role the community plays in decisions.

We also urge parents to continue to be involved in their children’s education. Though not all issues are as large as a boundary change, it’s important for parents to be active at all levels.