Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

Published 8:50 pm Friday, April 19, 2024

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To the people who help make area proms possible.

We’re in the middle of prom season, and we wanted to take a quick minute to recognize all those who go above and beyond to help make prom a memorable experience for the youth in the area.

Whether you’re organizing, decorating, fixing hair, preparing flowers, help with a dress or tuxedo, or anything in between, it all takes work.

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Because of your hard work, these youth will look back on prom with fond thoughts and memories.

To youth in the area, have a great time, and please always make wise choices.

To the unsettled time right now within the Albert Lea school district.

As Albert Lea Area Schools prepares to cut over $1 million from its budget for the coming year, there is an unsettled feeling in the district.

This week the school board voted to discontinue seven positions to adjust for declining enrollment, and more is to come at the upcoming school board meeting in May.

While we think it is necessary to make changes because of decreased enrollment, we know it is a stressful time for many.

We ask those who are offering recommendations and those who will ultimately have the final say to keep students at the center of all decisions and to lessen the impact that they may feel with these choices.

It is also important to keep in mind the staff. When positions are cut, it is often easy to reassign job duties to people who are still employed, adding on responsibilities to people who may already be feeling squeezed by efforts to work more efficiently with less. The district must be careful not to overburden hardworking existing employees and force them to prematurely leave their positions.

Lastly, we hope the district looks further at the reasons why it is seeing declining enrollment. While we know some of the decrease is because people aren’t having as many children as they used to, we also know that the district is losing students to neighboring districts. This is clear as other area private schools are seeing continued growth. Can the district explore more of why this is happening and make efforts to correct any concerns that may surface?

The Albert Lea school district has much to offer its students, and it’s unfortunate that times like these have to distract from that.

To creative ways to recruit more employees.

We credit the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office for utilizing a new grant opportunity to recruit people for open positions within the department.

The grant, from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Justice Programs, includes recruiting and training two people looking to transition their careers into law enforcement.

Eligible candidates must have previously earned two- or four-year degrees in something other than law enforcement.

The grant — $50,000 for each candidate — will cover tuition, housing, mileage, wages and benefits for two candidates. Candidates will go through a shortened five-month program through Alexandria Technical and Community College.

Though the grants would not cover all costs for both candidates, they would cover a notable amount, leaving the county with about $20,000 for each candidate after the grant, which has already been budgeted for.

We hope people will take advantage of this unique opportunity to become a law enforcement officer and fill some of the open positions within the Sheriff’s Office. The grant has the opportunity to help put more deputies out on the streets to help residents in the county.