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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Letter to the Editor: Public input needed on long-range planning in Crookston School District

  • School board faced with important decisions.
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  • There continues to be excitement regarding the Crookston Public Schools - our students continue to excel, weather willing our spring extra-curricular activities will soon begin, and our community continues to embrace the importance of doing what’s best to educate our young people.  In Crookston, we are trying to focus on how to achieve the best outcomes for students, and we are planning slowly and carefully so that we can give taxpayers the best value for their investments.
        As many of you are now aware, we have begun a long-range planning process to ensure our facilities will provide maximum educational opportunities and a safe learning environment.  Long-range planning is needed in school districts for a number of reasons:
        • Mechanical equipment grows old and becomes inefficient. For awhile, a district can maintain older equipment, but funding for this maintenance comes from the same pot of money we use for the classrooms.  Much like our homes or any business, eventually investments need to be made in modernizing schools.
        • Facilities need to evolve. Teachers teach differently now, and providing the right kind of building can only help improve educational achievement. For example, even ten years ago, it would have been impossible to predict the importance and scope of new technology in the classroom.
        • New challenges emerge. When today’s twelfth-graders started kindergarten, building security and energy efficiency were a second thought – today, they are both critical issues in the operations of our schools.
        On January 28th, the school board selected Johnson Controls as our partners to lead us through a three-phase process to develop a long-range plan and improve our facilities.  The first step of this process has begun with the Values Definition workshops. These workshops evaluated how our facilities and infrastructure could better support our district and stakeholders, both today and in the future.  Six different sessions included administration, teachers, students, parents, school board and members of our community.  Participants were, and continue to be, encouraged to share their ideas and opinions regarding the future use of our facilities.   
        In April, we will be sharing workshop results with participant groups and working to prioritize and identify critical needs.  We will be sharing the results of these workshops and other information about our planning on the district’s website, crookston.k12.mn.us, as we move through the process.  
        After completing the community input, the next phase of the process will involve an assessment of the facility challenges facing Crookston Schools. We will be working with our partners to conduct an analysis of the condition of our current facilities and an assessment of how well the facilities serve our overall educational mission.
    Page 2 of 2 -     The final phase of the process will be an evaluation of options. There will be several ways to address our facility challenges, and our school board needs to determine what is in the best interest of our students, our staff, our community, and our taxpayers.  Over the course of the planning process, we will give additional opportunities for you to provide input and feedback on our website.   In the meantime, I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts, so free feel to contact me via email, phone, or mail.
        Thank you for your continual support of Crookston Public Schools.  I look forward to working with you during the coming years to make Crookston School District an even better place to attend, work, and grow.

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