Column: Collective impact and more will shape yearAfter finishing my first year as superintendent at Red Wing Public Schools, I would like to reflect on our accomplishments and describe some of our plans for the upcoming year.
By: Karsten Anderson, The Republican Eagle
After finishing my first year as superintendent at Red Wing Public Schools, I would like to reflect on our accomplishments and describe some of our plans for the upcoming year.
During the past year, we implemented an ambitious strategic plan, embarked on a long-range facilities planning process, resolved a federal lawsuit that received international attention, addressed some issues with employee contracts and tightened some of our policy implementation.
Many of these issues — such as the enforcement of walking zone exceptions — have multiple legitimate perspectives, so difficult decisions won’t please everyone. To help address issues like these, we will pay stronger attention to the needs and opinions of our stakeholders, and we provide a stronger customer service perspective to everything we do.
Despite the challenges, we remained focused on our mission and made progress on strategic initiatives.
During the upcoming school year, I am particularly enthused about the possibilities described as collective impact. We are part of a community-based initiative involving numerous community partners that has the potential for greatly boosting student achievement by developing a shared vision for change, collecting data and measuring results consistently. We will work together to provide a mutually reinforcing plan of action while consistently providing information to the community.
Imagine the possibilities if we can work together to focus on enhancing student achievement for all of our children!
After an extensive facility review and consideration of multiple options, the School Board voted to place three questions on the ballot this November — one related to funding the district’s general operations and two related to facilities.
The first question would renew our existing operating levy referendum for another five years.
We are not asking for voters to increase the per pupil amount. If such a levy is not approved in November or in 2013, the school district will lose nearly $4 million used to help fund operations.
The second question, which is contingent upon the first question passing, would raise revenue to pay for additions and improvements to our educational facilities.
If approved, all K-4 students would be at Burnside, early childhood programs would be located at Sunnyside, renovations would be made at Twin Bluff, and significant deferred maintenance work (such as roofs and parking lots) would be completed throughout the school district.
Because of fortunate timing, this new building debt would correspond to expiring building debt, so tax rates would not increase for the upcoming year; taxpayers would continue to pay that level of debt for additional years.
The end result would provide adequate and equitable facilities for all of our learners, provide us with options for expanded preschool programming, address deferred maintenance issues, and yield operational savings.
The third question, which is contingent upon the first and second questions passing, would raise revenue to pay for athletic facility projects.
Money would be allocated to address issues at the Prairie Island Ice Arena, including the roof, parking lot and dehumidification. Other bond money would pay for repairing and/or replacing district tennis courts, repairing and/or replacing the track and completing other smaller projects. There would be a tax impact of about $10 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home.
Additional information about these questions will be forthcoming from the school district, and we welcome your comments and questions about the proposals.
A recent restructuring of our administrative team will help us better focus our efforts on teaching and learning.
Joe Jezierski, the district’s new director of teaching and learning, has considerable teaching and administrative experience, and he will have good rapport with students, staff members, and community members. With some other administrative changes, we will renew our focus on gifted and talented programming as well as provide stronger student support services at our elementary schools.
Early September is always an exciting time for us because it is the beginning of another year working with your children.
Thank you in advance for another great school year in Red Wing.