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Honestly, you're not different!

February 13, 2009 - Lee Smith
I'm not a big fan of anecdote or human emotion when it comes to debating the public policy issues of our time. I don't see the point. Something will either be a success or failure based on its adherence to tangible things, not whether we like it. That said, let me digress ...

Growing up, I attended small schools in southern and southwestern Minnesota. When I say small, I mean small. My graduating class at Lamberton was 28. Through all those years, my dad was an educator. So I understand the ins and outs of a small school district. You could say much of our family life revolved around the schools where we lived.

When I was in high school, Lamberton began sharing athletics and fine arts with a neighboring school, Sanborn. And it turned out the kids and families in Sanborn, whom were feared and hated prior, were good people, just like the folks in Lamberton. Who would have thought?

Later, when I was in college, my dad got a job in Austin. My little brother when to high school there. And you know what? Those folks in Austin were nice too. My brother enjoyed his time at this much bigger district.

Now, around Fairmont there are at least two struggling school districts, GHEC and Truman, both of whom have routinely had to tackle financial issues. Both face new challenges this year, all the while seeing their state aid fall along with enrollment as their costs rise. What should they do?

Consolidate? With each other, or perhaps with Fairmont? It sure seems obvious. From my perspective, it's clear that the people who live in this region aren't that different. I'm sure they — and their kids — could get along.


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