Et Cetera …

Funds lag behind laws

Special education is an expensive proposition for school districts in Minnesota. Schools face mandates to provide the service but are not given adequate funding by the federal and state governments to carry out these demands.

We note that the state of Minnesota has given schools added funding for the next two school years, including more money for special education. Fairmont Area will get an additional $200,000. It’s a good start. But higher levels of government should really do better, with funding or by allowing local districts to innovate to reduce costs.

A great school district

Meanwhile, we cannot offer enough praise for Fairmont Area Schools, for its wide range of programming, for its leaders enthusiasm and wisdom, and for its newfound success in attracting and retaining students.

Amid it all, the school district has been a careful steward of public dollars, saving money by consolidating facilities while also investing in projects like LED lighting that will reap savings over the long term.

Kudos to administrators, school board members, teachers and staff for all they do.

EDA pitches in $5,000

Fairmont’s Economic Development Authority also earns kudos. It opted to put in $5,000 this week to aid a project to extend fiber optic internet service to CHS and the city’s new industrial park near the Interstate 99 exit.

It’s a small contribution, but important in that it goes into a pool of funding that will make the project feasible. Everything these days is about high-quality internet, and Fairmont’s industries need such access to remain competitive in a global marketplace. We look forward to hearing the next success story from the new industrial site. Fingers crossed.

Keeping the focus here

Another topic broached by the EDA this week was revitalizing the downtown area. Something always worth discussing, although the options can be limited, given costs.

We note that the discussion included comparisons to some other cities, but this can be dangerous territory. Fairmont has not had any major disasters (thank goodness) that brought in a flood of repair dollars. It is not located (obviously) where other cities are. Its demographics and wealth are different than other cities, even those in the region. Fairmont should focus on what it can do with what it has to offer, not what it might do to be like some other place.