Duluth School Board candidates square off at forum

By KBJR News 1

September 30, 2013 Updated Sep 30, 2013 at 9:31 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - With a little more than a month to go before the November general election, candidates vying for the Duluth School Board are pushing their plans and ideas before the public.

At-large and first district candidates not only had the chance to spell out their campaigns, but also spoke out about the proposed levy referendums and where any additional funding should go.

On Monday, the League of Women Voters hosted a forum at the Lakeside-Lester Park Community Club where the candidates faced off over the future of Duluth Schools.

Answering a wide-range of topics, candidates say the school district needs to focus attention on narrowing the achievement gap, boosting graduation rates and many agreed that any additional voter-approved levy funding should go to lowering class sizes.

"Lower class sizes, help reduce achievement gap, update curriculum," said first district candidate Rosie Loeffler-Kemp.

"The money should go into the classroom, we need to hire teachers to reduce class sizes, we need to put money into curriculum," said first district candidate Joe Matthes.

"The funding should immediately go towards reducing class sizes right now our children are struggling, the class sizes are way too large," said at-large candidate Henry Banks.

"I would be supporting lowering class sizes and putting the money into curriculum, books, some of our books are very old as well," said at-large candidate Nancy Nilsen.

"We should try to put our money into is bringing class size down and doing it as quickly as possible with whatever resources we can muster," said at-large candidate Harry Welty.

Absent from Monday's forum was school board at-large candidate Annie Harala.

On November 5th, Duluth voters will be asked two questions, to renew the current operating levy with no tax increase and the second question to contribute an additional $1.8 million to go towards schools through a property tax increase.

City council at-large candidates faced off as well tonight, and tomorrow candidates from all city council districts will square-off at a Duluth Chamber hosted forum at Valentini's restaurant in Duluth at 8 a.m.

Jeremy Brickley
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