Finding school solutions isn't all that easy, is it?
It was good to see a decent crowd at Tuesday night's community meeting held by the Detroit Lakes School District.
The meeting was a chance for DL residents to show up and have a say on what they think the district should do about its critical space issues at the schools, and the people who showed up should be commended. It's easy to vote no; it isn't as easy to come up with a solution that a community will buy into, so every single person who gets involved to spitball ideas and explore options deserves kudos.
As the school board and district officials mostly sat back and listened, rather than talked, it was obvious by the variety of ideas generated by people of differing needs and wants that no matter which way the district decides to go next, it will be difficult to make the masses happy. So many people, so many wants, so many needs, so many opinions...and ultimately only one plan to pitch.
We believe Tuesday night served as a perfect example of the tremendous challenge school leaders in this district face. Although some in attendance Tuesday—and others who subsequently read about it—are just now getting their feet wet in understanding the difficulties of coming up with a plan that actually works, most of these school leaders have been struggling with this for years.
Every time they've tried to go down a different road, there have been barriers that have popped up and reasons why it won't work—land restrictions, traffic difficulties, safety issues, added expense .. .there seems to be a roadblock on every avenue.
Even the plans they have come up with that can work, don't, because they haven't been what taxpayers want and most often that's because what they don't want are more taxes—a problem the school district cannot control.
So Tuesday night was a reminder to Detroit Lakes residents that as they're asked to come up with ideas for a plan, it isn't so easy. Tuesday night was just a small taste of what school leaders have been dealing with for a handful of years now. They are stuck between a worsening problem that affects our children every day and their community which, for the past three years, has been unable to rally behind any of the ideas that will fix it.
The children, teachers and school leaders are at the mercy of voters, and so now really is the time for those voters to step up and help—not when the district has already assembled its next plan, not at the voting booths, but now. Help them help us.
Although many avenues have been explored, there certainly are still ones that could still be considered, and this is what they are imploring —ideas. If any plan has a chance at actually succeeding, it will most likely come from the community—from some random person who has had an idea but who has yet to speak up. Let's do this—let's stop dragging our big feet on this thing and find a solution.