Leslie Haugland-Smith for School Board

Minneapolis is constantly ranked one of the best cities to live in the USA. Our public education system should reflect that ranking.

I am running for School Board District 5. We sent our 5 children to public schools in Minneapolis, including Northrop, Anderson, Anwatin, Roosevelt, Washburn, South High, and Southwest. We now have 2 daughters-in-law who teach in Minneapolis schools. We are fortunate to have a grandchild with 3 more on the way!

We are Growing! Where will current families send their children to school?

Minneapolis is Building

And Building

And Building

Our city is building! Where will new families send their children to school?

As a School Board Director, I will work to transform our public schools into a great system we can be proud of.

Budget Shortfalls

The public school system is required to provide service for all special education and English-language learners; however, for years federal and state governments have failed to allocate enough money to comply. This shortage causes the Minneapolis school district to redirect money from the general budget to students in need and away from everything else, including educators’ salaries and classroom subjects. This issue was once the province of the inner-city schools, but smaller districts are now facing the same shortfalls as communities across the state become much more diverse.

Priority: Appoint a superintendent who will unite the school districts across the state and demand that the legislature  fulfill their promise to fully fund special-education and English-language learner services in the public schools.

Declining Enrollment

Educators, parents, and students know that music, arts, sports, advanced placement courses, smaller class sizes, and extra-curricular activities make our schools more attractive and drive increased enrollment. To achieve these goals, we need to use the budget reserves (rainy-day funds), dip into the federal relief money, explore the possibility of reducing the size of the School Board, especially at-large positions, and even ask the directors to take a 5% cut in pay. Let’s send the message to all families that the board and teachers are united in their value of student success.

Priority: Reassess the “rainy-day” portion of the budget, which school board policy sets at 8%, and use the money now to grow. A long-term goal of increasing enrollment outweighs a short-term impact to the bond rating.

Purpose of School

School exposes our youngsters to civic virtue and democratic cooperation and gives them the tools, including history, civics, math, and vocabulary, to help understand and solve large, social problems. Upon graduation, they should be exploring job training or service to our country, or they should be planning vocational, community, or 4-year college. They should be graduating with a sense of responsibility and purpose.

Priority: Unite educators and school board directors. Remember, teachers are closest to the pain points and will help drive innovation.