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Et Cetera ...

September 1, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

New journey under way

We are happy this week for the students and staff at North Union schools in northern Iowa. Rivals for many years, three school districts - Armstrong-Ringsted, North Kossuth and Sentral - have come together for whole-grade sharing.

While these kinds of mergers can create trepidation among the communities -?afraid of losing their identities, perhaps - they create strength in school budgets, friendships among a broader group of students and greater academic opportunities.

We congratulate North Union for beginning a journey down a new road.

Response matters most

Area school districts received their grades from the state of Minnesota this week. There was good news and bad news.

Winnebago Elementary School earned the highest rating as a "reward school." Kudos to students and staff.

Elsewhere, Fairmont, Blue Earth and Truman elementaries came in with the second-lowest rating - continuous improvement schools.

The response to these grades is what really matters. Schools that learn and apply lessons to improve student learning will be meeting the goals of the system.

Seems like a bad idea

Fairmont Area Schools may cut extracurricular activities (beginning in 2013-2014) before the district asks voters for additional funding this fall. The purpose? To convince voters they must support the referendum so sports and fine arts can be reinstated.

Well, voters must indeed support the levy increase if the school is to remain a viable place for students to learn and grow.

But cutting extracurricular activities is counterproductive from the get-go. It would chase students away from Fairmont. More enrollment is needed to help pay the bills, not less.

Chickens get to stay

We thank Fairmont City Council members who this week sided wholeheartedly with citizens who want to keep their pets, even if those animals are not quite the norm.

People who have a few pet chickens have been awaiting the council's decision. Others with rabbits, ferrets, lizards, hedgehogs, etc., have probably been looking on with interest as well. Council members made it clear they would like the City Code to reflect a changing society that has moved beyond simply owning cats and dogs. City leaders adopted the approach that citizens should be free to choose.



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