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Our View: Do kids a favor and attend public input forum

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The Dickinson Public School District is holding an important public forum Monday evening in which it intends to listen to the community’s concerns and ideas about the future of the district.

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It doesn’t matter if you have a 2-year-old, if your children are in the school system already, if you don’t have kids or if yours have already graduated. Anyone with a stake in the district owes it to current and future students alike to attend the forum at 7 p.m. Monday at Hagen Junior High.

Many questions are being asked throughout the school district as enrollment increases and some buildings begin to reach the end of their lifespan.

What do you want the school system to look like in 10 or even 30 years? Does the district need to build a new high school or a junior high? Will we need another elementary school? If so, how soon? And where would these new buildings go? The big question, of course, is what do we do with Hagen Junior High?

It’s the second-oldest building in the district. In some cases, four generations of families have gone through the school. Today, high enrollment has it bursting at the seams with nearly 100 more students than it had five years ago.

Junior high students at Hagen have walked across Fourth Street West to Berg Elementary for decades, whether it’s to eat lunch or attend a class. No student should have to leave one campus for another and cross a public street on a daily basis, and no school district should have to put children in that position.

It only stands to get worse. With the influx of new students caused by Dickinson’s growth and an expected growth rate with a large population of children who aren’t in school yet, residents need to take a long, hard look at where they want the school district to go over the next decade or more.

Please make an effort to attend this forum. The previous forum was lightly attended because of poor weather. There is only one more session scheduled where the public can give input on this issue. Monday may be the best time for you to tell the school board and school officials what direction you believe the district should look at taking as it begins to take its next steps toward the future.

The Dickinson Press Editorial Board consists of Publisher Harvey Brock, Managing Editor Dustin Monke and Assistant Editor April Baumgarten.

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