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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Tough decisions on special ed

The Bemidji School District said it will revamp its special education programs after a study showed three main improvement areas.

The Futures Education study suggests the district spends too much money on special education. The study said Bemidji must better manage its individual education programs, devotes too many staff members to special education and more resources should be devoted to early intervention to identify and evaluate students at risk for learning disabilities.

The district has made some changes, which requires changes in personnel, as it revamps its long-term strategy for special education.

Not all of the changes will be popular, particularly when jobs are on the line.

Leadership requires making tough decisions. It looks like Bemidji officials are preparing and ready to make changes which will put the district in a better financial position while following a strategy to more efficiently and effectively prepare children for their future.


Planning the future

When the Minnesota Design Team visits Bemidji this September, it will be an opportunity to help our community visualize a blueprint for the future.

Nearby, Walker and Cass Lake have been recipients of similar visits. The vision and impact of those visits have made both communities a better place to live, visit and recreate.

As a part of the MDT visit, planned from Sept. 13-16, the group's volunteers stay in host families' homes. It cuts down on costs, but it plays an even more important role: the team of professionals can better identify with residents and learn more about the dreams and potential of the host community.

The weekend features a reception, tours of the area and two large public events for brainstorming and presentations.

Public involvement is one key to a successful MDT event and it's an opportunity for everyone to have a stake in the Bemidji community's future.

We encourage residents to participate in the process, and if possible, host an MDT member. For more information, call Mayana Rice, the planning administrator for the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board at 759-3594.


Ideas and innovation

Five entrepreneurs received awards last week for the Northwest Minnesota Foundation's IDEA competition.

The six-month process required finalists to submit a business plan for their products and give a presentation to a panel of judges. Winners receive $10,000 and advice from a business coach to advance their business goals.

This year's winners show the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation continues to thrive in the north woods.