Schools notebook // Indian Education Department head honored

The Minnesota Indian Education Association honored the director of Minneapolis Public Schools’ Indian Education Department in October.

Danielle Grant was one of three “outstanding administrators” recognized at the association’s annual conference, held Oct. 10–12 in Mahnomen. Grant was the first from an urban school district to win the award, the district reported.

The department Grant leads works with both district teachers and the local American Indian community to better engage American Indian students. It also supports pre-kindergarten and academic mentoring programs for those students.

Minneapolis Public Schools on Nov. 15 held its seventh-annual Native American Family Involvement Day. Begun in 2006, the annual event is recognized at schools across the district, and aims to strengthen bonds between the district and the urban American Indian community.

The Minnesota Indian Education Association is a nonprofit working to promote high-quality education for the state’s American Indians.

Free special education workshop

Parents of special education students are invited to attend a free, two-hour workshop on developing their children’s literacy skills in November.

The Unlocking Your Child’s Potential Workshop is sponsored by Minneapolis Public Schools, the Minnesota Department of Education and LDA Minnesota, a Golden Valley-based non-profit organization that works with children, youth and adults with learning disabilities. Parents will learn about the special education services available for their students, including individualized education plans, or IEPs, and how to improve their child’s reading ability through games and activities and by setting realistic goals.

Two of the three November workshops took place before this issue of the Southwest Journal went to press, but one last free workshop was scheduled for 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 at Bethune Community School, 919 Emerson Ave. N. Childcare will be available and a light dinner will be served to attendees.

To register, contact LDA Minnesota at (952) 582-600 or info@ldaminnesota.org. For more information on the organization, visit its website, ldaminnesota.org.

Kids vote for Obama

Election Day 2012 was a big day for President Barack Obama and Minnesota DFLers. It would have been even bigger if kids had their say — or at least that’s what the results Kids Voting Minneapolis seem to show.

The local nonprofit has given Minneapolis K–12 students the opportunity to cast a ballot in elections since 2004. Some vote in class and others visit the Kids Voting booth when they join their parents at their local precinct on Election Day, but the idea is the same: to give youth a taste of voting and encourage civic participation at age 18 and beyond.

Obama’s margin of victory was even larger in the Kids Voting tally; he earned 11,562 votes (88.91 percent) to Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s 1,003 votes (7.71 percent).

The kids also strongly favored DFLers Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Keith Ellison over their challengers. And they voted down both the amendments to the state constitution that were on the ballot by better than two-to-one margins in both cases.

In the citywide School Board race, they gave incumbent Carla Bates 4,105 votes (63.07 percent) and challenger Doug Mann 2,140 votes (32.88 percent). Interestingly, that means Mann fared slightly better among the under-18 crowd than with the adults, who favored him at rate just over 25 percent.

There weren’t any kid-cast votes recorded in the tight District 4 School Board race, which saw Josh Reimnitz eke out a victory of Patty Wycoff.

To see the tally, go to kidsvotingminneapolis.org/results/2012.html.

Public comment on levy scheduled

The Minneapolis School Board was scheduled to hear public comment on a proposed 4-percent property tax levy increase during two upcoming meetings.

The public is invited to share their thoughts on the proposed levy 7 p.m. Nov. 27 and 6 p.m. Dec. 11 during scheduled School Board meetings at the John B. Davis Education and Service Center, 1250 W. Broadway Ave. District officials say the levy hike is needed to pay for upkeep on aging facilities, add classrooms to accommodate increases in enrollment and manage class size.

District finance officials originally proposed a 7.4-percent property tax levy increase, but School Board members rejected that proposal and adopted a resolution calling for the smaller increase Sept. 25. A final vote on the proposed 2013 levy is scheduled for December.

The district was scheduled to mail out truth-in-taxation notices to city property owners in late November. If adopted, the 4-percent levy increase would raise taxes on a home at the city’s median value of $171,000 by $61 per year; property taxes on a home valued at $300,000 would increase $117.

The district posted a list of frequently asked questions about property tax levies on its website, mpls.k12.mn.us/school_finance_2.html, along with other information about role the levy plays in the district’s overall budget. On that same Web page, parents are also invited to complete a survey on the levy.

Reach Dylan Thomas at dthomas@mnpubs.com.