Don’t believe it when you hear there’s nothing the Mayor can do to improve our schools.
The Mayor can and must help all Saint Paul kids have the future they deserve.
Across Saint Paul, residents say schools are their top priority. And in the next breath they say, “But what can a Mayor do?”
The Mayor can do many things to help our schools ensure EVERY child in Saint Paul is set up for success. Learning happens outside the classroom and beyond what’s measured in standardized tests. Research tells us the importance of quality enrichment activities to inspire kids and close the achievement gap. We need to help kids tap into their creativity, interests, talents and build their self-esteem. We must ensure all Saint Paul kids have access to these life shaping opportunities. But our public schools are challenged with limited financial resources. The City can play a significant role in improving the financial health of our school. As Mayor, as a community, we will make a difference.
There is much already happening across our city to support kids and families. What we lack as a city is a strategic vision and a coordinated path to ensure the talent, passion and potential in each child is developed.
So, what can and will I do as your next Mayor?
Reveal potential and develop talents in each Saint Paul child.
- Transform Rec Centers into Enrichment and Recreation Centers that offer expanded programs such as art, music, STEM programs, theater, Makers Spaces, etc.
- Spearhead an Arts and Music Education Task Force in partnership with the school district, local arts education experts and our business and foundation community to guarantee our city has world class arts and music opportunities for youth in every school.
- Ensure all teens have access to the Metro Transit system. This will expand their opportunities to attend the school that best fits their interests anywhere in Saint Paul. It also gives our high schoolers better access to after-school help from teachers, work and mentorship experiences, and extracurricular activities. After-school involvement is the best way to engage kids and encourage positive behavior.
- Create new partnerships with libraries to share books, multimedia and professional resources in all of our schools. Provide after-school career and college counseling guidance centers and services in City libraries on evenings and weekends to help teens learn about and make plans for their futures.
- Engage the Saint Paul School Library Project. This innovative program will allow schools selected via a community process to open a dedicated Saint Paul Public Library, with Saint Paul librarians, in their school. Capital funding and ongoing operational funding will be provided by the city.
- End nature deficit disorder. We have unique wild, natural spaces in Saint Paul, especially along our riverfront. The city will improve access to and learning in our City’s wild spaces through new programming and partnerships with schools and educational organizations to capitalize on our unique outdoor learning amenities.
Ensure the safety of students and staff and the efficient use of available funds.
- Police, fire and other first responders will work in partnership with schools to support kids and families in crisis and address trauma.
- Invite seniors in our community to share their wisdom and expertise through mentoring and reading programs.
- Use resources more efficiently so more money goes to classrooms, by assessing and analyzing current opportunities across the City, Schools and Community, share expertise in areas such as energy efficiency, commit to fill in where there are gaps and reduce duplication.
Building connections with children before they start school
- Create an Early Childhood Learning Task Force to examine how to meet the growing needs of all families and the demand for Pre-K.
Master Energy Retrofit Program for City and School Facilities
Under this program, the City and School District would engage a single lease structure and undertake a full facility retrofit program over a period of years. The rate of a single structure would be significantly less than individual leases allowing for accelerated projects and a faster recoup of the energy savings. Upon discussion and further analysis, the savings could allow the City to assume the first two years of payments on the full lease structure, allowing the School District to realize the energy savings in the third year, consequently providing for additional funds to the classroom.
Saint Paul School Library Project
Many of our school libraries and media centers are in need of significant resources. Our Saint Paul City Libraries have not only books, DVDs, CDs, and databases to share, but also extraordinary, experienced staff. Under this proposal, schools selected via a community conversation will receive a full Saint Paul Branch library in their facility that is solely dedicated to the school. City capital resources will be allocated for construction of a proper in-school library, and selected ongoing funds will be provided for personnel and operations. Partnership schools will receive dedicated access to the full array of library services right on site.
The Value of Play and the Arts
Many of our Saint Paul public schools struggle to achieve proper funding for external play equipment and school music programs. This partnership will provide a funding avenue through the City’s STAR program to supplement important external play and rec facilities, as well as school music programs, noting the critical value of play and the arts in the development of our young people.