Edison High School pushes back on Gagnon’s Washburn resolution

After the Minneapolis Public Schools’ board passed an appalling resolution (written by Washburn parents and introduced by board Director – and Washburn parent – Rebecca Gagnon) to restore funding to their lowest poverty, whitest high schools, a Northeast working-class high school is punching back.

Members of the Edison Activity Council (at Edison High School) posted this message on their group’s Facebook page:

As discussed at the EAC meeting on Thursday, April 12th, a funding resolution was passed at the school board meeting on April 10th. This resolution will have severe consequences for our school, our feeder schools and our district. The redistribution of funds is incredibly inequitable. This letter (see below) was sent to the 5 members of the board of education that supported this resolution this morning.

Please help us raise awareness of their actions and the impact it will have on Edison HS and our community.

Actions you can take:
~Forward this letter to people you know.
~Email the board members that voted for it with your thoughts.
~Connect with people you know face to face, other groups, and social media about this resolution.

Thank you.

The letter:

The Edison Activities Council (EAC) would like to express our disappointment in the funding resolution that Directors Gagnon, Ali, Felder, Jourdain and Walser passed at the Minneapolis School Board meeting on April 10, 2018. The EAC’s mission is to support and strengthen athletics and extracurricular activities at Edison High School. Much of our work has been around advocating for equity in district high schools.

This resolution works against equity. It is about protecting the privilege of a vocal group of organized parents at Washburn High School. While it is certainly every school community’s right to advocate for their specific school, it is your job to do what is best for the district. We have many students impacted by racial disparities in this city; this resolution jeopardizes any work towards progress in the district. All of you have talked about your support of equity in the past but clearly it is not a current priority for the 5 board members that voted to support this resolution.

Of the $6,400,000 restored to schools, $2,300,000 goes to schools in district 6, the district with the lowest number of children in poverty and the lowest number of children of color. Washburn had almost 65% of its funding restored. Southwest High School’s funding actually increased by 10%. In contrast, Henry and Northeast Middle School had less than 33% of their funding restored. This is not equity.

This resolution demands that the $6.4+ million be cut from the Davis Center budget. That this resolution had no specific plan for where those cuts should be was both telling and disappointing. It’s fun to restore money, not fun to cut it.

We believe that further cuts from the Davis Center budget (which is already a much lower percentage than what most districts spend on administration) will hurt all of our schools, and disproportionately those with higher numbers of poor students and students of color, like Edison. Do you know that Edison serves more children impacted by poverty than Washburn (and a far higher percentage of such students)?

The school based IB directors are funded out of the Davis Center – should we cut them? All custodians are funded out of that budget – are parents cleaning bathrooms next year? The Office of Black Male Achievement is part of that budget – gone? And Athletics are funded out of that budget – how much more can we cut from that budget and still offer athletics? Edison has a free and reduced lunch rate of 78%. We can not easily fundraise to cover these important activities.

Our expectation of you as board members is that you work for what is best for the district as a whole. And that when you talk about equity, you actually make tough votes to support it. You have disappointed us and hurt our students, our school, our feeder schools and the district as a whole to benefit the special interests of a few.

We ask that you rescind your resolution of April 10, 2018. If $6.4 million is being redirected from the Davis Center to the schools, we ask for that money to be distributed using an equity index and that all schools, including elementary and K-8s, be included.

Edison Activities Council

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