The Rybak eReader – January 31, 2006
January 31, 2006
News from Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak
Mayor Rybak to Expand Partnership with Schools
Rybak’s Next Generation Agenda Calls for Increased Role with Youth & Education
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak today announced that he will significantly increase his role in youth and education issues, and called on the community to rally around new Minneapolis Superintendent Dr. Bill Green and the Minneapolis School Board in these upcoming critical months.
"The Minneapolis School District has been through a bruising time. Emotions are high right now," Rybak said. "We need to ask some tough questions, but at this very critical moment it is essential for every resident to ask one question above all others: How do we come together to help our kids?"
"I will use my role as Mayor to play a significantly stronger role in bringing all the forces of this city together for our kids," Rybak said. "This is a school district with some great teachers, great programs, great students, great schools, but not all of them are succeeding. I will tell the great stories of our schools, but I will also ask the tough questions until every school and every classroom can say every child is succeeding."
Mayor Rybak discussed a series of proposed efforts he will undertake as part of his Next Generation Agenda before a large crowd of educators, parents, and elected officials today at Roosevelt High School. The Mayor’s speech was the first of three Great City Forums that Rybak will use to lay out his agenda for a second term.
A Focus on School Board and Statewide Elections
Mayor Rybak announced that he will play a visible leadership role in this year’s Minneapolis School Board elections, including hosting candidate forums and recruiting and supporting specific school board candidates.
"I suggest we take our energy and focus it between now and November on what should be the most important Minneapolis School Board elections in decades. Our goal should be to come out of this election more unified, more focused on an agenda for the future, led by a school board that has the broad public support they need to choose a great superintendent," Rybak said.
Mayor Rybak also pledged to bring education and youth issues to the forefront of legislative debates and statewide elections this year. "I will work actively to make sure increased education funding is the number one issue in the upcoming races for governor and the state legislature. If Minnesota wants to continue as a brainpower state, we have to put our money where our mouth is. You do not run a just society with bake sales and passing the plate."
Improved Collaboration Between City and School Leadership
Chief among Mayor Rybak’s goals will be to improve collaboration between the often separate city government and school district administration, in part based on the work of the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board. For the past two years, Mayor Rybak has chaired the YCB, which brings together leaders from the city, county, libraries, parks, and schools to focus in youth issues. Rybak said that he would like to start with helping the school district to create a long term financial plan.
"The city of Minneapolis has had great success in the past few years developing a long range financial plan and I want to partner with the school district to develop their own strategic plan. The city government can be a partner in helping the district forecast population trends that effect school enrollment and can play a more active role in planning the best way to use building facilities in the district," Rybak said.
"Facing deep financial challenges and under-used classrooms, we have to more aggressively repurpose closed schools and find nonprofits such as Head Start who can move directly into school buildings," Rybak said.
Mayor Rybak also called for organizations serving youth to aggressively explore cooperation and mergers to increase efficiency and effectiveness of programs such as youth athletics. "Isn’t it time to merge sports programs in our parks and schools so we can create a stronger system that keeps our sports programs from falling behind? In these times of limited resources, we need to collaborate in unique and innovative ways and create a stronger community for our youth," Rybak said.
"Too many children lack hope, purpose, and strong families. We need a city where young people are ready by 21 for college, career and life. As Minnesota struggles to compete in an increasingly global economy, this state’s greatest asset is the children of the next generation of Minneapolis. We all have a responsibility and an interest in helping to prepare the next generation for the future," Rybak said. "I am laying out my vision, but I am also encouraging dialogue about these issues and calling on citizens to get involved."
This is the first of three forums framing Mayor Rybak’s four year Great City Agenda. Subsequent Great City Forums are scheduled for February 28 on reweaving the urban fabric and March 29 on closing the gaps. The forums are all free and open to the public. The Mayor’s State of the City Address will be on April 18.
Published Jan. 31, 2006