We have several important decisions to make on Monday at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB). We have 15 public works projects to consider. Among them, the City of Aitkin is seeking $99,000 for water, sewer and road work to support a $738,842 project to build a dental clinic in the city.
We will also consider a request from the City of Crosby for $250,000 in sewer, water and road infrastructure improvements to support a housing rehabilitation project estimated to cost $2.5 million. A request for $435,000 from the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development Agency also is part of this extensive project.
Another important item the IRRRB Board deals with is public education. I serve on the IRRRB sub-committee on education. Last week we finished work on a detailed recommendation that will be presented to the full board that updates IRRRB education funding policy going forward.
The changes are intended to increase collaboration among school districts, particularly with respect to building major new facilities and access to a broad range of student curriculum.
Of immediate interest to the Aitkin and Crosby Schools is extension of the Applied Learning Institute (ALI) to both districts. The ALI program exposes students to careers in what is often referred to as “the trades.” Today, many of our high school shop and agriculture facilities lack modern equipment to allow students to learn about the many career fields in areas such as electrician, auto and diesel mechanic, electronics, welding, machining, tool and die making, construction, plumbing, equipment operator, hydraulics, etc.
Aitkin, Crosby and the Cook County School District would join the other range schools existing ALI program. Initial startup aid of $500,000 in is planned to help the three districts upgrade facilities with state of the art equipment. Of greater long-term importance is the ability of Aitkin and Crosby schools to directly access teaching and mentoring assistance from the Iron Range Community College System.
Bringing the ALI program to Aitkin and Crosby will provide our students with increased exposure to a host of applied learning experiences early on in their career development.
There are several other important meetings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday next week including state business taxes, state government operations and veteran’s affairs, I will address those by separate update later today.