Et Cetera …

Programs rate at top

We congratulate Fairmont Area Schools early childhood education programs for earning the state’s highest rating. The good grade comes with extra funding that will help families afford participation. Funds also will help expand programming.

The state’s rating system was created to address kindergarten readiness, a problem involving up to half of Minnesota students preparing to enter school. It’s good to know the local school system is doing well in having the appropriate curriculum, assessments and licensed staff to aid families here.

Upgrades make sense

The jewel in Martin County’s park system is Cedar-Hanson Park, located near Trimont. The park is a favorite for those living in the area, as well as for visitors who visit the county.

For many years, the county has envisioned doing more at the park. Upgrades would include a restroom and shower building, new playground equipment, campsite pads and other amenities. Cost is estimated at $500,000.

County commissioners are considering putting up 25 percent of the money if they can obtain a state grant for the rest. We believe that makes sense.

Grants, loans would help

Faribault County commissioners seem to favor grants as part of a loan program that would help businesses within the county make structural upgrades to their buildings.

Officials say there are sites throughout the county that cannot be used because of structural problems, such as the need for new roofing. The building owners don’t have the money to fix them, or absentee landlords are letting the structures decay.

The county’s plan would involve low-interest loans, or possibly grants, to get the buildings fixed up and utilized. The alternative is to see them become abandoned, and thus create a burden for cities and the county.

Do alternatives exist?

The enrollment drop at Truman Public Schools is something of a shock. The school is down from 245 students last year to 199 this year. School funding from the state is tied to enrollment, so the district faces a significant funding loss as well.

At the same time, the school system must maintain its buildings. It is asking voters in November to approve more than $1 million in upgrades.

This is certainly an eye-opening combination of circumstances. We can’t help but wonder whether district residents should push for some alternatives.