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District gathers public input on education needs

Dolly Qualls, left, a retired Hudson family life teacher, relates her views on the needs of the Hudson School District to Ellen Montgomery, Colleen O'Brien and Amy Schneider, from left. They were participants in a public input session Thursday evening, Nov. 29, in the dining hall at YMCA Camp St. Croix.1 / 2
St. Croix County Community Resource Educator Pete Kling, left, talks with a participant in a school district event held to get public input on the type of new secondary school to build. Kling facilitated the session. He was assisted by St. Croix County Agriculture Agent Ryan Sterry, standing right.2 / 2

The Hudson School District's first session for gaining public input on meeting the district's need for classroom space took place Thursday evening, Nov. 29, at YMCA Camp St. Croix.

About 30 people, including a handful of district officials, participated in the event termed a "community conversation."

The participants gathered in small groups around tables in the camp's dining hall and discussed three questions:

1. What does Hudson's strategic vision (HSD 2025) and 21st century education mean to you?

2. What types of facilities best support the Hudson Middle School house concept, high school learning for the future and 21st century learning?

3. What do you see as the best long-term 21st century learning solution for Hudson's students in grades 6-12?

St. Croix County Community Resource Educator Pete Kling facilitated the session, assisted by St. Croix County Agriculture Agent Ryan Sterry.

Table leaders recorded participant responses. Kling said he would compile the responses and give a report on them to the Board of Education on Dec. 11.

A second "community conversation" gathering is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Camp St. Croix dining hall, located on County F across from River Crest Elementary School. The session will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

District Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten welcomed the participants to last week's session.

She said district officials and the board of education have moved past St. Croix Meadows as the site for a new secondary school.

"Now we need to move on to the next-best solution," Bowen-Eggebraaten said.

"It's not a high school need. It's not a middle school need. It's a need for both," she said regarding school overcrowding.

The middle school is currently 185 students over its full capacity and has the highest enrollment of any middle school in the state," Bowen-Eggebraaten reported.

She said the high school reached capacity this year and has under-sized and outdated classrooms.

"It's not just about seats, but also about how the students are educated," she said.

Paul Bourget and Paul Moen have been named co-chairs of a community advisory committee that will assist the school board in developing a new plan for meeting the district's building needs.

Bowen-Eggebraaten said 10 more community residents will be accepted on committee. People can apply to serve on the committee through the school district's website,

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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