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Minnesota private schools see uptick in interest amid uncertainty over public school reopening

Plus: St. Paul police chief warns of staff cuts after budget reduction; fund set up to help north Minneapolis businesses rebuild; cost of living in rural Minnesota significantly less than in Twin Cities; and more.

Empty classroom desks
Photo by Rubén Rodriguez on Unsplash

Anything besides distance learning. The Star Tribune’s Erin Golden reports: “At St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Waconia, the phones have been ringing far more than usual for this time of summer. … On the other end of the line: parents, anxious about the coming school year and hoping for a more definitive answer than public schools are ready to provide. …‘That’s the first thing they want to know,’ said Principal Bruce Richards. ‘Do we plan to open?’ … As parents, teachers and school administrators wait for a decision on whether Minnesota’s public schools will open this fall, private schools around the state are already announcing their intention to open — and seeing a spike in interest from parents who want to see their children in school full time.

Police cuts. WCCO reports:St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell says Mayor Melvin Carter is asking for the police department to cut $9.2 million from its budget. … In an email sent to St. Paul police employees Friday, Axtell said he already shared with the mayor his ‘disappointment and urged him to reconsider.’ Meanwhile, he acknowledged that St. Paul is facing significant budget issues and it requires difficult decisions from the mayor.”

Rebuilding in north Minneapolis. At MPR, Melissa Townsend  report: “North Minneapolis was hit hard in the uprising following the police killing of George Floyd in May. The destruction spread to more than 100 businesses. Many of them, like Yuan Yuan, are locally owned shops that were already flat on their backs from the economic fallout from COVID-19. And there are significant barriers to some businesses getting back on their feet. … But a fund is coming that could offer help. The West Broadway Business and Area Coalition is working with Northside Economic Opportunity Network, Black Women’s Wealth Alliance, the Northside Funders Group and others to distribute more than $2 million to local businesses.

Cost of country living. The West Central Tribune’s Tom Cherveny reports: “Wages in rural Minnesota may lag behind those in the metropolitan area, but they do go farther. … When wages are compared to the cost of living, some rural areas of the state actually enjoy an advantage over the Twin Cities metropolitan area, where living costs are much higher. … These are the findings released during a webinar hosted Wednesday by the Center for Rural Policy and Development in St. Peter.”

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In other news…

Driving funding problems:With little traffic congestion, drivers skip MnPass lanes” [Star Tribune]

Visitors from Iowa:Couple caught taking down Black Lives Matter sign in northern Minnesota” [City Pages]

Essay from Marlon James on racism in Minnesota:Minnesota author Marlon James: Despite fame, whites still see him as threatening” [Star Tribune]