• Letter from the Superintendent - October 13, 2017

    Dr. Jeff Holm

    Public education has long been viewed as beneficial to society and the gateway to allowing everyone the opportunity to be successful and prosperous.  A great deal of political rhetoric in the past few decades has caused Americans to become more skeptical about whether public education is a worthwhile investment.  Most of us who work in public education see the benefits of having a strong system of public education available to everyone by observing the positive growth children experience daily.  American public schools are available to students regardless of their circumstances.  I would like to share a few facts from the Minnesota School Administrators’ Association about the financial return on the investment we all experience by having strong public school systems.

    Model early childhood programs, which serve our youngest children, return $8 for every dollar invested in the programs.  The general public receives 80% of the benefit of the $8 return.  Willmar Public School District partners with other community resources, like United Way, to provide rich programming for early learners.  The State of Minnesota has also provided programs in early learning.

    When model interventions are provided for students in kindergarten through third grade, every dollar invested returns an estimated $10 in benefits. The return on a dollar invested in model interventions for students in fifth through eighth grade is estimated to be $2.92, and the return on a dollar invested in model interventions for students in high school is estimated to be $6.56.  At Willmar Public School District we are constantly working to improve the support provided to students.

    If $1,000 more was invested in each student in American public schools, there would be a 15% decrease in dropout rates and a 10% decrease in teen pregnancy rates.  High school dropouts cost society as much as $1.1 million each over their lifetime when factors like welfare, law enforcement, healthcare, and reduced earning ability are considered.  American public schools are increasing graduation rates.  In fact, in 2012 the percentage of students graduating from high school exceeded 80% for the first time ever.  Children who fail to graduate from high school are much more likely to be in the prison system and cost taxpayers significant money.  Locally, we work to provide students every opportunity to graduate with our Senior High School and Area Learning Center programs.

    We appreciate the support that the residents of Willmar Public School District provide to help us do the important work of educating our future workforce and citizens.  Our mission is essential to the long-term well-being of the community, state, and nation.  Thanks for your investment.  It pays off for all of us.
    Dr. Jeff Holm, Superintendent