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Changing of the Guard: Watkins, Jett Give Joint ‘State of the District’

Photo by WJON.com’s Jim Maurice

ST. CLOUD – Outgoing St. Cloud Superintendent Bruce Watkins was joined by incoming Superintendent Willie Jett this (Thursday) evening, to deliver the annual State of the District address.

Watkins and Jett reviewed legislation passed by the State Legislature earlier this year, including an increase in per pupil aid of 1.5 percent, and funding for all day kindergarten.

They also talked about challenges facing the district, including class size, facility needs and overcrowding, and improving the academic achievement.

The St. Cloud Area school district covers 250 square miles, in parts of four counties.  It has 85 bus routes, with buses traveling a total of 1.7 million miles every school year.

Fifty-two percent of the students in the district receive free and reduced lunches, compared to the statewide average of 33 percent.

Sixty-seven percent of the students in the district are white, 21 percent are black.  Nearly 1,300 students in the district needed help last year learning English.  There are 49 languages spoken by the students in the district.

Watkins’ last day on the job will be this Sunday.  He was with the District from 2004 through 2008, and again from 2010 through now.

Jett officially takes over on Monday.  He says he’s bought a house here, and he’s enrolled his two kids in the school district for the coming school year.

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