SARTELL -- Sartell-St. Stephen Superintendent Jeff Ridlehoover says the reason behind Monday nights decision to cut ties with the organization they hired to conduct an equity audit came down to putting the focus back on the students.

The board and community have been disappointed and frustrated with how Equity Alliance MN has handled this process and felt it was best to move on.

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Ridlehoover says this doesn't mean the work is finished, but instead their retooling how they plan to tackle the district's equity issues.

We know we have things we need to address. Our students and families have made that clear over the years and we are going to be working on creating a better environment for all of our students.

Ridlehoover says they are currently working on the next steps to move forward, which includes forming a District Equity and Student Experience Committee of parents, students, community members and staff to help address the issues with their schools.

We've already started the process of a working group getting together to decided here are the next steps moving forward, here's what the application process will look like, tentative meeting dates, possible agendas and provide a clear direction.

Once the application process and other details are finalized, the district will connect with families so they are aware and have the opportunity to apply.

Ridlehoover says he and the board remain dedicated to making sure all students are able to succeed and are confident this new committee will play a key role in making that success possible.


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