Schunk makes a stop at Lyle schools

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Wednesday, March 07, 2001

LYLE – Gov. Jesse Ventura’s job is safe.

Lt. Gov. Mae Schunk said she is not interested in becoming a television commentator for the XFL.

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Schunk visited Lyle Public Schools Tuesday to keep her pledge to visit all 340 school districts in Minnesota before the end of her – and Ventura’s – four-year term in office.

At the midpoint of the term, Schunk has visited 181 school districts, according to James Garlough, the lieutenant governor’s scheduler.

Today, Schunk will visit Chatfield, Dover-Eyota and St. Charles and for Thursday, Lewiston, Plainview and Elgin-Millville are on the agenda.

On Tuesday, Lyle Public Schools was the only scheduled stop on the agenda and Superintendent Jerry Reshetar and Principal Tom Hiebert made the most of it.

Schunk met with a group of selected students from grades 5-12, plus faculty, administrators and Lyle Board of Education members.

Then, Hiebert took her on a tour of the elementary school classrooms.

A new modular format, which includes multiage groupings of students with new class scheduling, is debuting this school year in the 252-enrollment Lyle Public Schools, Mower County’s smallest, and Hiebert and Reshetar were eager to describe it to the lieutenant governor.

Schunk presented Hiebert and Reshetar with gifts from the governor, Minnesota history and resource books, and then answered reporters’ questions in a school hallway interview.

Schunk said Ventura told her when he took office: "The people’s input is important and that we are, indeed, a governor of the people, by the people and for the people."

The governor encouraged Schunk to "get out and talk to people to find out what their issues are."

Schunk said her visits to Minnesota’s school districts were a means for the Ventura administration to keep "in touch" with Minnesotans.

On the subject of school violence said despite the best intentions of communication with students, "there are always going to be kids who feel left out."

Schunk said students "need to report" those "kids who are troubled" and she observed "a lack of communications is at the root of the problem."

While school counselors can help, "We still need parents to take more control of their families.

"Counselors, teachers, administrators and parents can do all they can, but we still have some children with low self-esteem that seem doomed for failure. We have to reach out to them," she said.

She said Ventura remains "unhappy" with less-than-satisfactory results of the infusion of $100 million to reduce class sizes.

But the lieutenant governor disagreed with the governor on this subject.

"I believe schools have made efforts to reduce classroom sizes," she said. "All of the district got money to do this, but some are doing more than others."

While Twin Cities suburban school districts need more money to handle increasing enrollments, rural school districts need more money of their own to offset declining enrollments.

"What the governor and I agree is that it is hard to be equitable, so that no school district feels left out," she said. "We’re working on this. The metro schools say they need more money and so do the outstate districts and it’s only natural that where there is a concentration of the population, there is going to be a greater immediate need of those families for such special needs as English as a second language, transportation and other demands."

Asked whether she had any interest in becoming a television commentator during her free time for the new XFL football games, Schunk said, "No, not at this time."

Call Lee Bonorden at 434-2232 or e-mail him at