SARTELL -- The Sartell-St. Stephen School Board took their first step in addressing education equity in the district.

During Monday's meeting, the board approved a contract agreement with Equity Alliance MN to conduct an equity audit. The Woodbury-based consultants work with schools to research and develop plans to provide equitable education for all students.

The proposal agreement would include reviewing the district's own data, structures and policies, building and classroom observations, surveys from students and staff and community conversations when it comes to racist and other discriminatory issues.

Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert says there is no official start date for the equity audit, but the hope is to get started before the end of the year.

The agreement with Equity Alliance MN is for roughly $80,000, with the cost covered by the COVID relief funding.

The firm has worked with districts including Northfield, Monticello, Inver Grove Heights, Roseville, White Bear Lake, and South St. Paul.

The school boards they appreciate the feedback from the community and continue to strive to make the school district a caring and supportive environment for all students.

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