Southern Elementary School Attendance Boundaries
Feb. 15, 2017 Update
As planned, the South Elementary Attendance Boundary steering committee and task force finalized their recommendation for boundary changes to go into effect in the fall of 2018. A presentation to the School Board on Feb. 2 had a total of 117 students proposed to change from Grey Cloud Elementary to Crestview Elementary in the fall of 2018, when Nuevas Fronteras is slated to move to the existing Oltman Middle School.
Prior to the presentation, however, the Board heard from district administration about a proposed plan of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. The railroad is planning a 6,000-car staging lot in the southern part of the school district that would cause as many as 260 semi-trailer trucks to pass by the new Nuevas Fronteras site daily.
While the Board can appreciate the need to move forward with the recommendation for southern elementary boundaries, there are enough questions about the new Nuevas Fronteras site to delay a decision. The meeting concluded with plans for administration to seek an understanding of the impact to the air quality of the school because of the increased truck traffic. The school is slated to open with two phases of remodeling in the fall of 2018 and 2019. Proceeds from the 2015 bond referendum are allowing the district to repurpose the existing Oltman Middle into and elementary school for Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion. It is anticipated that the south elementary attendance boundary decision could be delayed by as much as two months depending on the timing of the impact review.
The southern elementary boundaries, as recommended, would move neighborhoods C-16, C-18 and C-19 to Crestview Elementary. With the uncertain pace of development in the Pine Hill attendance boundary, changes proposed would be implemented when growth begins to impact the population of Pine Hill.
Since the Feb. 2 School Board meeting, the district is learning that BNSF railroad is delaying the construction of the car staging lot at lease for the remainder of 2017. The implications to this decision are being considered and district conversations are ongoing.
As the School Board continues to ensure balanced enrollment across the district, and allow for future growth, a Steering Committee and Task Force have been meeting to develop proposed changes to boundaries on the south end of the district. By the end of February 2017, a decision will be made and shared with those impacted. The changes will be implemented in the fall of 2018 when it is expected that the new Oltman Middle School opens and Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion moves to the existing Oltman Middle School.
The board approved the Guiding Change document at its regular meeting on Oct. 13. Detailed is the “current reality” that is prompting change. Issues in this column include:
- Crestview Elementary and Nuevas Fronteras Elementary sharing a facility causing capacity and scheduling issues at that school.
- Nuevas Fronteras is slated to move to existing Oltman as identified in the Long Range Facility Plan and 2015 bond referendum.
- New residential development along Hadley Ave between 90th and 95th street may create capacity concerns at Pine Hill Elementary in future years.
- New residential housing starts in Cottage Grove for 2017-18 and future years are estimated to be 35-50% of projections provided in 2013-14
- Capacity is stable or decreasing due to aging in place with the exception of the areas where residential growth is occurring.
- The number of Pre-K and early childhood students is increasing.
The board set the following as “unacceptable outcomes” of the options being developed. The two ‘unacceptables’ are:
- Creating a boundary plan that doesn’t allow sufficient classroom space for PreK students to attend their elementary attendance boundary school.
- Implementing a boundary plan that requires a change in elementary start times.
The overall expectation of redrawn boundaries will lead to new boundaries to begin in the fall of 2018 that lead to:
- Eliminates the sharing of a school between Crestview Elementary and Nuevas Fronteras;
- Results in a re-balancing of enrollment across the south elementary schools and more efficient use of facilities and staff;
- Maintains contiguous geographic boundaries;
- Provides for a safe and efficient transportation system;
- Allocates space for growth from only known areas of future development;
- Provide boundaries that will last for 6-10 years; and
- Moves the least number of students necessary to create lasting boundaries.
South Elementary Attendance Boundary Steering Committee
The Steering Committee, comprised of school and district administration, met five times from Sept. 15 through Nov. 22. The purpose of the Steering Committee is to develop a minimum of two recommended attendance boundary options for the southern district elementary schools based on the School Board approved guiding change document.
The group moved from four options to three prior to presenting them to the Task Force. Following the first meeting of the Task Force, two options were revised and reviewed. Following the second Task Force meeting, two options were agreed upon and were presented to the School Board for consideration on Dec. 1.
Dec. 1 School Board Report (including Option B and Option C)
South Elementary Attendance Boundary Task Force
Following the development of options, the South Elementary Attendance Boundary Task Force, comprised of parent representatives from each school and all members of the Steering Committee, met on two separate occasions.
Community Conversations have concluded - thank you to those who attended.
Two community meetings were held on Jan. 10 and 12. A powerpoint from the session is now available. Feedback on Option B and Option C listed below.
A final opportunity for public input to the School Board will be during the regular School Board Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 19. The Board meets at the District Service Center in Cottage Grove, 7362 E. Pt. Douglas Road S.
With a recommendation being presented to the Board at their meeting on Thursday, Feb. 2, a decision on the South Elementary Attendance Boundaries is anticipated at the Feb. 16 School Board Meeting.
Questions about the South Elementary Attendance Boundaries should be addressed to Assistant Superintendent Mike Johnson at email@example.com