Board to delay decision on school attendance boundaries

April 12, 2016

School board members will not be voting on attendance boundaries this week. A decision on boundaries was expected to be made during the April 14 school board meeting. Instead the board members on Thursday night will consider a resolution staying all further actions by the district and its staff under the district’s “BOLD” plan pending resolution of the Court of Appeals.

The request comes from 834 Voice, an organization that has brought suit against district leaders regarding the school board’s recent decision to reduce under-utilized space by closing three elementary schools and investing more money in direct services to our students.

If board members choose to approve the stay resolution, a decision on boundaries and all other BOLD related planning would be stopped until the Court of Appeals rules on the suit. The appeals court briefing should be completed in early-August and district counsel expects it would be sometime between November 2016 and January 2017 before a decision on the case is made. If the board votes down the stay, it is expected it would vote on boundary changes at its next meeting. Voting down the stay would also allow district staff to continue planning to help students, families and staff transition to new school communities in the fall of 2017.

A committee of parents and staff representing all of the district’s elementary and junior high schools has been meeting since March to create a boundary change recommendation. Learn more at Hundreds of parents from across the district provided feedback on proposed boundary changes during community conversations in March. Many of the families, especially those interested in alternate enrollment options, asked for a decision on boundary changes to be made quickly to provide time for them to make arrangements for their children.

Boundary adjustments are necessary not just as a result of school closures, but because of several changes taking place at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

  • Sixth graders moving to middle schools
  • Sale of Valley Crossing Community School to South Washington County Schools
  • Construction of a new elementary school
  • Overcrowding at Lake Elmo Elementary
  • Closure of Marine, Oak Park and Withrow elementary schools

The school board will discuss and act on the proposed stay during its regular board meeting, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Stillwater City Hall. The meeting will also be broadcast live at and on Cable Channel 15. A listening session will be held prior to the meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m.