Most members of the Prior Lake-Savage Area School Board said they generally favor an elementary school attendance boundary option that would mainly affect Five Hawks, Jeffers Pond and Grainwood elementary schools.
The board during a study session Monday said it will conduct its final June 10 vote on elementary school attendance boundaries for 2020 on with its original three options, including one labeled C4, the one several members favor.
C4 would swap neighborhoods from Spring Lake Regional Park to Highway 79 from Five Hawks to Jeffers Pond. Developments in a large stretch from southern Prior Lake to St. Catherine and McMahon lakes would swap from Grainwood to Five Hawks.
One of two extra proposals, C2, was favored by several parents attending board meetings and by board members Mary Frantz and Melissa Enger. The board Monday voted down repeated suggestions from Enger to discuss adding options or removing an option for which no members showed support.
The board will decide among options B1, C1 and C4.
“Some of the options, like C2, everybody jumped on,” Frantz said. “I’m not sure why that wasn’t brought forward.”
The options would set attendance boundaries for the new Hamilton Ridge Elementary School, set to open in 2020, and change which neighborhoods attend several others.
Superintendent Teri Staloch said the process changed as more community input was gathered; for instance, C4 was added. Frantz and Enger said they don’t support C4.
Staloch explained why some school capacity projections, an important factor in the boundary decision, changed over the last several months, something that raised some questions among parents.
At the beginning of the process, SAGE students, about 120 total, were not factored into enrollment numbers and had their own line item in board presentations. They’ve been factored into the capacity numbers since the end of April, however, thus updating the percentages.
For example, the Westwood Elementary 2020-2021 capacity utilization percentage changed from 59 percent to 77 percent in the C4 option, the largest such change.
Staloch also said 2019-2020 numbers were removed in later documents because Hamilton Ridge will not open until 2020. The district asked research firm TeamWorks International to re-run capacity projections to ensure it was accurate, Staloch said.
She said the board would likely be considering the same options if SAGE had been factored into the early capacity numbers.
“As a design team, we said we are very confident that either C1 or C3 would have come forward as an option,” Staloch said.
School staff, community members and city representatives reviewed several boundary options in the input team.
B1 and C1, the original plans favored by the team, would redistrict neighborhoods from southeast of the Eagle Creek Avenue and Highway 13 intersection northward to Hamilton Ridge instead of Redtail Ridge Elementary School, among other changes.
Option B1 would separate the Carriage Hills development from Jeffers Pond, a frequently contentious topic among parents attending recent school board meetings. An area around Spring Lake Regional Park would be redistricted from Five Hawks to Jeffers Pond.
C1 would redistrict the same area to Westwood Elementary School.
The board added C4 as a voting option May 6. Board Member Jonathan Drewes on Monday said adding or removing still more options would delay the board vote.
“I’ve wrestled with considering adding other options,” Drewes said. “If I consider other options, am I choosing to do that because I really think we need them or because I want to (for public perception)? Perception is the wrong reason for us to do things. The harder we try to make everybody happy, the more likely we are that we don’t make anybody happy.”