There are winners and losers when redrawing elementary school boundaries. Here is what I believe to be the unfortunate truth.
Our school district has felt the effect of a growing community crossed with the thirst for open enrollment. Because of poor planning, our schools have been packed with in-district and open-enrolled students who all deserve reasonable class space and learning opportunities.
If open enrollment had been properly addressed years ago, we would likely not be in the position to pass massive referendums resulting in the strong possibility of moving our in-district elementary students to the other side of the city. All of this to accommodate the prospect of new open enrollees from Shakopee, Jordan and Burnsville.
In fact, open enrollment forms to PLSAS have been included in the new home sales literature for some homes in Burnsville, Shakopee and Lakeville.
The proposed redrawn district lines were created by a group of school officials and citizens referred to as the design team and input team. The teams created multiple maps with an assortment of boundary lines. Eventually, three plans made the cut, and the board will vote one of them in during the next board meeting.
What a majority of people don’t know, or maybe don’t care about, is that from the beginning, the design team was provided the wrong numbers from school leadership. From the beginning, all of the plans were based on numbers that weren’t even real.
This is not a knock on the design team or input team, who volunteered their time to come up with a sensible solution. After all, they didn’t come up with the numbers. After the numbers error was discovered, the correct numbers were inputted into the three plans that the board will be voting on in the upcoming school board meeting. The plans that didn’t make the cut? Those apparently don’t matter, even though they were drawn based on the wrong information. There are better solutions. We’ve seen them.
We were told at a recent board meeting that we need to respect the work of the design and input team only because citizens are questioning the flawed process. This isn’t about the input and design team, they didn’t get the numbers wrong. Our leaders did. This is about our leaders. As stakeholders, it’s our job to hold them accountable. If we don’t, it’s our kids that lose.