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On May 6, the School Board will vote on proposed boundary changes to the K-5 elementary schools. According to an outside consulting firm, hired to help them through the process of change, the two options they will vote on are both satisfactory. If that is the case, and both options have been thoroughly vetted by the design team and deemed acceptable, the decision can only be based on the number of displaced households.

There are 475 households being displaced from Jeffers Pond in one of the options. Jeffers Pond was built for the neighborhood of Carriage Hills/Knob Hill. It is across the street from Jeffers Pond.

Option C1 is the correct decision to keep this neighborhood in proximity to their school.

The neighborhood of Northwood Meadows is being displaced in both options. However, it is not being displaced from Jeffers Pond. That neighborhood is currently in the boundary of Five Hawks and has never been included in the Jeffers Pond boundary. There has never been a house purchased in this neighborhood with the expectation of going to Jeffers Pond. Further, there can be no argument that this neighborhood is further from Jeffers Pond than Carriage Hills/Knob Hill.

Is there a way we can send both neighborhoods to Jeffers Pond? Probably. But as transparent as the district decision-makers would like us to perceive this, we are missing crucial information. The board will not be able to see displacement statistics, transportation times, traffic increases etc.

I see a possible solution being to move the eastern boundary of Jeffers Pond to exclude the new Trillium Cove. That neighborhood is unfinished. We won’t get objections from homes not yet occupied. The terminus would become the north/south Raven Court. This leaves Carriage Hills/Knob Hill intact. And by the few statistics I’m able to glean, it would provide space to include the displaced Five Hawks homes in the Jeffers Pond boundary.

It is tough to look at any of the options, including those that have been shelved, and not think that there is an underlying and biased agenda. It seems that there is a push to keep the percentage of capacity equal across the schools.

I can’t help but to think that this is to put our system in the best position to accept open-enrolled students. Are we scared to put Jeffers Pond to full capacity because our dangling-carrot school won’t be available to families that pay taxes elsewhere? Let’s take care of our own, then worry about open enrollees.

In my opinion, there are two options available to the Board on May 6. A vote for C1 doesn’t displace 475 families who moved here because of Jeffers Pond. The other option is to table the decision and send the design team back to the drawing board.

James Cuka

Prior Lake

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