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There are many reasons why option C1 would be a better choice for the school boundary issue. The distance from homes to the school, the commute times, displacement of less students, predicted capacity numbers and socioeconomic percentages are all factors in favor of choosing C1.

The distance from homes in the Carriage Hills neighborhood to Jeffers Pond is so close we can walk. In some cases, people are literally across the street. To move us across the lake, across town, just does not make sense. The commute times for parents would increase dramatically. In the morning, parents would drive an extra 15 minutes south into town just to drive 15 minutes back up towards Highway 169. They would need to do it all again on the way home, adding about an hour each day to the current commute.

Option C1 is the clear choice because it displaces half the amount of students. We want what is best for our students. Why make more children change schools if it is not necessary? With the proposed plans, the area south of County Road 82 would have to switch schools from their current Five Hawks no matter what. Why move both neighborhoods? Displacement of fewer children is better for the whole city.

Looking at the numbers, C1 leaves slightly more space at Jeffers Pond, which would allow for more space for open enrollment, in-district transfers and potential development of the farmland that is for sale on county roads 42 and 21. Wasn't one of the goals of this process to have more space at the schools preparing for potential development?

For 2020/2021, the projected capacity at Jeffers Pond with C1 is 439 students, 69 percent capacity versus 480 students, 76 percent capacity with B1. C1 would leave 41 more spaces for potential open enrollees or in district transfers. C1 is a plan that naturally might allow for more space. Choosing B1 would cause for in-district transfer requests to skyrocket. C1 might make things easier when it comes to transfer requests.

A lot of us wonder what the process will look like for in-district transfers and open enrollment. Current residents should have the first choice when it comes to transfer requests.

The final reason is that the socioeconomic statistics might even out more with C1 over B1. C1 would bring Jeffers Pond’s free and reduced price lunch percentage to 4.8 percent, which is up from only 3.9 percent in B1. C1 also brings Westwood’s free and reduced price lunch percentage down to 12.4 percent, which is down from 14.1 percent with B1.

Also, the percentage of special education evens out with C1. At Jeffers Pond, it would be 9.5 percent in B1 but go up to 11.4 percent with C1. At Westwood, in B1 it’s as high as 13.9 percent but goes down to 11.9 percent in C1. C1 makes things more even for the schools, which overall is better for students and staff.

C1 is the school boundary choice that makes the best sense for our community.

Alison Gonyer

Prior Lake


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