Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District officials are on-track to finalize a plan for possible school closures, grade restructuring and boundary changes in December. Events to gather public input are set to begin next month.
The Board of Education expects a recommended plan for closures on Nov. 14 before a final plan vote on Dec. 12. A public hearing on the proposal, required by state law, is scheduled for Dec. 4.
Before then, several public focus groups will center around "identifying the criteria that should be used in selecting which schools to close, as well as identifying questions and concerns that will need to be addressed," the district said in a news release.
The meetings are scheduled as follows:
- Eagle Ridge Middle School on Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. for families from Eagle Ridge, M.W. Savage, Hidden Valley and Harriet Bishop school attendance areas.
- Metcalf Middle School on Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. for families from Metcalf, Sioux Trail, William Byrne, Rahn and Sky Oaks school attendance areas.
- Nicollet Middle School on Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. for families from Nicollet, Edward Neill, Gideon Pond, Sky Oaks and Vista View school attendance areas.
Focus groups will also cater to Spanish- and Somali-speakers. Those will be held at the Diamondhead Education Center:
- Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. for groups facilitated in Spanish.
- Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. for groups facilitated in Somali.
Residents can also give their thoughts online at www.isd191.org/facilities.
A review completed by a consultant this summer found underused facilities significantly contributed to the district’s financial strain, which has led to millions of dollars in spending cuts. It recommended closing two elementary schools and one middle school and selling the Diamondhead Education Center at the end of next school year.
Eight schools operate significantly under capacity when compared to state standards, according to the review, but Assistant Superintendent Brian Gersich said earlier this month any elementary and middle school could close.
Dr. Roger Worner, a consultant with over 20 years of experience and an expert on facility planning, will oversee the process and guarantee the oversight of a neutral, third-party, Gersich said.
The facilities review process is one part of a plan to realign district operations with its needs, according to the news release. Other components of the plan include the fall levy referendum election in November, program innovation and financial management.
"These steps will provide an integrated approach to addressing the district's challenges, including declining enrollment, chronic state and federal under-funding, schools/buildings that are operating under capacity, and perceptions of safety/student discipline issues, all while continuing its commitment to innovative programming through VisionOne91," the district's website reads.