Background On Boundary Changes
Why change boundaries?
Elementary schools in the south - including Brookview, Lake Elmo, Andersen and Afton-Lakeland - are at or near capacity, while Rutherford, Stonebridge and Lily Lake are below capacity. Oak-Land Middle School is also nearing its capacity. Demographic studies are showing growth in Woodbury and Lake Elmo over the next several years that will further strain the capacity of southern buildings.
Why are boundary changes being made now? What's the urgency?
With an influx of new homes being constructed in Lake Elmo and Woodbury, we’ve known that boundary changes were imminent. Lake Elmo Elementary is the pressure point. It is already overcrowded, and as of next year, will not have enough classrooms for current students. Plans were underway to start the boundary change process during the 2019-2020 school year, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the process was delayed. Earlier this year the school board directed administration to form a boundary committee to develop a recommendation to help address the overcrowding at Lake Elmo.
Will boundary changes solve the space challenges in the southern part of the district?
The goal of the Boundary Committee is to create a boundary change solution that will last at least 5 years. This would ensure that a student would be able to stay within a school building for their entire elementary career. Boundaries were last changed in 2016, and before that, they were changed in 2011. The 3 proposed options would help with the immediate space challenges at Lake Elmo to varying degrees. While Option A disrupts the least amount of students, both Options B and C better utilize space in other district schools, which may help with the longevity of the boundary plan.
Why aren’t we building a new school or expanding the southern schools?
Earlier this year the school board voted to expand Brookview Elementary School to create more space for growth in Woodbury. This new 250-student addition to the school will open in the fall. The Community Design Team also recommended a new school be built in Lake Elmo to help with future growth. To construct a new building would require voter approval of a bond. Even if a bond were approved today, it would take several years before a building could be constructed and ready to open.
Why not move the Amigos Unidos Dual Language Spanish Immersion program out of Lake Elmo Elementary School?
There is not enough room in any of our elementary schools to absorb the Amigos Unidos program - which will serve 250 students next year. Keeping it at Lake Elmo, or moving it to any other existing school, means having to displace other resident students. Moving the program to the former Oak Park School has been discussed, but would come at a cost not currently in the budget. Reopening the building would require a considerable one-time investment to upgrade the facility, as well as ongoing operating costs to provide a principal and support staff to run the program. Amigos Unidos was designed to be a dual immersion program, serving both heritage Spanish-speaking students and native English speakers. It was intentionally placed at Lake Elmo Elementary because the school is home to the largest concentration of Spanish-speaking students.
Why are the neighborhoods north of County Road 14 in Lake Elmo moving to Rutherford? And why is Lake Elmo Elementary not even located within its new boundary?
Lake Elmo Elementary is located at the very northern edge of its boundary and is located north of its current population center. (In the future, if a new school was constructed to replace Lake Elmo it would ideally be located further south). Over the next few years more than 400 new homes will be constructed just north of County Road 14 in the area surrounding Lake Elmo Elementary. There is just not room in the school to accommodate current and future growth. Rutherford has space and can absorb students from that area to relieve pressure on Lake Elmo.
How can I know for certain which boundary our home is located in?
Please contact the district receptionist at 651-351-8340 to find out what neighborhood your home is located in.
Are middle school boundaries impacted?
Elementary schools will continue to feed into the same middle schools. However, some neighborhoods may be reboundaried to new elementary schools, which could impact where they go to middle school. Next year’s 8th grade students to be allowed to remain in their current school so they can finish out their final year in that building.