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District 833 School Board delays East Ridge transfer policy decision amid parent concerns

When Bill and Kris Johnson of Woodbury were approved to transfer their son, Alex, out of the Woodbury High School attendance area into East Ridge High School's area, they expected their daughter, Lauren, would also be allowed to go to there.

But a possible change in the district transfer policy, discussed at the Nov. 3 District 833 School Board workshop, would end transfers to East Ridge because of space concerns.

The Johnsons and other parents who spoke at the Nov. 17 School Board meeting are asking for an exception to allow siblings of students already at the new high school to attend.

George Behr said having students at different high schools would be like breaking up the family.

There are 1,717 students at East Ridge this year with a building capacity of 1,875, according to Keith Ryskoski, assistant superintendent for secondary education.

Potential housing growth, with streets and services currently being built around the school will add more students, he said.

There are 48 transfer students at East Ridge but not all of them have younger siblings, according to Ryskoski.

There were 85 requests from in-district schools for this year's ninth-grade class but only 23 were accepted.

Trish and Bill Sterling of Cottage Grove have a daughter who was planning on transferring to East Ridge next year from St. Ambrose Catholic School in Woodbury to take bio-medical classes as part of the Project Lead the Way engineering program.

Project Lead the Way is at East Ridge and Woodbury high schools but not at Park where their daughter would be slated to go.

East Ridge is the only school to offer the four biomedical classes but students from the other two high schools are allowed to take classes that are not offered at their home schools, Ryskoski said.

There is no sibling preference policy for secondary schools, he said.

Board members said they were not ready to make a decision and need more information about how many students would be affected if an exception were made.

The board is expected to discuss changes and approve a policy at the Dec. 15 meeting.

The deadline for transfer requests to middle and high schools is Jan. 15.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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