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Editorial: Get involved in District 833 southern elementary attendance boundary discussion


Changing a school boundary is one of the toughest — and emotionally involved — decisions school board members make.

The task is inevitable in a growing district, such as South Washington County Schools, but the process is never easy. The district tries to balance enrollment across a number of schools, taking into account building space, geography, budget and other concerns. A goal always is to minimize the number of affected students.

Still, those plans can conflict with parent preferences, especially for those who move to a certain city or neighborhood hoping their children will attend a particular school, or for a parent whose child may have to move from one school to another due to a boundary change. Parents should know attendance boundaries never are cast in stone, but they should also have confidence that the process is designed to minimize disruption.

MORE: School District 833 plans south elementary boundary change meetings

The district is developing new boundaries for elementary schools in Cottage Grove, and it's reached the step when parent input is most helpful — and, perhaps, most influential.

The "South Elementary Attendance Boundary" changes under consideration affect Armstrong, Cottage Grove, Grey Cloud, Crestview, Hillside, Pine Hill, Pullman and Nuevas Fronteras Spanish immersion schools. Some of those buildings are at or near capacity, while others have extra space.

There are two plans under consideration, each affecting multiple schools. One plan would move 132 students, the other 183, according to district estimates. The district has made boundary changes that affected far more students, but that does not matter to families affected by this re-alignment.

Parents affected by the change, or even those who aren't but have had experience with other boundary changes, should provide input. There are two upcoming opportunities to do so: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, at Park High School's lecture hall and 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, also at Park's lecture hall.

The District 833 School Board also will take public input at its Thursday, Jan. 19, meeting, prior to a decision Feb. 2.

Get involved, offer your thoughts on the proposals. Be part of making a new boundary plan that earns a good grade all around.