New Basswood Proposal Means Census Area 284 Will Stay

Because the majority of open-enrolled students at Basswood Elementary were originally assigned to Oak View and Cedar Island, the school board is talking about moving the open-enrolled to Oak View.

From Osseo Area Schools.
From Osseo Area Schools.
One thing is clear: Basswood Elementary is overcrowded, and something needs to be done about it.

As the district continues to address Basswood Elementary overcrowding, the Osseo Area School Board met Tuesday, Jan. 21 for a public work session in which the district's open enrollment policy was discussed, specifically related to overcrowding at Basswood.

Superintendent Kate Maguire has a revised proposal in which Census Area 284 would stay at Basswood, and open-enrolled students at Basswood would be moved to Oak View. Fifth and sixth grade open enrollees would be allowed to stay, if they choose.

Here's why:

After research was completed, staff found that 51 students who are open-enrolled to Basswood from Oak View and Cedar Island. In Census Area 284, 109 students in Kindergarten through fourth grade would have been reassigned to Oak View. 

"The logic of moving students from a Basswood attendance area to Oak View, and allowing students from Oak View and Cedar Island to remain at Basswood just no longer held," said Barbara Olson, the director of school and community relations for Osseo Area Schools.

Olson continued: "We have had a very liberal open enrollment policy for 10 years– we encourage choice. Our policy has been in place for 10 years and our procedures have worked well for 10 years. But this situation is a little unique because of the number of families that already are open-enrolled to Basswood from the school we are proposing to move Basswood families to."

Olson said the district will not need to make an open-enrollment policy change, but will make some changes to procedure.

"(This situation) is causing us to look at our procedures – which are administrative procedures, not board policy," Olson said. She added that they've already identified some areas where they can be more clear with open-enrolled families, such as on open enrollment application forms, on the status of schools within the district.

There are two information sessions for Basswood open-enrolled parents (the proposal affects those open-enrolled to Basswood only) to learn more about the discussion at the work session:
  • Friday, Jan. 24 from 8-9 a.m., Basswood Media Center
  • Monday, Jan. 27 from 5:30-6:30 pm, Basswood Cafeteria

The board will take action on the proposal at a regular board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28, beginning at 6 p.m.

"The revised recommendation is still a very challenging prospect because it involves disrupting families from a school they love," Olson said. 

Other than fifth and sixth graders who would have the choice to stay at Basswood, all open-enrollees would be assigned to Oak View. Families could decide to send their students to Oak View, return to their regular attendance-area school or apply to open enroll at another school in the district.

The board also plans to return Cedar Island, Fair Oaks and Oak View to a grade configuration that matches other elementary schools in the district.

Does this revised proposal make sense to you? Why or why not? Tell us below in the comments.

Also see: 

Concerned Parent January 22, 2014 at 12:26 PM
So interesting how the school district is now just concerned about the number of kids who left Cedar Island/Oak View. Families have been telling the district for years that there is an issue with the campus model, but it fell on deaf ears. Why did they continue to accept kids at Basswood this year if the school was too full. You took 17 kindergarten kids for 2013. That is a lot and now you are asking them to move. The comments by the district officials make it seem like this was an "easy" choice. Parents already made the hard decision to move kids the first time because the district messed with our neighborhood schools and now it's like just do it again. We didn't choose Basswood because of the "rankings" we chose it because it was close and we could open enroll. If the school district had been on top of this our kids could have gone to another school that wasn't full and we wouldn't have this issue today. Nothing like slapping us in the face 2 times. My older child doesn't have a home school to return to (Cedar Island will not have her grade next year) and although she is being allowed to stay her younger sibling is being made to leave. We will have 2 kids in 2 schools with 2 different start times what a hardship for us and the few other families that are in the situation. What about making the exception for the few that have older kids staying that they let the younger ones remain? It can't be that many kids and it would certainly help those families.
anonymous January 22, 2014 at 01:20 PM
@Concerned Parent - unless your children are 2 yrs or less apart in age, different schools with different start times will become your reality for the next 6-7 years once your older child enters jr. high/middle school. I agree that the lack of foresight coming into this year has led to this tough situation. Why Basswood was not closed to open enrollment makes no sense. "Fixing" the broken campus model is a step in the right direction. I shudder to think of the firestorm that is about to occur when the decision is made to move to the 9-12 model at the high schools. Looking at the high school map, the areas that make most sense to possibly shift over to Osseo High School are 284, or the western census areas assigned to Oak View and/or Rice Lake.
Concerned Parent January 22, 2014 at 05:59 PM
Yes that might be true, but typically people don't have to deal with that at the elementary schools. I can't leave an elementary kid alone. A Jr or Middle school kid could be home longer. I would have choose a different school if I wasn't able to get both our kids in.
Osseo/MG Parent January 23, 2014 at 10:50 AM
@ Concerned Parent - Due to the change in Oak View & Cedar Island, years ago - my kids will only be in the same school for 2 of their 12 years. It seems like a hassle at first - but it all works out. I just wish the school board would've left the OV/CI/FO schools the way they were to begin with and then we could've alleviated the overcrowding at Basswood. Reconfiguring those 3 schools seems like it did nothing to save money for the district. It's not like they consolidated schools and were able to close one. All 3 are still open - they just shuffled kids around between them which made no sense and frustrated MANY families. The new proposal seems like a good idea and putting OV/CI/FO back to their original configuration seems like it would work - just not sure why it ever happened in the first place. Too late to help my family - but hopefully it will help others from having to move between multiple schools.
Sharon Sobocinski January 23, 2014 at 02:50 PM
Osseo/MG Parent - January 23,2014 I totally agree with the above parent!!! My children all attended Cedar Island before all the changes were made. We lived within walking distance to either OakView or Cedar Island. Cedar Island was a wonderful educational experience as well as community builder with families. I believe that to be true of Oak View as well! I NEVER understood why the change up had to be with Fair Oaks, Cedar Island and Oak View. Nothing good was accomplished in shuffling around neighborhood students to schools not in their census area. Kids would rather have classmates in elementary live in their neighborhoods than far away! What happened to common sense?!! What happened to "community building" for support of the elementary school in the census area?
anonymous January 23, 2014 at 02:58 PM
The answer is pretty simple. Fair Oaks was a "failed" school based on the NCLB rules, and got to a point where the school district had to do something to "fix" the school, or be faced with it being taken over by the state. Their solution was the campus school model where the 4th-6th grade kids would get bused to a school with higher test scores, hoping that this would magically result in the kids from FO to get higher test scores. There was very little thought put into the logistics of bringing kids together from 3 different schools. The teachers were just told to figure it out on their own. Many teachers left for other schools and a number of families open enrolled their kids to the Weaver STEM, Wayzata, Basswood, etc.... Moving OV back to the pre-campus model is a very good decision. It's too bad that it took 6 years to figure this out.
Concerned Parent January 23, 2014 at 08:00 PM
I agree with all of you, but once again they are making the lives of this area difficult. It wasn't our fault that we had to move our kids to a school away from our neighborhood school. We would have rather kept them there, but the environment and enrichment was not there. Cedar Island yes, Oak View no. It will be better and I support the change, However just because someone made an oops and forgot to stop letting kids into another school doesn't make it just an easy decision. It is a unique situation and they have only come up with 2 options. 1-Move a boundary or 2-move the open enrolled kids. There are other options and the board wanted to hear them however, the district officials just gave them 2. They just said they won't work or there isn't time. There is no long term planning in this district and they are messing with too many families. Basswood has been full for a while but they opened enrolled at least 20+ kids this year. There are other full schools too but they hesitated to mention them at the meeting because of all of this. What a mess.
Mikhail Dzhon January 24, 2014 at 01:16 PM
Superintendent Mcguire's (and her Administration) handling of this issue has been secretive and non-transparent from the beginning. Many people have begun to question her judgement and executive abilities. Wither her relationship with many parents now destroyed, her ability to lead this District is now in jeopardy.


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