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Osseo School Proposal Reduces Crowded Basswood Elementary, Angers Some Parents

Residents are invited to learn more about the proposed boundary adjustment by attending an information session in Basswood’s Media Center on Tuesday or Friday.

Basswood Elementary.
Basswood Elementary.

Osseo Schools are considering a boundary adjustment proposal that will reduce overcrowding at Basswood Elementary. But this proposal has made some parents of the 149 affected Basswood students angry.

Some Maple Grove residents' assigned elementary school will be Oak View Elementary instead of Basswood Elementary effective July 1. Pending School Board approval on Jan. 21 at 6 p.m., Oak View will serve students in grades K-6 beginning in 2014-2015.

"I have a first grade son who is devastated that he may have to leave the school that he’s come to love," said Rachel La Fleur. "We will now be forced to leave the school which is less than two miles from our house – straight up Vicksburg, through only 1 stoplight – and take him to a school 5 miles away. Basswood is the closest school to Plymouth, so it makes no sense that we are getting rezoned." 

Residents are invited to learn more about the proposed boundary adjustment by attending an information session in Basswood’s Media Center on Tuesday, Jan. 14, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. or Friday, Jan. 17, from 8-9 a.m. District staff will provide information and answer questions.  

Over the past few years, student enrollment at Basswood has grown, particularly in the lower elementary grades. In addition, with the uptick in the economy, new construction has resumed, adding two new housing developments to the current attendance area, according to the district. 

"Many families believe that the process that has unfolded is deceitful as there was no communication with or feedback collected from any families in census area 284 prior to the recommendation being provided to the School Board," said Chad Wieneke, a parent of a fifth grade student at Basswood and a 2014-2015 kindergartener.

"It should be noted that Basswood is one of the top two performing schools out of 17 elementary schools in District 279 as measured by MCA test scores, whereas Oak View Elementary ranks in the bottom 40 percent (11th out of 17) of the district by the same MCA test score measure," Wieneke added.

Fifth- and sixth-graders may choose to stay at Basswood until they advance to secondary school, and the school district would continue to transport them to Basswood. 

Even if they have older siblings who are choosing to remain at Basswood, students entering grades K-4 in Fall 2014 would attend Oak View, along with the fifth and sixth graders who choose to attend Oak View instead of Basswood. Open enrollment to Basswood will be closed in order to stabilize enrollment. 

“We are looking forward to our opportunity to learn about the process and input that Ms. Reisgraf and Ms. Maguire utilized to make their recommendation to reassign census area 284 to Oak View Elementary," Wieneke said. "In addition, we expect to hear from District Administration regarding the short and long term strategy for Oak View Elementary as well as the long term vision for our overall school district.”

La Fleur believes there was no forethought into this plan.

"Make a move this year, move sixth grade out next year, then possibly more changes," she said. "All of these are detrimental to the young children who are trying to get a great education. Trust, consistency and a strong relationship with their school are all components of success. Strong communities equal strong schools, and that’s what we have here." 

So far, over 400 concerned residents have signed an online petition entitles called 'Basswood Elementary Boundary Petition."

From the district: "At this time, administration has not developed any specific high school boundary adjustment proposals. A rumor is circulating that inaccurately assumes that an elementary boundary adjustment under consideration at this time to address overcrowding (moving one census area from Basswood to Oak View Elementary) also includes a high school reassignment to Osseo Senior High. This rumor is not accurate."

There's more going on during the boundary adjustment than Basswood, a separate proposed boundary adjustment would reassign Census Area 265 from North View Junior High to Maple Grove Junior High, creating a consistent junior high advancement pattern for students at Cedar Island, according to the district.

Find more information from the district here.

• Also see What You Need To Know About The Basswood Elementary Boundary Proposal

Is this fair? Do you thing think the district gave parents enough notification? Tells us below.

Lee January 14, 2014 at 10:57 PM
I also can't help but notice that you don't address my other points which address the logic of this move. If this involved your children, would you really just let it happen? If so, fair enough.
anonymous January 15, 2014 at 12:29 AM
Ok - here's my shot at answering Lee's questions 1) The initial recommendations for reconfiguration came out in December, with the boundary proposals in early January, and the final vote will come out the end of January. How much time would have been enough? I doubt a few more days, weeks, or months would change many minds 2) This is a valid point. But forcing open-enroll kids out of Basswood would require a policy change that could affect students across the entire district 3) Look at a map. OV and CI pretty much share a playground. They are right next to each other. Kids that live within walking distance of OV also live within walking distance of CI. There aren't enough students in that area to feed both schools so CI - the older of the two schools was kept as a neighborhood school, and OV kids have historically all been bused. Before the campus school decision in 2008, the OV boundaries were very close to what is being proposed for the 2014-15 school year. 4) Rush Creek is close to being overcrowded as well. Instead of moving one area from Basswood to OV, you are now suggesting that BW kids get moved to RC, which would then result in some RC kids getting pushed to FB, which would then cause some FB kids to get shifted to RL, and so on.. all because Basswood parents don't want their kids attending, "THAT school" with "THOSE people"?
Laura January 15, 2014 at 12:31 AM
Mark Kulda- I just wanted to comment that you are partially correct when you say the 2008 parent group only got 1 member on the Board. You are correct that Dean Henke was the only one elected in 2008, from the Dist279United group. However, the following year, one of the founding members and the treasurer of that parent group were elected onto the School Board. Therefore, 3 members of the Dist279United Parent Group, are current members of the 6 member Board.
dan January 15, 2014 at 11:54 PM
I'm confused. Basswood is overcrowd and they need to move some kids to other schools. If census area 284 gets their way and they are left in Basswood, who moves and where do they go? Why is this area more important than any other area in Basswood? This area is between areas that now go to Oakview. Seems like a no brainer to move this area.
Lee January 16, 2014 at 09:45 AM
Dan - I dont' pretend to have all (or any!) of the answers, but among the suggestions I have heard were to a) expand Basswood, either temporarily (via trailers) or permanently; b) stop open enrolling kids and let the kids who live in the district stay in their school, perhaps shifting those kids to their regular schools (or perhaps simply refusing future open enrollees would be enough); c) find temporary solutions to the overcrowding for the time being until the grade reconfigurations work themselves out (which should result in fewer kids in Basswood as 6th grade moves to the Jr. High.); or d) build or acquire additional school space in the areas that are growing and feeding into Basswood (west of Vicksburg/Fish Lake Road, etc.) I have no idea if they would work, or if they are affordable, but it does not appear they were considered. Perhaps I'm wrong.

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