Rochester Public Schools Proposes Boundary Line Changes
Concern and frustration showed up among parents after communication was sent to about 150 families with children enrolled in the Rochester Public Schools. Many schools in the district are above capacity and the school district is considering boundary changes to help bring the enrollment in some schools closer to the recommended capacity level.
Changing schools is a big decision and if the proposed boundary changes go through, families will be impacted in multiple ways. New friendships, longer commute, changing teams for sports...all big issues and concerns for families and the students.
On the flip side, I'm not sure our kids are getting the best education if the school is over capacity. If you look at the info provided by the school district (see below), many of our schools are operating at this level.
Snapshot of the capacity levels of our schools. According to the powerpoint presentation by the school district:
- 7 out of 16 elementary schools in the district are operating at or under capacity.
- 1 out of 4 middle schools in the district are operating at or under capacity.
- The ALC is the only high school operating above capacity (148%).
The school district did put the information on their website and it is available to view by everyone (we have the maps below to view as well) but initial communication was only provided to families that would be impacted by the new boundaries. Because families in the community started hearing things about the changes, many went to social media. Many comments were civil as parents were trying to learn more but miscommunication was spreading as well. One comment that was posted on the Post Bulletin's Facebook page indicated that race was an issue for changes:
"Let me guess,, too many non-caucasions concentrated in one school, so the kids have to suffer a transplant into another school where they hardly know anyone..."
I reached out to John Carlson, Executive Director of Finance with Rochester Public Schools, to help get some clarification so all families in the district have accurate and clear information. He shared a few important pieces - the powerpoint presentation regarding the proposed boundary changes and the website showing the new boundaries.
"We take this process very seriously with the main goal of utilizing the space we have as best we can. Our proposed recommendations for boundary adjustments will be reviewed by the public on February 13th. We will review each piece of feedback we receive before we bring forward a recommendation to the School Board on February 20th for their consideration." - John Carlson
The school district welcomes your feedback and you can provide that to them through these options that they listed on their website:
- Fill out the “Options Feedback Form” found by clicking the button below and email it to Communications@rochester.k12.mn.us or send it via postal mail to: Edison Building, ATTN: Communications Department, 615 7th Street SW, Rochester, MN 55902. Forms will be accepted until February 14th at the close of business (5 PM).
- Plan to join a community meeting to fill out the “Options Feedback Form” in the Edison Board Room (615 7th Street SW, Rochester) on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, from 6 - 7 PM.
Information from the Rochester Public Schools regarding boundary change proposal:
- Rochester Public Schools is proposing boundary adjustments for several of our buildings (Bamber Valley, Churchill/Hoover, Elton Hills, Gibbs, Jefferson, Riverside Central, Sunset Terrace, John Adams, Kellogg, Century, and John Marshall) that would impact less than 150 families beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. If you have not received a personal letter, email, and phone call, your current boundary is not impacted.
- Website with letter from Superintendent, Michael Munoz
- Powerpoint presentation from January 30th, 2018 with building enrollments and recommended capacities
- Maps with proposed changes (also listed below)
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