New Changes to come in District 112 in 2017

Times and Boundaries Revised

Conner Krenos, Journalism Staff

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The upcoming 2017-2018 school year will demand change in District 112 as the whole district will incur the time and boundary changes that will affect all schools and students. Carver County has experienced growth in housing demands that increased enrollment, which is projected to continue for several years to come. This has created enrollment imbalance and made curriculum offerings harder to sustain consistently throughout each building. School Board member Lisa Anderson, stated that “changes are needed because of overcrowding in schools and growth of local communities.” With these changes, it will force an estimated 1000 students throughout the district to transfer schools, causing the addition for a new elementary school. Start and end times will also be adjusted in order to streamline transportation costs. District 112 will open its 2017-2018 school year with multiple changes throughout the district.

Elementary schools will face the biggest changes, including balancing diversity. The balance of racial and socioeconomic status was one of the priorities included in the upcoming boundary changes. Providing all students with identical programming, while fairly budgeting free and reduced lunch in a balanced manner was a key point for boundary task force members, stated Principal and Boundary Task Force member, Nathan Slinde. In order to balance enrollment numbers and reduce overcrowding at Victoria and Clover Ridge, a new elementary school will open its doors in Carver this fall, while adding additions to the Victoria and Clover Ridge buildings. Earlier start times for a few of the schools, while staggering the times among the elementary schools in order to maintain busing costs and accommodate the transportation of  4,087 elementary students within the district, begins this fall. Clover Ridge Principal Nathan Slinde, said that, “I believe this was the best decision for the students in our district because the feedback the district has received about an early start time has been positive noting that elementary students are up early anyway, so we are losing prime educational programming time if they are not in school.” An expanding school district and the support of the public with a passed referendum created the opportunity to address concerns over imbalanced schools and overcrowding.

Middle schools will be subject to the biggest start time change, opening the doors an hour and 20 minutes later, but will have the smallest movement of students. The school district considered research in this decision, that suggested more sleep for this age group impacts learning more positively. For students, it means sleeping in and it was overwhelmingly celebrated during the public forums. Mrs. Holm, Principal at Middle School East, said, “the district believes that we will see a positive effect on attendance due to students being more awake and ready to get on the bus. Students will be more attentive and successful to start the day.” As for how the boundaries will affect middle schools, the main difference will be that Carver students will attend Pioneer Ridge rather than Middle School West. Carver students now will attend school together in elementary and middle school, which was met with wide public support. This will balance enrollment numbers and accommodate for growth among the three middle schools. Pioneer Ridge will not need to make many changes to prepare for these additional students because it was previously built and used as a high school, which will leave enough room for the incoming transfers. Middle schoolers will experience the least amount of movement from the boundary changes but will be impacted the greatest from the time revisions.

As for high schools, a ten minute earlier start time will occur and perhaps the biggest controversy coming from the public open forums, were concerns regarding Carver residents who will attend Chaska High School instead of Chanhassen, while downtown Chaska will now be at the Chanhassen High School boundary with some added compromise. The two high schools will be dismissed at 2:50 now, which will impact some after school activities, such as the basketball program who share staff with the middle schools and are dismissed at 3:30. The activities bus will still be provided and details on scheduling for specific sports will be addressed by coaches as they arise, expressed Chaska Principal Bach. Resistance during the public forums surrounded Carver residents attending Chaska instead of Chanhassen High School. Some residents voiced wanting to stay at Chanhassen and raised concern over students playing sports for Chanhassen their whole career and now having to switch alliance with a different high school or sports club. Downtown Chaska residents are slated to attend Chanhassen high school in an attempt to balance racial diversity between the two high schools. However, after strong points were voiced during the open forums from the public, Chaska Mayor, Mark Windschitl urged the district to reconsider removing any Chaska residents from the Chaska boundary and to not target an ethnic group. The option for downtown Chaska residents to attend Chaska or Chanhassen high school with transportation provided was added as a compromise to the downtown Chaska boundary change. The high school boundary change will attempt to repair the imbalance in enrollment, socioeconomic and racial diversity levels while ensuring programming equality.

Eastern Carver County School District will begin the 2017-2018 school year with changes throughout the district that have been in the planning stages for 4 years. The district established the boundary task force that was made up of staff, students, parents and community members to address concerns established through public surveys and administrative input, stated Superintendent Jim Bauck. Public support for a referendum put the district in a position to move forward on addressing identified concerns, with input from residents during public forums and email for those who could not attend. Not all aspects of the boundary changes were accepted by the public and several revisions were made to the plan before final public presentation and acceptance by the school board in early 2015.

 

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New Changes to come in District 112 in 2017