BY Paul Groessel
Sun POST Newspapers
Osseo Area Schools has revised a proposal that addressed anticipated overcrowding at an elementary school.
During a Jan. 21 work session, District 279 Supt. Kate Maguire withdrew her initial recommendation to reassign students living in one area of the district from Basswood Elementary School to Oak View Elementary School, which was intended to address Basswood overcrowding issues next school year.
The initial proposal was pitched to the school board on Jan. 7, and vetted through community meetings the following week. The proposal allowed students who open enrolled to Basswood to remain there, but parents in Census Area 284 would not have had that option.
“I’m feeling compelled to revise that recommendation,” Maguire said Jan. 21.
Instead of reassigning Census Area 284, Maguire proposed relocating Basswood’s open enrolled students to Oak View, while giving the parents of fifth and sixth grade students who open enrolled the option to remain at Basswood.
“And probably the data that is most compelling to me, and from my perspective no longer makes my original recommendation logical, is the number of students who are open enrolled, in particular from Cedar Island and Oak View, to Basswood.”
This school year, 106 students open enrolled into Basswood, and 51 of them lived in areas assigned to Cedar Island and Oak View, according to data from the Jan. 21 meeting.
The district estimates that 72 open enrollment students in grades K-4 would relocate to Oak View.
During the school board meeting, board members tried to come up with other “win-win” options to address what is expected to be an overcrowded Basswood, but they agreed with Maguire’s new recommendation, which Basswood parents could learn about and provide input on during informational sessions.
The school board did not formally vote on the recommendation, which is expected at a future meeting, but they gave Maguire direction to continue pursuing that option. School Board Chair Teresa Lunt said she wants people to realize that it is still a proposal and not a finalized plan.
The school board also agreed with the recommendation to change Cedar Island, Oak View and Fair Oaks elementary schools to a grade configuration that matches other elementary schools in the district.
These school adjustment proposals precede the school board’s consideration to change the entire school district’s grade structure to a K-4th grade elementary schools, 5-8th grade junior high schools and 9-12th grade high schools.
The school board and administrators will discuss feedback regarding the district’s overall grade change during meetings next month. Although not discussed Jan. 21, Maguire signaled that the school board may consider developing a more detailed district reconfiguration plan before making a final decision.
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