Families Building Community

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Update From Last Tuesday’s MPS Board Meeting (July 14th, 2009)

Dear families,

The Minneapolis School Board held a discussion meeting last Tuesday, July 14, and Changing School Options (CSO) was on the agenda. Minneapolis Public Schools staff (MPS) presented their latest options for reducing magnets, redrawing zones and boundaries, and assigning students in open areas to community schools.

What follows is a summary of some key points, especially as they relate to F2. You can review the proposed options at: http://tinyurl.com/changing-school-options

The Board and District staff discussed whether or not the zones should be strict or permeable, particularly for SPED and ELL students. Permeable zones were preferred.

The Board discussed whether or not to move the Area C boundary from 35W to Chicago Ave. The fundamental effect of moving the line to Chicago Ave is that Folwell would close and Ramsey would remain a magnet, attended mainly by students East of 35W. No consensus was reached, but it was decided that District staff should draw boundary based on plan chosen.

The board discussed the merging of the two Dual Spanish Immersion programs at one larger site, Anwatin Middle School, and closing Windom and Emerson. Board agreed the two should merge, but most did not approve of it being at Anwatin. The reason were that Anwatin is now being chosen by both Northside students and Kenwood students, and that the location was not central enough for citywide access. Folwell and Ramsey were mentioned as possible alternative sites.

F2:

There were 3 options given, one in each main plan, but Steve Liss said that each option could be put into any of the 3 plans.

1) Plan A: Establish Solid Zones

— Split Campus K-8 for F2/D5 (Barton/Lyndale)

2) Plan B4: Rebalance Zone Capacity

— New K-8 Community School created for F2, G3(Bryant) and Tangletown (close Kenny)

3) Plan D: Minimize Disruption

—F2 to Lyndale

Pam Costain: Lynchpin is Ramsey. We can’t figure it out without figuring out consequences for Ramsey. Should it be Open or Community School? Would like the 3 options and show numbers of disruption and pros and cons, explain it to the community. Some constituency will not get what they want, and we’ll just have to make a tough call.

Carla Bates: Is agnostic on F2, whether Barton moves or Dual Campus, etc. It’s important for kids to go to school where they live, this idea holds true for F2 and Ramsey kids. Ramsey is lynchpin. Lyndale is a diamond in the rough. Ramsey as community school with Spanish Immersion shared campus? Dual Campus not as compelling as it had been.

Chris Stewart: Doesn’t want to move Barton. Lyndale can benefit from some integration, but reasoning for Dual Campus has fallen short. Is angry that they have to spend so much time on one area, and that it has it’s own bullet point! It’s inequitable.

TWilliams: Doesn’t want to move Barton. How can we improve Barton’s diversity without changing program so much?

Jill Davis: Would like community knowledge meeting-to find out impacts on Ramsey, Burroughs, Kenny. Leans toward Barton staying where it is, F2 to Ramsey.

Lydia Lee: There is a strong desire for Fine Arts. Wants least disruption to things that are working. We will have to prove that decision to keep Barton in place is not a case of a sacred cow. If Ramsey becomes a community school, every little thing will impact every little thing.

Steve Liss summarized: Majority oppose Lyndale/Barton. Asked Board: would you favor Ramsey as a community school? Can you make a decision now? No one answered this question specifically.

The board went around the table indicating which general plan they preferred, but no reference to F2’s plan was made. Most preferred some version of Plan D, except Carla Bates who resoundingly rejected it based on the closing of Folwell.

Although there are pros and cons for either option still on the table for F2, either Lyndale alone, or Ramsey alone, will provide a great community school for our neighborhoods. All of F2 will be placed together, and both Lyndale and Ramsey are proximate and will be located within the redrawn attendance area.

If anyone has ideas or opinions on how to proceed, or on action to be taken, please use our contact form onwww.familiesbuildingcommunity.org and stay tuned to openarea.ning.com.

In the meantime, we encourage everyone to remain engaged as we plan for our new community school. Please come and meet with neighbors at the Community School Playdates on Wednesdays at 4 pm at the Martin Luther King Park playground and pool. Watch our site and the ning for other events to be announced.