ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Rochester Public School Board has approved changes to the district's school boundaries.
The adjustments will impact which schools RPS students attend starting fall of 2022, when the district plans to open four new schools. RPS says without adjusting boundaries, some schools would be empty while others were overcrowded.
The boundary changes were developed by a committee of community members, who say once implemented, 75% of students will attend the school closest to them. The committee also says the number of schools over 90% utilization will drop from 17 to four, improving overcrowding.
The new spread of students will also better the district's socio-economic balance according to planners.
School Board Chair Jean Marvin says while the boundary adjustments may cause disruption, they could also present exciting opportunities for students and families.
"Understanding that this is going to cause change for many for many families, for many students," Marvin continued, "our teachers and our administrators are keenly aware that change can be disruptive, that it can be unsettling. It can also be really exciting, and that our students and their families will have a year before any changes take place to adjust to that."
Clerk Melissa Amundsen says district leaders are aware of the concerns some families have expressed, but believes the changes are in the best interest of RPS as a whole.
"There's no such thing as a perfect plan," Amundsen said. "I wanted to recognize that the emails that we've gotten from families who are, in their perception, adversely affected by these boundary changes, that we are not ignoring the inconvenience, or discomfort, or whatever the boundary changes are doing for those individual families, that we recognize that there will be difficulties for them, but that it's for the good of the district as a whole."
RPS says it will work in the coming months to address the questions community members will have surrounding "grandfathering" or exceptions allowing students to stay in their current schools. You can see how the boundary changes will affect your family by viewing this interactive map.