Superintendent Muñoz calls school boundary changes 'a temporary fix' for Rochester Public Schools' overcrowding issue

The task force presented their boundary recommendation to the school board on Tuesday night.

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 9:11 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2018 10:26 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - The task force formulated new boundary lines for Rochester Public Schools elementary students and presented their recommendation to the school board to receive feedback.

These boundaries would move three neighborhood areas currently attending Jefferson and Elton Hills, which are the two schools the most over-capacity, to attend Hoover and Churchill, which are under-capacity. Their goals are to try to keep students who walk to school at their neighborhood school as much as possible, and "attempt to relieve schools that are at a greater than 110% utilization level to schools that are at a less than 90% utilization level."

"That's just to get us through until something is built," explains Superintendent Michael Muñoz. "They just want to get the boundary temporary fix done first, and then they'll start looking at options to address the overcapacity at our elementary and middle schools"

Now that the committee has received feedback, they'll bring their recommendation back to the school board to be briefed on September 18, and the board will vote on October 2.

Some concerns about the recommendations mentioned at the meeting include maintaining an economic and racial balance in their schools, and fairness in moving students around. Board members were also concerned about Franklin, which is also over-capacity. The task force explained that because the other schools near Franklin are also over-capacity, changing Franklin's boundaries would only shift the problem to a different school.

The boundaries will go into effect next school year. If the recommendation is approved, students currently attending a District Wide Option school will continue, and students who are currently transferring from their home school to another boundary school will also be able to continue to do so.

As of now, the boundaries will not affect middle or high schools, but one of the task force's next steps is looking at high school capacities.

After the new boundaries are established, Superintendent Muñoz tells KIMT the task force will begin formulating a recommendation to build a new school or add on to existing schools to address RPS's overcrowding problem in a more long-term manner. They will be looking at sites and locations, options to increase capacity, and a referendum scope. Muñoz expects they will present that plan to the school board in November. 

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