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Task force incorporates parents' concerns into boundary plans

The Middle School Attendance Boundary Task Force responded to parents' concerns by making a few changes to the three possible boundary maps before sending them on to the High School Attendance Boundary Task Force last Tuesday.

The task force received written comments on all three plans, mostly from parents in Woodbury who said they would be negatively affected by boundary changes.

In drawing up the plans for middle schools housing sixth, seventh and eighth grades starting in 2009, the task force acknowledged the existing feeder system into four junior high schools had to be modified to make sure Woodbury middle schools would not be overcrowded.

The result is that students from some elementary schools in Woodbury will not be going to the same middle school.

The first change was that in Cottage Grove, Pineridge Estates was added to the Armstrong Elementary School attendance area of students who would attend Oltman Middle School in the Red Plan.

In two of the plans, Newport Elementary School students would attend Oltman Middle School and, in one plan, stay at Woodbury Junior High School when it converts to a middle school.

The task force, after considering oversight comments, made sure that concerns of parent groups were reflected in at least one of the plans.

Another change is that approximately 45 students in Lake Place, Valley Ridge Estates, Lakeview Knolls and Powers Lake would attend Lake Middle School in the White Plan.

Parents in the area said they object to sending their children to Woodbury Middle School, saying it is too far from their homes.

To make room at Lake, the task force moved students in Kingsfield, Highland Knoll and Oakview in Woodbury to Cottage Grove Middle School.

In Cottage Grove, affecting fewer than 10 students, West Draw Estates, Acorn Ridge and an undeveloped area were moved to the Oltman Middle School attendance area in the Red Plan.

In the Blue Plan, the task force moved Salem Meadows, Erin Estates and Woodbury Knolls to Woodbury Middle School.

Before the task force discussed changes, Mike Vogel, assistant to the superintendent for operations and boundary process facilitator along with Dave Bernhardson, addressed the concerns of some task force members who do not want students who are now walking to school to be bused.

After taking into account reduced walking distances going into effect in 2009, there would be no change in the number of kids who currently walk or are bused in any of the plans, Vogel said according to a district transportation department analysis.