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To 833's school board: 'Play by the rules'

[Editor's note: This is the fifth and final story in a series of features highlighting the impact of the new school boundary proposals on neighborhoods around Woodbury.]

"Don't create a purple plan!"

That's the message from three moms who are pleading with the school board to play by the rules in the drawing-up of new school boundaries.

The deadline is fast approaching for the board to consider the various elementary, middle and high school boundary options, which have been dubbed the red, white and blue plans at each level.

But the firm hope of Lake Place mothers Kris Tott, Michelle Witte and Elizabeth Anderson is that the South Washington County school board will pick from the plans it has on the table, and not mix and match to form a "purple plan."

"If you create a purple plan now, you will have everyone feeling like the process has been a sham," explained Witte, referring to the months of public meetings and revisions of the plans so far.

"I hear a lot of people saying, 'It doesn't matter what I say, the school board will do what it wants anyway.'"

It's a message that is dear to their hearts, as two of these Woodbury moms say they recall last time the boundaries got changed, in 2003, when their children were affected first time around.

"I went to bed that night [the school board made its decision], assuming that we were safe because we weren't part of any of the three plans on the table," said Tott.

"I felt secure that we were staying at Royal Oaks Elementary School.

"I woke up the next morning to find that wasn't the case at all.

"They had their community meetings and the board voted to throw out all of the three plans and come up with a new one."

That new plan saw the Lake Place elementary kids moved to Liberty Ridge.

Somewhat ironically, two of the three plans under consideration this year see their children moving back to Royal Oaks. The third plan would have their kids attend Middleton.

The three moms say they have no issue with the elementary plans, and are pleased that their neighborhood's concerns over middle schools were reflected in one of the plans at the middle school level.

Originally, all three plans saw Lake Place kids attending Woodbury Middle School, but parents won a reprieve in the white plan for students to continue at Lake.

Witte compares the school boundaries renegotiation process to a sports game.

"Someone wins and someone loses, but you go and shake hands at the end of it," she said.

"I think that's a fair analogy. Some are going to be happy; some are not, but you can't change the rules in the middle of the game."