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Public to comment on boundaries in Stillwater Area School District

Families in the Stillwater Area School District will get their chance to speak against, or in support of, boundary changes at three public hearings in January.

District 834 began work on revising its attendance boundaries in October as part of its Vision 2014 since the district currently has two elementary schools -- Lake Elmo Elementary and Rutherford Elementary -- are over crowded.

Lake Elmo Elementary currently has 778 students enrolled, which is at 104 percent capacity, and Rutherford Elementary has 766 students which is at 103 percent capacity.

Three of the options propose moving neighborhoods of students from one school to another to better balance enrollment and relieve overcrowding at Lake Elmo and Rutherford elementary schools. A fourth option proposes moving sixth graders from Rutherford Elementary to Stillwater Junior High and from Lake Elmo and Valley Crossing schools to Oak-Land Junior High. The fifth option proposes all current alternate and non-resident students at Lake Elmo and Rutherford would need to reapply for any available spots under provisions of a new written district procedure.

Additionally, the options consider or not to have a middle school or junior high system.

According to the district website, the goal of the boundary changes, at the elementary level, is to relieve crowding, improve utilization, provide adequate space to meet current and future enrollment needs and to plan for Valley Crossing Community School to continue as an option with a specific attendance boundary.

At the junior high level, the goal of the boundary change is to improve utilization, balance enrollment with reference to building capacities and to provide a true "feeder system" from the elementary schools."

District 834 formed an attendance boundary committee with citizens to develop possible options. Those options and proposals will be presented at the three public hearings.

The public hearings will be held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 8 at Stillwater Area High School, at 7 p.m. on Jan. 13 at Withrow Elementary School and Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at Oak-Land Junior High School.

More information on the boundaries discussions can be found at

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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