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Viewpoint: 'Blue plan' is best for all neighborhoods

There has been a considerable amount of discussion in our community regarding the proposed District 833 school boundary changes.

A recent article in the Woodbury Bulletin highlighted concerns of some neighborhoods north of Valley Creek Road. They are opposed to their children being sent to a middle school within the Woodbury community, Woodbury Middle School.

There are two plans, however, that propose sending Woodbury students outside of the community altogether.

The white plan singles out students in the southeast area of Woodbury. The children under this plan would attend Bailey Elementary, then they would be split from their peers and moved outside of Woodbury, to Cottage Grove Middle School.

Under the red plan, a small area in southwest Woodbury will be sent to Newport Elementary and then Oltman Junior High. These students will feel disconnected from the community they call home, Woodbury.

Both the white plan and the red plan are unacceptable. Elementary and middle school age children should attend nearby schools. The only plan that keeps the vast majority of Woodbury elementary and middle school students attending schools within our community is the blue plan.

The blue plan shows some areas south of Bailey Road attending Cottage Grove schools, but my understanding is that most of those areas are undeveloped or have very few students.

Actually that begs the question: If there are so very few students, could they perhaps have the option to be "grandfathered in" to Woodbury schools if they choose?

Under any plan, only future Woodbury developments in these areas should attend schools outside of Woodbury.

My family and I are just the same as so many other families/residents of Woodbury. When deciding to move here, we did a lot of research into what kind of community we wanted to be a part of.

We specifically rejected other nearby cities because we did not want our child to be bused to schools outside of the community. We also decided against the northern part of Woodbury (school districts 622 and 834) for the same reason. We believe their school districts are good; we just wanted our child to have nearby schools.

We would have preferred to find a home where our son could walk to school, but at the time we moved here, we did not find a home that fit our needs that was within walking distance to a school.

We chose Bailey's Arbor, after hearing that Bailey Elementary is a good choice and it's still local. In addition, Lake Junior High is close.

We have nothing against Cottage Grove schools themselves. They are a part of School District 833, but the feel of Woodbury is what we were after for a community.

We've become active participants in the many things that Woodbury has to offer. We shop, go to restaurants, attend church, attend sporting events, including participation in WAA -- all here in Woodbury.

Again, we have nothing against Cottage Grove Middle School per se; we just choose Woodbury because that is the community in which we wanted to live and attend school.

We have heard that many are supporting the white plan because overall it affects the fewest number of students. Some are adamant that their children not attend some of the older elementary or middle schools in the western part of Woodbury.

Frankly, that argument is very thin when compared to the possibility of sending younger children to schools outside of Woodbury altogether.

The blue plan addresses the concerns of the School Boundary Task Force members -- overcrowding at schools in particular -- while keeping elementary and middle school children within their community. The school board should support a plan that is positive for the residents of all communities.

Hickman is a resident of Woodbury.