Osseo backs off elementary school swap plan

  • Article by: KIM MCGUIRE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 22, 2014 - 9:15 PM

Osseo school administrators have backed off on a controversial plan to move about 100 students from Basswood Elementary to Oak View Elementary.

Under a revised plan presented Tuesday during a school board work session, students who are currently allowed to open-enroll into Basswood would be moved to Oak View, which has more building capacity than Basswood. Both schools are in Maple Grove.

Next year’s open-enrolled fifth- and sixth-graders would stay at Basswood if they wished, or they could return to their community school.

Administrators initially had proposed that 109 students from the district’s southwest corner be moved to Oak View, which currently serves fourth through sixth grades.

Parents have complained that it wasn’t fair for families who live in Basswood’s attendance zone to be moved while the district allows students who live outside the school’s attendance zone to remain at the popular elementary. They launched an online petition protesting the original plan that gathered more than 700 signatures.

Basswood parents have also referenced lower test scores at Oak View, which currently serves more poor and minority students.

School officials said Tuesday that research showed that many of the students who open-enroll into Basswood now come from either the Oak View or Cedar Island attendance zones. Of the 121 students who open-enroll into Basswood, 51 live in those areas.

“It was really that data that compelled me to revise this recommendation,” said Superintendent Kate Maguire.

It will be up to school board members to decide who ultimately stays and who leaves Basswood when they meet on Jan. 28.

At that meeting, board members also will consider making realigning the grades at Cedar Island, Fair Oaks and Oak View schools. Under the current proposal, each school would begin serving prekindergarten through either fifth or sixth grades beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

The district will host two meetings on Thursday for parents of students currently enrolled at Basswood Elementary who could be affected by the revised proposal. Those meetings will begin at 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and will be held at the school.

Kim McGuire • 612-673-4469

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