Silva: St. Paul school plan to be phased in

  • Article by: DAAREL BURNETTE II , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 16, 2011 - 10:04 PM

St. Paul superintendent asked parents and the city to rally around a school reorganization plan that takes effect in 2012.

Valeria Silva has a message for St. Paul school parents: Don't panic.

On the day after the school board approved a sweeping -- and divisive -- districtwide school reorganization plan, the superintendent said Wednesday that there will be time for parents and students to adjust because most changes won't start going into effect until the 2012-13 school year.

"The plan is a framework for the district," Silva said. "What we have to do now is have the community take ownership of the plan."

In the coming months, schools across the district will be organizing committees to restructure curriculum and focus on better ways to close the achievement gap.

The plan -- which will end several magnet programs, drastically reduce citywide transportation and redistribute students at several schools -- will be phased in over the next three years.

Silva says the district will save up to $10 million by cutting transportation costs and duplicate programs and will bring in $22 million of revenue by recruiting 3,500 students.

The biggest changes, such as relocation and the changing of schools' grade configurations, won't happen until 2012.

Silva said the next step is making sure the changes go smoothly with no interruption to the education process.

To help parents meet the March 22 deadline for deciding on where to enroll their children next fall, she also has extended the district's student placement center's hours this week. They will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Monday and 9 a.m. till noon on Saturday. The center is at 2102 University Av. W. For more information call 651-632-3700.

"This plan has reactivated the city of St. Paul," she said. "The reason why it's going to work is because we will team up and work together."

Daarel Burnette II • 651-735-1695

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