Maple Grove, Park Center and Osseo High Schools will open their doors to freshmen beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.

Last night Osseo Area Schools board members voted to reconfigure grades across the district which essentially means sixth graders will be moved to junior high and freshmen will move to high school. Currently, Osseo schools serve students in grades K-6, 7-9, and 10-12.

To accommodate the influx of new students, the district plans on spending between $17-$19 million to build additions at the three high schools and make other classroom renovations.

The district began exploring the idea last year after legislators approved funding for all-day kindergarten. That prompted school leaders to begin assessing facility needs on a district-wide basis, which spurred administrators to propose realigning grades.

Administrators say there are many reasons to move to the more traditional grade model. Among them: Sixth-graders and freshmen have better access to tougher and more varied course options. The model also aligns grade spans to state academic standards. And it provides easier access to athletic and activity programs for freshmen.

School board members directed administrators to come up with a plan to reconfigure the grades without changing student boundaries - something many Maple Grove High School parents complained about when it looked their children might be moved to Osseo High School to help execute the student shuffle. 

Under the new plan, construction of the additions in scheduled to begin in October and be complete in September 2015.The additions are expected to cost about $13.5 million.

To pay for the additions, the district would tap its lease levy. If $13.5 million is financed, the owner of a $200,000 home would see an $18 annual increase in taxes.

The district probably would pay for the remainder of the project’s cost by either tapping operating capital funds, selling facility bonds or using an alternative facilities levy for deferred maintenance.

Osseo Superintendent Kate Maguire