As Eden Prairie school leaders look to make widespread boundary changes, some parents aren't wasting time looking to enroll their children outside the district.
Since proposed changes for elementary school boundaries were released last week, schools in Minnetonka, Minneapolis and Carver County reported fielding more calls than usual from Eden Prairie parents interested in enrolling children.
In Minnetonka, twice the number of Eden Prairie parents have contacted the district about enrolling as did last year. Spokeswoman Janet Swiecichowski said about a dozen parents specifically cited the boundary changes.
Some Eden Prairie parents said they plan to protest on Thursday near the high school. It follows the first few of several planned parent meetings that have drawn intense opposition to the plan. Three more are set for Monday, Oct. 20 and Oct. 25.
District Superintendent Melissa Krull said she understands parents' concerns about the proposed changes. The plan would move about 1,100 students to open a new school, move fifth- and sixth-graders into different elementary schools, and balance schools' enrollments socioeconomically and by capacity.
"I really do feel and believe that we're doing the right thing for all students in Eden Prairie," she said. "I don't want anyone to go."
That's exactly what Greg and Sue Bode are planning to do. The couple said they filled out applications to move their children to Chanhassen, Minnetonka or Edina's Eagle Ridge Academy.
"Might as well put them in a school that's not going through all this craziness," Sue Bode said. "When you make us an island, you took all my reasons to stay in Eden Prairie public schools."
Jay Wood also lives in the "island" of homes near Mitchell Lake that in the plan would become part of a new school attendance area. He said his family is now looking at west metro private schools such as Breck School, the Blake School and Minnehaha Academy. "At least we'll know ... he'll be at the same place," Wood said.
He joined more than 50 parents at a heated meeting on Tuesday where they expressed frustration with the plan.
"This is garbage you're trying to sell to mature adults here," he told officials. Parents in the packed room applauded.
Many parents upset with the plan said they didn't want their children bused to a school outside their neighborhoods when they can walk or ride bikes to one now.
How many parents will follow through and leave the district is hard to assess.
P. Fred Storti of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association said elementary school parents are more "emotionally charged" about changes because they tend to be involved with their child's school and fear the child won't adapt well.
But, if parents are informed and can give input, he said, "I don't think that nearly as many that are threatening to leave will."
Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141