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District 833 Announces Plan for Woodbury Elementary, Should it Acquire Crosswinds School

Students at Woodbury Elementary would be shifted to the Crosswinds building; Spanish immersion students would attend class at the elementary school.

Woodbury Elementary students would attend class at the Crosswinds Arts and Science School building next fall if District 833 is able to acquire the facility.

Students in the district’s Spanish immersion program, Nuevas Fronteras, would attend school at the Woodbury Elementary building.

South Washington County Schools on Wednesday posted a notice on its website about the plan.

However, Crosswinds Arts and Science School could be turned over to the Perpich Center for Arts Education if the Golden Valley-based group is able to secure funding from the Legislature by April 1. It could cost as much as $3 million for Perpich to operate the school.

District 833 has previously expressed interest in Crosswinds as a way to house a growing student population.

The district’s plan, if it does obtain Crosswinds at no cost, would also include the construction on a “connecting addition” to Woodbury Middle and Woodbury Elementary to increase capacity for the middle school.

Below is the notice in full, which can also be found on the South Washington County Schools website.

From District 833

District proposes plan for the use of Crosswinds Arts and Science School should the school become available

Since October, the district has known of the possibility to acquire a building through the East Metro Integration District (EMID). The EMID board has discussed recently they would no longer operate their two schools due to their desire to focus on programming. The school, currently Crosswinds Arts and Science School is located just within the boundary of District 833 and the Woodbury Elementary Attendance Boundary.

Conversations began immediately among district staff, other superintendents and the EMID board because two buildings (Crosswinds and Harambee) would be available to its member districts. In January, the EMID board granted the Roseville School District governance of Harambee, located within the boundaries of the Roseville District. The decision regarding Crosswinds was very different for a number of reasons. Roseville was willing to assume governance because the school attracts students and remains at capacity, and as a result is fiscally efficient. Harambee is located in a central location within the Roseville School district.

Unlike Roseville, District 833 was not willing to agree to run the program at Crosswinds as it is currently being run because it is operating at a deficit. The building was built for 600, with approximately 350 students attending. What the district expressed an interest in doing was to acquire a 140,000 square foot building at no cost to its constituents to aid in addressing its future growth requirements with the understanding that the district would incur annual operating costs if it acquired the building. The building is owned by the State, and assuming governance allows the district or other entity to benefit from a fairly new building without incurring acquisition costs for our taxpayers.

As the administration began considering whether the building would benefit the district, a team of district staff and parents from various schools and programs began to meet and consider proposals. The proposal meeting most of the district’s current needs continually rose to the top and is being considered. The intent of the district was to ensure key stakeholders were aware and understood the merits of the proposal and were provided an opportunity for feedback about the plans. Thus, meetings were held with staff members and parent meetings were scheduled at buildings affected by the proposal.

While the parent meetings are scheduled to occur shortly, the district believes it is necessary to provide a snapshot of the proposal through this venue to counteract misinformation that has been distributed to the community. We encourage parents of the schools affected to attend the meetings and to gain a comprehensive understanding of the detail and reasons for the proposed use of Crosswinds. The intent of the meetings is to hear feedback from parents involved.

Solving District Needs

When determining whether to take on the governance of the Crosswinds Arts and Science School, the School Board and Administration agreed that while there would be operating costs involved, it would be fiscally irresponsible to turn away a building at minimal cost. With the anticipated enrollment growth and current capacity issues, it became readily apparent that we could use the building.

Current needs or in the near future that will be addressed by the proposed plan include:

  • Middle School Capacity Issues
  • Crowding at the Crestview / Nuevas Fronteras Elementary School

The Plan

Should the district receive the building (at no cost) from the State—through the EMID board—the District 833 Board will accept the building at their April 11 meeting and plan for the operating costs associated in 2013-14 and beyond.

Construction will begin on a “connecting addition” to Woodbury Middle and Woodbury Elementary School to increase capacity for Woodbury Middle.

By the start of school in September, Woodbury Elementary students (PreK-5) will be shifted to the Crosswinds building; Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion will be shifted to the current Woodbury Elementary School to alleviate overcrowding at the shared Crestview / Nuevas Fronteras Elementary School building.

At a yet to be determined date, Middle School Immersion, currently at Cottage Grove Middle School, will be shifted to the Woodbury Elementary/Middle Campus to increase capacity for Cottage Grove Middle School.

Questions or comments about the proposal can be directed to info@sowashco.k12.mn.us.

 

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Kris Janisch February 20, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Here's the previous blog post from Joe, for those who might be searching for it. http://patch.com/B-cWHD
Rich Radke February 20, 2013 at 11:05 PM
It should be noted here, though, that Joe's blog post is grossly inaccurate.
Joe Ryan February 21, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Whoever RRR is, since you will not disclose your name, it should also be noted that the District kept this from the public and families it is affecting for five months and only came forward after my post. While there are some minor inaccuracies in my initial post, this post would not have been necessary and/or would have been entirely accurate if District 833 would have been open with the community as they promised would happen after the nightmare two years ago.
Jen February 21, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Mr Ryan, the district is not required to include you in everything they do, you are not a school board member. They did include teacher, principal and parent reps from all schools that could be affected. As we have just learned, the group of stakeholders worked together as quickly as possible to develop a plan in place to discuss this publicly next week. You, however, decided to use this topic as a chance to attack the Spanish Immersion Community as you did two years ago. The District has posted their rebuttal to your inaccurate statements here: http://www.sowashco.k12.mn.us/HotTopics/CrossWinds/response-to-social-media.asp
Joe February 21, 2013 at 05:26 PM
I support the school district in attempting to acquire Crosswinds as it seems like a good idea. But, I love how the school district's memo conveniently left out what their plan is if they don't end up acquiring Crosswinds. Which neighborhood school is going to get screwed so the SE program can expand? Joe, I generally agree that the school district isn't exactly being forthcoming with information as they should, so I applaud your letter in regards to forcing them to address the issue, albeit incompletely.
D Luzinski February 22, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Jen, I am pretty sure that Mr. Ryan knows that he is not a school board member, that really was an unnecessary comment. While our District included who you above mentioned, they left out the community who this directly effects. The stake holders are those who chose to live in this community so that their children can walk to school, those are the true vested stakeholders. Since I am one of those here is a plan- move the SE students to the, soon to be empty Crosswinds. It is large enough to house the SE students from k-12, thus alleviating the need to displace another community from its neighborhood school as the SE program continues to grow. Its a win-win.
Mike February 22, 2013 at 05:52 AM
I have a different perspective. This new administration and Dr. Jacobus have been extremely transparent and interested in hearing the voices of stakeholders in this school community. He spent countless hours meeting with anyone and everyone for the first 6 months of his tenure and has engaged the community in open conversations about budgeting in a way that is very refreshing. To suggest for a second that this administration hasn’t been open and eager for community feedback is delusional. For some reason, many of the people who are posting comments on this topic are under the misguided impression that, because they are taxpayers and/or consumers of the schools, they have the right to consult on every decision the district considers. This is akin to someone with 10 shares of Target stock being upset because he wasn’t consulted by the CEO on the next store location. My suggestion – if you are a family affected by this plan – find out the details on the district website, listen with open ears at the parent meetings, and then form an opinion based on the merits of this plan.
D Luzinski February 22, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Mike you stated, "For some reason, many of the people who are posting comments on this topic are under the misguided impression that, because they are taxpayers and/or consumers of the schools, they have the right to consult on every decision the district considers. This is akin to someone with 10 shares of Target stock being upset because he wasn’t consulted by the CEO on the next store location." Please take your boorish superiority complex elsewhere. This isnt about adding a new swingset to the playground. This isnt about a vending machine- it is about changing the dynamnics of a community. Do you understand that? Based on your comments, I really dont believe that you do. This isnt a business- its a community with real people that have valid concerns.
Jason February 22, 2013 at 04:29 PM
I understand the pain for the families who count on the convenience of their kids walking to school. I know if I were in that situation, I would be upset. However, my kids ride the bus and I am in favor of a newer\bigger school. Will the district be providing bus service to the neighborhoods that was previously within walking distance?
Thomas February 22, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Why wouldn't the district move just one program (Nuevas Fronteras Elementary School Spanish Immersion) as opposed to jostling around both Woodbury Elementary & Nuevas Fronteras Elementary School?
Kris Janisch February 22, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Hadn't thought of that Thomas.
Jason February 22, 2013 at 04:59 PM
The way I understand it, Woodbury Elem is much bigger and could use the extra space. Does it appear the Junior High would take over part of the Elem for space, in both new construction and existing space? Not sure if I read that right.
Mike February 22, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Yes, your concerns are valid.
XZQ Mom February 22, 2013 at 08:56 PM
That's the plan. It should cost about $100,000 each year for three buses. Since we're in deficit spending that'll come out of the classroom. More busses, fewer teachers.
Carrie D February 24, 2013 at 01:59 PM
I'd like to correct an inaccurate statement in this article: "It could cost as much as $3 million for Perpich to operate the school." Perpich's plan for governance of Crosswinds is budget neutral. The bills before the legislature ask for governance and the funds that already exist in the system. The $3 million figure was an estimate above the flat per pupil dollars that are already being supplemented through other funds such as special ed, compensatory and gifted and talented.
Susan M February 24, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Carrie, Thank you for the clarification regarding the costs of the Perpich proposal. The financial implications should not be misrepresented. South Washington County must also be clear on the financial implications of obtaining Crosswinds. This building is not designed for young children and would require significant changes. The most visible first being the exterior which includes an open pond and no playground. Crosswinds is an effective school which has had demonstrated success in addressing the achievement gap and has great potential to serve as a lab school and foster innovation in education throughout the state. Under Perpich leadership this school can continue to be available for students from multiple districts.
Kris Janisch February 24, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Thanks Carrie, I got that from a PiPress post, meant to link back.
Julie February 24, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Superintendent Jacobus stated at the Feb. 21 school board meeting that they estimate it will cost $250,00 to remodel Crosswinds to make it ready for WE students. (Really, in today's economy can you even remodel a house for that amount?) Crosswinds was built as a middle school and has a pod concept. It has 24 classrooms and WE currently uses 40 (Dr Jacobus and Mike Vogel didn't seem to be aware of this). This is just one example of the many, many reasons why this "shiny new building" doesn't fit the WE needs. (Superintendent Jacobus refers to Crosswinds this way and seems to think WE parents will overlook all of the issues for the "shiny & new".) One other point I'd like to make is regarding the participants of Superintendent Jacobus's committe regarding Crosswinds. I directly asked Dr Jacobus last Thursday night who was on his "task force" from WE. The only name he said was a WE staff member. This staff member proved two years ago where her loyalty lies, and it's not with the WE students and parents. Again, WE parents do not get fair representation and the SI parents are involved from the beginning. Maybe this has to do with the ties that the school board has to SI? And Mike, who has made a few comments earlier on this topic. I get that you choose not to share your last name. But I'd like to know if you are employed by our school district?
Ask Larry February 25, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Oh yes, let's get the community all fired up again over the SI PROGRAM. Yes, a program. Moving the entire WE school so SI can finally find their identity, and a place to call home. While we're moving things around, lets add onto the Middle School just in case the program really takes off. Lets put another "task force" together with school board members who's children attend SI and see what happens. Oh wait, we tried that. Since 833 is a public school district, lets get ALL the information on the table. How many independent studies have been done on this issue? Who makes up the task force, and what guidelines have been followed? Who sets up guidelines? Who oversees the process? If its the school board, I can see how this will all play out. Special programs in 833 for our special school board members and their special families. What will happen to the families who's children have real special needs and attend WE? There is not one school in the district that compares to WE's special needs department. Oh well, as long as Sally and Isabelle have a school to call their own, things will work out. Said, Kermit the board member.
Kris Janisch February 25, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Just to be clear Julie, would it be $25,000 or $250,000 to remodel Crosswinds?
Kelly DeBrine February 28, 2013 at 05:45 PM
The cost to renovate has been estimated at $250,000 (school district estimate). The cost to "run" the school after acquisition is estimated at $1 million a year (not clear if that includes the cost of additional bussing). I attended one of the South Washington County School budget meetings. They factored this additional $1 million into their planning but now must ask stakeholders how they can cut $2 million from the schools budget - which most assuredly would mean bigger class sizes (two of the budget proposals include increasing class size to reduce expenditures by $2 million). I think all tax payers should be in on this discussion if it may affect our property taxes in the longer term. It's as if they are saying, "we must cut $2 million because we are adding an additional $1 million to our costs". Who benefits by this? Not the students of our district; not the tax payers either.
Kris Janisch February 28, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Thanks for the info Kelly.
Carrie D March 02, 2013 at 08:03 PM
I want to be very very clear that Perpich, if given governance, plans to continue the programs that are at Crosswinds now! They do not intend for this to be anything like their Arts High School that is in the West Metro. Crosswinds will be Crosswinds, and will be open for students from the East Metro to attend. You can see the proposal that Perpich submitted to the EMID board by going to their website and vieiwing their minutes (www.emid6067.net). It should also be clear that the April 1st deadline came from the EMID board (specifically the 833 rep). Perpich would have loved to have more time, but it is the EMID board that is rushing the issue.
Mike March 06, 2013 at 06:47 AM
This neglects to mention that the additional operating costs would run a FREE building for Dist. 833. This taxpayer would take that deal any day of the week. It prevents – or at least delays – all of our taxes going up to pay for new construction of a school.

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