Andover school district weighs new boundary options

Published On: Apr 08 2014 05:54:04 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 08 2014 10:18:17 PM CDT

Changes could be in store for Andover schools as the district looks at drawing new boundaries.

Greg Rasmussen, USD 385 superintendent, said enrollment the last few years has grown, and is now steady. It's just one of the reasons why the district may have to adjust to keep up with the volume.

"As we look at our enrollment trends and our changes, we always need to look at what is best for our kids and what that balance is," Rasmussen said.

Since December, the district has been meeting with parents, teachers, students and administrators to talk about what's best: stay the same, or re-draw the boundaries to accommodate current and future students.

Right now, more than 5,000 students are enrolled at 11 schools in the district.

The boundary committee says there is concern about busing students across town and classroom over-crowding. 

Marissa Blount, parent, said the idea of re-drawing the boundaries, makes sense.

"Meadowlark is the largest elementary school and there's the fewest number of students," Blount said. "So there's wasted space sitting there while other kids are crammed into classrooms. I prefer a boundary change than the district building a new school when we have space here."

Michelle Fuksa, parent, said she worries her kids will have to attend another school if the lines are re-drawn. Others say they'll consider moving to keep things the same.

"That would be something we'd have to reconsider because I love the school and I love the small class sizes," Fuksa said.

At a meeting Tuesday night, parents got their first look at the proposed changes.  Reaction was mixed.

Deanna Deutsche sees the changes from two perspectives. She's both a teacher and a parent.  
Deutscher was one of more than a hundred parents to turn out for a first look at the Andover district's plans for changing who goes to what school.

"Nobody likes transition.Transition's hard," she said. "And in a year with our Common Core, and we've gone through our new curriculum adoption, it becomes pretty difficult."

"I would say from a district as a whole they're not so drastic," said Rasmussen about the proposed sets of changes. "But if it's your kids involved, they're definitely drastic."

Brian Lindebak is concerned that some of the scenarios not only have students from his neighborhood switching schools but going to multiple different schools.

"We would like to keep our neighborhood going to the same schools as presently planned," said Lindebak.

He plans to make sure the district knows what he thinks about each of the three plans. just as the district is asking him to do.

"I think there's one that stands out to me, there's one that makes more sense," said Lindebak.

The three plans would all allow current middle and high school students, and their younger siblings, to choose to stay at their current schools. But they would be responsible for their own transportation after the changes go into effect.

New students and families with just elementary students would have to attend schools based on the new boundaries.

The district's three proposed plans are available on its website. If you weren't able to make Tuesday night's meeting the district asks you to check out the plans online and leave your comments there.

The district says, nothing is set in stone., but it has to look forward.

The board of education is meeting next week where it will vote on the boundary committee's recommendations.  Changes will most likely not go into effect until 2015.

Click here to read more about the proposed changes