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Farmington school board reviews boundary options

The Farmington School District is looking at three options that could affect as many as 269 students as it makes plans to adjust its attendance boundaries for the 2014-15 school year. 

The options, labeled Orange, Black and White, were devised over the past several months by a group made up of parents, school board members, district administrators and middle- and elementary school principals. The goal is to balance enrollment among the schools,

Currently, North Trail Elementary School is at 105 percent of its capacity and Farmington Elementary is at 103 percent, while Meadowview and Riverview elementary schools are both at 89 percent.

Both district middle schools are below capacity, but Boeckman is at just 76 percent of capacity while Dodge is at 91 percent.

Space needs will become more pressing next year as the district tries to find room for the expanded all-day kindergarten program made possible by increased state funding.

The group’s Orange option affects the smallest number of students at 216. It would move the Countryview neighborhood from Akin Road to Meadowview; Camden Path, Camden Court and Camden Circle from FES to Riverview; and the area west of the railroad tracks and north of Maple from FES to Riverview. At the middle school level, it would shift the countryview, Parkview Ponds and Mystic Meadows neighborhoods from Dodge to Boeckman.

The plan creates the most balanced populations of free-and-reduced lunch students at the elementary level but has the most unbalanced free-and-reduced populations at the middle level, with 18.2 percent of Boeckman students receiving assistance with lunch costs and 12.5 percent at Dodge.

The White option affects 225 students. It moves the Autumn Meadows neighborhood from North Trail to Meadowview, Dakota Estates from Akin Road to Meadowview, the three Camden streets from FES to Riverview and the area west of the railroad tracks and north of Maple from FES to Riverview. It moves Autum Meadows, Dakota Estates, Parkview Ponds and Mystic Meadows from Dodge to Boeckman.

The Black option is the most disruptive of the three, affecting 269 students. It creates the most balanced student populations and the most balanced free-and-reduced population at the middle level. But it also requires additional transportation for the Countryview neighborhood and could affect the timing of bus transportation, particularly at the end of the day.

Tom Severson, manager of Marschall Lines, the bus company that serves the district, said the Orange and White options would have no significant effect on busing costs. The Black option, he said, would be a bigger challenge.

“We would lose some of our efficiencies by having to bus some of our Countryview students up to North Trail,” he said.

Severson estimated the changes included in the Black option would add about $30,000 in transportation expense for the district.

The Black option would move the Crossroads and Autumn Meadows neighborhoods from North Trail to Meadowview, Countryview from Akin Road to North Trail and the Camden streets and the area west of the railroad and north of Maple from FES to Riverview. At the middle level, it would move Crossroads, Autumn Meadows, Mystic Meadows and several parts of the Middle Creek development from Dodge to Boeckman.

The district will hold three public meetings in November to discuss the changes. There will be a meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at Akin Road, one at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 14 at Meadowview and one at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at North Trail.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606