A comprehensive web page with proposals developed by the Attendance Area Task Force and background information is now available.
Who is part of the Task Force?
The Attendance Area Task Force is broadly representative of the school district. It is comprised of parents, students, staff members, administrators and School Board members. Members were drawn from the facilities task forces of 2013 with additional members added this year to provide representation among all schools and communities.
What did they do?
The School Board gave a charge statement to the Task Force to develop proposals on four items: school start and dismissal times, a long-term location for La Academia, attendance areas to balance enrollments between schools, and transition options for families affected by an attendance area change such as grandfathering and sibling preference. The charge statement included criteria for the Task Force to consider as they developed proposals.
When did they do their work?
The Task Force’s first meeting was Jan. 13. Weekly meetings began in February after the task force split into four working groups. The Task Force agreed as a group on March 16 on preliminary proposals that were released to the community over the next week.
How did the Task Force develop the proposals?
The Task Force began by reviewing school capacities, current attendance areas and projected enrollments. The district commissioned a demographic study at the end of 2015 that was provided to the Task Force. A comprehensive facility study was completed in 2012 that identified maximum building capacities.
The Task Force reviewed the transportation program and the relationship between busing and school start/end times. Staggering school times allows the same buses to run multiple routes, creating efficiency in transportation.
To aid the Task Force, the School Board commissioned in January a scientifically-valid survey of the community with a representative sample of parents. School principals provided their building leadership teams and/or parent-teacher organizations with paper survey. Survey results informed the Task Force of community priorities to be considered during the development of attendance areas and school start/end times.
The Task Force heard about the development and future plans for La Academia, the district’s two-way, dual-language immersion school that opened in 2012.
Finally, the Task Force reviewed past practices of Eastern Carver County Schools during previous attendance area changes to provide grandfathering, school transfers and sibling preference.
At the Task Force’s Feb. 10 meeting, it divided the work into four sub-groups for the following tasks: 1. Develop proposed school start/end times, 2. Identify a proposed location for La Academia Two-Way, Dual Language Immersion School, 3. Draw proposed attendance boundaries to balance enrollments at all schools, 4. Propose transition plans for new attendance areas. These sub-groups met almost every week until March 9.
The groups for La Academia’s location and attendance boundaries worked together because the two topics are interconnected. By placing La Academia in an existing school, students from that school need to be moved into other schools. La Academia’s location needed to be identified before school attendance boundaries could be considered.
What is next for the Task Force?
Task force members will be in attendance at the April 6 listening sessions on the preliminary proposals. This feedback, along with comments sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will be reviewed by Task Force members after April. If revisions are made to the proposals, they will be noted in the intermediate proposal to be presented on April 27. Another round of feedback will be heard at this meeting. The Task Force’s final proposal is scheduled to be presented to the School Board work session on May 12.