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West Fargo School District continues to deliberate elementary boundary realignment

West Fargo School Board member Patti Stedman wonders if there's a way to avoid dividing neighborhoods that would result from a proposal to realign elementary school boundaries in 2018."They're going to take two different buses going to different ...

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West Fargo School Board member Patti Stedman wonders if there's a way to avoid dividing neighborhoods that would result from a proposal to realign elementary school boundaries in 2018.

"They're going to take two different buses going to different schools," Stedman said. "Why would we want to intentionally create a boundary that would divide right across the street?"

The School Board discussed elementary boundary realignment Monday, Nov. 20, during a workshop at the West Fargo Sports Arena. Board members are expected to vote again on the proposal Monday, Nov. 27, after failing to reach an agreement last week.

The proposed realignment will shift 963 students next fall and estimates show an additional 12 teachers will be needed in 2018. The school board is trying to balance proximity and a balance of numbers at the schools.

Board members talked about parents' concerns, including dealing with splitting neighborhoods to different schools. They also talked about how the proposed realignment would affect a potential third high school in West Fargo and how funding would be affected.

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A committee made up of principals and parent representatives from each elementary school created the boundary change recommendations. The committee considered stable boundaries that could remain unchanged for a long time, proximity to schools, balance of class size, demographics and the capacity of schools.

"So now they're going to continue with that instability?" Stedman asked at Monday's workshop regarding realigning school boundaries.

Boundary changes were recommended because of the opening of Willow Park Elementary School at 4901 15th Ave. S. in Fargo, and the addition of kindergartens at all elementary schools. According to the current proposal, about 400 students who live in the boundary from Ninth/Veterans Street to Interstate 29 and 13th Avenue South to Interstate 94 will attend Willow Park.

The changes also require 138 students who live in the area east of Fourth Street and west of Veterans between 32nd Avenue and 40th Avenue to move from Freedom to Independence Elementary.

At last week's meeting, the board reviewed a petition signed by about 100 residents of West Fargo's Shadow Wood neighborhood asking the board to reconsider moving their children from Freedom Elementary to Independence.

The current proposal would also move about 50 students from Westside to Eastwood Elementary, and about 90 students from L.E. Berger to Eastwood Elementary. About 21 students north of Main Avenue would move from South Elementary to Westside. About 190 students would move from Independence to Osgood, which will house kindergarten through fifth grade for the first time in 2018.

To balance overcrowded Legacy Elementary School, 76 students who live near Osgood Golf course, Rocking Horse Farms and McMahon Estates 3 would move to Independence.

With every elementary school the district has opened-six in about as many years-boundary changes are needed. The School Board agreed to begin construction on a 15th elementary school next year in the Deer Creek neighborhood of Fargo that would open in 2019.

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School board members said Monday they don't want to move students for no reason if there's space at their schools.

Related Topics: WEST FARGOEDUCATION
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