No New Elementary Space In Crowding Plan
School board votes Tuesday night.
Many neighborhoods in Southwest Minneapolis may be starting to have a "baby boomlet," but that doesn't mean district leaders are planning on adding on to already-squeezed elementary school space this year.
The burst of new births, detailed dramatically in charts at the end of this district presentation from a school board meeting last month, could create another space crisis for a school district already trying to find space for hundreds new students who are already of school age.
To deal with the immediate crowding problem—concentrated in middle school in Southwest Minneapolis—big changes will be made across the district. In Southwest, the district is recommending the board move Ramsey International Fine Arts Center's program across the city to a building near South High School. The Ramsey building would then be used for a middle school serving Kingfield, Tangletown, Lynhurst, and parts of South Minneapolis—all areas served by Washburn High School.
The lack of elementary school space has some school board members worried, but the district's enrollment planner said the proposal was prudent.
"How much change do you make when you know that projections are just that," said Courtney Cushing-Kiernat. "We need to see, you know, will (the district's) market share continue to increase and will families stay in the city. We always need to be mindful and fiscally responsible."
The Ramsey building can hold up to 1,000 students but much of the area it serves is currently covered by combined elementary and middle schools. Cushing-Kiernat said this would give the district the flexibility to convert some of these K-8 schools to pure elementary schools, and shift the middle school population to Ramsey.