Plans to move across town to the former Folwell Middle School building . However, some Ramsey parents are worried the district won't complete needed rennovations on the new home by Fall 2012.
The Minneapolis Public Schools' response?
"Hold us accountable," said Associate Superintendent Theresa Battle. Also, she said, don't worry.
"We know we can get it open in time," said Mitch Trockman, an Operations Specialist with the district. "We have 350 union tradespeople we can put on the job, if necessary."
"If they're proposing it, I have confidence it will be done on time," added school board chair Jill Davis. "It's not an option to be late on the building."
Until a year ago, a charter school opperated out of the Folwell building, so the school is up to code. As it is, though, the building can only hold 800 to 900 middle school students, meaning it needs more classrooms to fit Ramsey's projected population of 950. It also lacks both the smaller classrooms and bathrooms Ramsey's kindergarteners will need, and the specialized arts rooms, such as a dance studio, that are essential to Ramsey's arts-based classes.
Even with additional classrooms created by subdividing existing rooms, Ramsey would still be forced to downsize its total enrollment. Jim Liston, head of the district's Student Accounting division, explained the school would naturally shrink to that size.
"About 20 percent of students withdraw over the school year," he said, noting some parents are in transition and move frequently.
Still, the decision to move comes as Ramsey has begun a long, slow climb out of an academic hole. To some parents, the move has felt like being kicked just when they're getting back up. Some Ramsey parents have thrown around phrases such "assault on arts education" in conversations with district leaders. This feedback has compelled administrators and school board members to repeatedly say they continue to support the Ramsey program.
"They feel like they are on that (turnaround) path," school board member Rebecca Gagnon said of Ramsey parents. "They feel like we're not giving them a chance. We get that."