Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There have been many stories over the years about schools closing in Minneapolis because of declining enrollment. But today we can report that Minneapolis will re-open three schools because of growing enrollment.
For the students at Sheridan Arts Magnet in Northeast Minneapolis, it means some students won’t go here next year. Starting next fall this school will no longer have grades 6 – 8.
All of those students will have to switch schools. A district spokesperson says they have to make changes to make room for more students.
The district is preparing for 2,000 additional students over the next five years in elementary and middle schools.
Enrollment is growing in the northeast, south and southwest parts of Minneapolis.
The plan is to re-open Howe School in south Minneapolis, which has been closed since 2005. That school will re-open in 2013.
The Folwell building in that part of town will open next fall after sitting empty since last year.
According to the district, the changes will impact 1,400 students next year.
“We also acknowledge that this has a potential impact and concern for some families that may have to move to a different school or different grade configuration and we understand that, as well and fully acknowledge that,” said Michael Thomas, Minneapolis Public Schools associate superintendent. “But what we can say is that we are fully prepared to ensure and welcome additional students to Minneapolis Public Schools and ensure they’re going to get the highest quality education possible.”
The cost is estimated around $18 million to re-open these schools — and establish programs and curriculum.
The district plans to re-purpose money in its budget to cover the cost.
Additional changes include turning the Jenny Lind Community School to a K-5 program and the Floyd B. Olson Middle School into a 6-8 middle school.
An early childhood center will be created at the Webster building or another northeast Minneapolis school building in 2013 to 2014.
A new 6-8 middle school will also be created in the Ramsey building for the Lyndale Elementary School and Burroughs Community School attendance areas.
Letters went out to teachers and staff Wednesday with information on the changes.
Those will soon be going out to parents, as well. The district is planning on having meetings for parents to explain how this will work and how it will impact students.
The district said a implementation team will work with each school impacted by these changes. More information on these and other changes are available at the district website.