MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There is a public listening session scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Thursday, during which District 191 will consider a recommendation that would close one middle school and two elementary schools in the area.
The listening session, which precedes a meeting of the district’s board of education, will take places at the Diamondhead Education Center at 200 W Burnsville Parkway in Burnsville.
The schools that have been recommended for closure, due to declining enrollment and revenue, are Metcalf Middle School, Sioux Trail Elementary School and Marion W. Savage Elementary School.
In the last decade, the district’s number of enrolled students declined 15%, from 9,858 students in the 2009-2010 school year to 8,334 students in the 2018-2019 school year, with a projected additional drop of 8.8% over the next five years.
“In light of the school district’s current building capacity and enrollment, closing two elementary schools and one middle school is necessary and practicable to put the school district in the best position to serve its students, families and communities,” reads the resolutions.
Throughout October and November, a number of community focus groups, public hearings, and site meetings for students and staffers were held in the district.
The documents say that it was determined Marion W. Savage is the district’s “oldest, least modern, and least flexible” elementary school. Sioux Trail and Vista View were both considered as the second school for recommended closure, but Vista View was found to have a greater capacity, lower utility costs per student, and a greater enrollment.
Among middle schools, Nicollet was found to be the largest facility, and also provides pivotal utilities to nearby Sky Oaks Elementary School. Eagle Ridge is the newest in the district, which led to the conclusion that Metcalf, which has the highest utility cost per square foot and is also the district’s oldest middle school building, be the one considered for closure.