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Parent members of a District 196 task force charged with establishing an attendance area for the district’s new elementary school presented their preliminary recommendation in a progress report to the School Board Sept. 26.

The Elementary Attendance Area Reconfiguration Task Force has scheduled listening sessions for Tuesday, October 4, 6:30-8 p.m., at Rosemount Middle School and Thursday, October 6, 6:30-8 p.m., at Scott Highlands Middle School. Both listening sessions are intended for parents and others living in the attendance areas for Diamond Path, Highland, Parkview, Rosemount and Shannon Park elementary schools, the five schools affected by the proposed changes in the preliminary plan.

The new school is being built in Lakeville at the southwest corner of the intersection of 160th Street (County Road 46) and Diamond Path, where the cities of Lakeville, Apple Valley and Rosemount all meet. It is a growing area near the district’s southern border in what is currently the Parkview attendance area. Scheduled to open in fall 2017, the school is being built with funding from the November 2015 bond referendum to relieve overcrowding at Parkview and the four adjacent elementary schools. The task force was formed last spring with a 10-member steering committee of district staff who reviewed data and developed the process and guiding principles that parent members would use to establish a recommendation once the full task force began meeting. The 14 parent members include two each from the six potentially impacted elementary schools and one each from Rosemount and Scott Highlands middle schools.

The full task force met four times over an eight-day period, Sept. 13-20. The group started by reviewing their charge, guiding principles and data about student enrollment, race and poverty demographics and projected housing development in the attendance areas of the six schools. At their second meeting, members were split into three working groups. Using mapping software that tracks enrollment and demographic data by household, each group independently developed an initial scenario for establishing an attendance area for the new school. Before the meeting ended, the groups reconvened and identified common ground in all three scenarios. That common ground became the starting point for the next meeting, where they repeated the process to complete the preliminary recommendation.

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