School board accepts open-area recommendations

The school board voted Aug. 27 to lock in for another year the "three choice guarantee" for elementary-school families in all Open Attendance Areas - including Southwest Area 38. Area 38 currently runs between I-35W and Lake Harriet and 38th to 46th streets, though another recommendation has expanded the area northward to 36th Street, covering all of the Kingfield and East Harriet neighborhoods.

Parents in Open Area 38 have no designated community school; the three-choice guarantee assures that families will receive one pick if they select one magnet and two community schools. The guarantee is only good for 2003-2004 entering kindergarteners. Parents in community-school districts receive two choices.

Other approved items include; maintaining sibling preference for entering kindergarteners and coordinating a clear communication system between the district and parents.

Supt. Carol Johnson's recommended the items.

Johnson expects to outline a planning process for addressing open attendance areas issues this fall. Among those issues, Johnson said she plans to “resolve the desire of families in Open Area 38 to have a community-school review, and if necessary, realign the distribution of magnets throughout the city."

Two schools in or on the border of Kingfield and East Harriet - Barton and Ramsey Fine Arts -- are magnets.

Johnson also said the process should reaffirm the purpose of elementary magnet programs in achieving the district’s goals for school choice and desegregation. The process will end on March 1, 2003, to allow recommendations to become part of the 2004 budget process and be implemented that fall.