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New school boundary plan gets nod

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New school boundary plan gets nod
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

It's been just two years, but with a burgeoning district, West Fargo Public Schools already is looking to change its boundaries.

The school board unanimously approved to accept a proposed plan by the Boundary and Demographics Advisory Committee, which was comprised of district staff, parents, community members and board members. Twenty-four people met five times since the passing of the May 24 building bond referendum to discuss boundary changes.

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Superintendent David Flowers emphasized that the changes tried to conform to five values - capacity, proximity, equity, stability and continuity - but admitted that, when it comes to school boundary changes, no plan is perfect.

"Our district is complex and dynamic," he said. "There isn't going to be a solution that appeases everyone."

For the most part, the biggest boundary for the school will be Interstate 94, which will, by and large, keep north students north and south students south. The highway will be a major boundary between the Osgood and Lodoen Kindergarten Centers, the Cheney and new Liberty Middle Schools, and West Fargo High School and Sheyenne High School.

Elementary schools received the biggest changes to their boundaries. Only Horace, Harwood and Eastwood were not manipulated.

Aurora Elementary will be bounded on the east by the Sheyenne River. Current Westside Elementary areas south if I-94 will be assigned to the new Freedom Elementary School, which will be located just north of the new high school off Veterans Boulevard. Westside also loses other sections south of I-94 to Freedom.

Berger Elementary picks up Buena Vista mobile home park from South Elementary.

To keep with continuity, the task force tried to put a feeder system in place that would keep students and friends together from elementary through high school.

West Fargo High School will receive students from Cheney Middle School, which will get its kids from Harwood, Eastwood, Berger, South and Westside, with kindergarten students moving up from Lodoen.

The new Sheyenne High School will be fed by the new Liberty Middle School, which will in turn receive students from Horace, Aurora, Freedom and a new school yet to be built. Kindergartners from Osgood will travel this route.

The new elementary school yet to be built also plays a part, Flowers said, because when Freedom is built, it will likely be at or near the enrollment capacity of 95 percent, thus triggering the planning and development process as approved by voters in the building bond referendum.

Another school would mean that, if all goes as planned and the building is erected by fall 2014, boundaries will need to be shifted yet again.

"We're planting the seed now," Flowers said, of preparing parents and students for the changes.

The next step to Monday's approved school boundary plan will be to set up meetings to present the findings with parents and community members. They will be advertised and posted in schools, at scheduled at each elementary school where boundary changes will occur.

While it would be remiss to think all parents and students will agree with the changes, school board members agreed that the process did not move forward without much discussion and forethought.

"This is an emotional thing for some people ... but I think all of us here have had children moved because of boundaries," board member Karen Nitzkorski said.

"It's something we all have to work through," president Ben Koppelman added.

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