On Monday, February 13, the School District of the Menomonie Area Board of Education approved a change in elementary attendance area boundaries that will take effect at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Families living living north of I-94 and east of the Red Cedar River will become part of the Oaklawn Elementary attendance area, resulting in some students currently attending Wakanda Elementary attending Oaklawn Elementary at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.
In November and January, this School Crossings column shared information with school district stakeholders regarding an impending elementary attendance area boundary change for the 2017-2018 school year. Because more families with elementary-age children are living in North Menomonie and Cedar Falls, and since many of the newer housing developments in our community are located near that area, Wakanda Elementary School is experiencing overcrowding and the enrollment at Oaklawn Elementary School continues to decline.
Realizing that this might be a significant change for some families, the school district plans to consider some elementary attendance area exceptions (AAEs) based on the specific needs of each individual situation. Based on the feedback that parents have shared during this process, a special “early window” for submitting AAE requests will remain open until Friday, March 3, with decision letters expected to be issued before spring break. Parents may submit their requests in writing to the SDMA Administrative Service Center or through the district’s website.
Families that have children who had been required to switch schools in the past, have older children that want to finish out their last year or two at their current elementary school, or who have irreconcilable daycare needs will be given the highest priority when AAEs are considered. Also, even though families utilizing AAEs are usually responsible for providing transportation to and from school or an approved bus route stop, the school district plans to work with the transportation company to offer home pickup for some AAEs in the impacted area and establish a bus stop/transfer station near the old Cedar Falls School for the next two years.
The school district will also help families prepare for the transition that will occur at the start of the 2017-2018 school year by having a special visit for transitioning students, which has been scheduled at Oaklawn Elementary School during the school day on April 20. An opportunity for parents to tour the school and meet staff members will be offered after the school day is complete.
Should school families or community stakeholders have any questions or concerns about the changes to elementary attendance boundaries, I invite you to visit me at the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue, or contact me at 715-232-1642. While we hope that the proposed change will keep class sizes balanced for several years, changing demographics in our community and the expectations prescribed by school board policy require that the elementary attendance areas continue to be examined on a regular basis.
More information about our schools can be found on the school district website (www.sdmaonline.com), and I regularly post school-related information on Twitter (www.twitter.com/sdmaonline) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/menomonie.schools)