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Proposal: Uptick In Mpls. School Enrollment Equals Expansions

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Five years from now, the Minneapolis Public School District will look much different.

Enrollment is up significantly and it's expected to continue to rise by 3,300 students, and that means there's a need for more space.

The district recently announced a proposed five-year enrollment plan that includes adding onto buildings, renovating others, opening new schools, and changing attendance boundaries.

Every part of the city would be affected, and the school board will vote on it come November. Parents and other members of the community are encouraged to take a look at the plan and provide some feedback and suggestions.

"It is a great thing for the Minneapolis public schools that more families are choosing us, more families are staying with us, for me that's positive news for an urban district," Minneapolis Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson said.

But with growth, comes change.

"There are some buildings where we are thinking about overcapacity," Johnson said. "They have a lot of students for the space they have. In some cases, it's an addition on to the building."

The plan calls for three schools to be expanded, and eight buildings to be renovated. Southwest High School is one that will get bigger.

The district is recommending an addition to the building to accommodate demand.

"But I would also like for people to choose the high schools in their communities because I feel like people should invest in the communities in which they live," Johnson said.

A new option is coming as well -- a high school for the performing arts.

"We've had arts programs where kids have had the chance to take violin and ballet lessons, dance and that type of thing," Johnson said. "But this school would be a performing arts school and it would be a school that is solely audition."

The increase in enrollment will mean some of the school attendance boundaries will shift, and the district has eyes on the population boom in downtown Minneapolis.

"Change is hard and it's different," Johnson said. "One of the things we've talked about over the years is stability. Stability is important, but we also know when there is an increase in enrollment, we have to make decisions about the capacity of a building and how we are serving those families."


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