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Hudson looks at Elementary boundaries

People came together at River Crest Elementary Tuesday, May 15, to learn more about the elementary boundary setting process, and to share some information with the boundary committee and consultants. 1 / 2
Hudson Elementary School Boundary committee members, members of the public and Hudson School District staff came together at a public information meeting held Tuesday, May 15. Shown, from left, adding their neighborhoods to a map are Ember Hutton, Mark Johnson, Jody Kreivich, Ellen Denzer and Chris Hays. Gretta Stark / RiverTown Multimedia.2 / 2

A group of people gathered at River Crest Elementary School in Hudson Tuesday, May 15 for the first public feedback meeting held by the district as it begins the process of resetting the elementary school boundaries.

District Superintendent Nick Ouellette said it was a great turnout, especially considering the sunny, 80 degree weather outside.

"This is a great turnout to get people on the front end and understand the information and what we're dealing with here," Ouellette said. "We're very excited."

Ouellette said "a variety of things" prompted the plans to adjust the boundaries.

"We have some elementaries that are very underutilized, and others that are not quite at capacity," Ouellette said. "We don't want to run them all at capacity, because then you can't have them grow with neighborhood changes."

He said the district's goal is to have schools at around 80-85 percent capacity.

There's also a lot of growth and development expected in the south and southeast areas of the Hudson School District. That's where the district's fullest elementary schools are located.

The plan is to reset the elementary school boundaries so that students are more evenly distributed through the district's schools This will only affect elementary school attendance within the school district. This will not affect the boundaries of the Hudson School District itself.

The district is working with the consulting company RSP, who in turn is working with the district's newly-formed Elementary Boundary committee.

RSP representatives Rob Schwarz and Craig Menozzi explained at Tuesday's meeting how the boundary-resetting process will work. RSP will look at things such as academics, culture, and economics when considering boundaries. The committee has had its first meeting and will meet a total of five times. It will meet twice more to create some boundary concepts before the second public forum, scheduled for Sept. 25.

An enrollment analysis is set for this fall. The committee will meet twice more following the public forum to develop a recommendation to the council.

Schwarz and Menozzi said there could be one scenari, or more than one for the school board to vote on.

The school board is set to receive the committee recommendation in December and vote on new boundaries in January 2019.

At the meeting

At the public feedback meeting, those present were asked to split into smaller groups, outline their neighborhoods, and share other information on large maps.

Schwarz said the meeting went well.

"There is good dialogue that is occurring," he said at the meeting. "Tonight establishes the building block for how we look at neighborhoods, how they're defined and how we may look at changing what the neighborhoods are in their association with the existing six elementary districts."

Ouellette also said things were going well at the meeting.

"We're excited for the process," he said. "We've had a great turnout, great response from parents."

School Board President Jamie Johnson said he is impressed with the committee's work thus far.

"I'm proud of the district," he said, "the way that they got communication out."

Committee member and village of North Hudson Trustee Cathy Leaf said she's representing North Hudson's interests in the committee.

"People get really passionate about attendance boundary lines," she said. "We want to make sure we're being really thoughtful about how lines are drawn."

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Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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