Near capacity, several Mounds View Public Schools close open enrollment

Mounds View High School principal Jeff Ridlehoover estimates he has had to tell around 70 families over the phone their children won’t be able to attend Mounds View High School this year.

The high school closed its open enrollment to all grade levels through the 2015-2016 school year. Chippewa Middle School and Mounds View Public Schools' kindergartens also closed their open enrollment for the same duration of time.

Mounds View Public Schools superintendent Dan Hoverman said he and others at the school district decided to close open enrollment at the schools because they estimated enrollment numbers at the two schools would be up this year and would strain the buildings' student capacity.

Current enrollment estimates for the schools this year are about the same as last year's numbers even though 251 of Mounds View High School's over 1,700 students and 134 of Chippewa Middle School's over 1,000 students open enrolled into the schools last year.

Students already open enrolled or whose siblings are will be allowed to stay or enter into their respective schools, Hoverman said.

In past years, the school district has closed open enrollment to certain grade levels in schools based on yearly assessments of incoming student numbers, but this is the first year open enrollment will be closed for all grade levels in the two schools, Hoverman said.

In prior years, the district has also closed open enrollment at Turtle Lake Elementary School as well as Island Lake Elementary, he added.

Hoverman and other district staff said the uptick in district enrollment could be due to new housing developments recently built within the school district, such as the Charley Lake Preserve near Chippewa Middle School. 

Why Mounds View schools?

Ridlehoover said that for families who don't live within the district, many say they want to open enroll their students at the high school because of the school's teachers, test scores and Early College program where students can receive a two-year associate degree through classes at the school.

Many families called Ridlehoover to ask if they could open enroll their students at Mounds View High School this year, he said.

Most families were disappointed but understanding when Ridlehoover had to tell them the school didn't have any more room for kids outside district boundaries, and some said they planned to move into the boundaries, he said.

Vadnais Heights resident Melody Lahmann said she had heard good things about Mounds View Public Schools from neighbors and friends and thought Chippewa Middle School helped prepare her daughter for the future when she open enrolled her at the school.

Lahmann’s daughter now attends Mounds View High School, and three of Lahmann's other kids are open enrolled at Chippewa Middle School. Lahmann said she used to drive three hours to get her kids to and from school when the family lived in Forest Lake for 11 years.

"I think it's been really helpful for us, we get a lot more options if you're willing to put in the time to transport your kids," Lahmann said. "So it opened up a lot more opportunities for them."

Hoverman said the school district will reevaluate student numbers at its schools next year and after which, could reestablish open enrollment at Mounds View High School and Chippewa Middle School.

Danielle Korby can be reached at staffwriter@lillienews or at 651-748-7824. Follow her on twitter @daniellejean701.

 

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