School boundary change likely in Menomonie

About 60 students at Wakanda, Oaklawn elementary schools would be affected

posted Jan. 11, 2017 12:20 a.m. | updated Jan. 11, 2017 12:25 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Pamela Powers. bio | email

MENOMONIE — A boundary change for Oaklawn and Wakanda elementary schools is likely to be in Menomonie school district plans for next school year.

The school board is expected to act on the proposed boundary change at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at the Administrative Service Center, 215 Pine Ave. N.E.

Enrollment is growing at Wakanda and declining at Oaklawn, according to school officials. This year, Oaklawn had 369 students, but that is expected to decline to 343 next year without boundary changes. Wakanda had 396 students this year and is expected to grow to 418 next year.

Oaklawn is located on the city’s southeast side, while Wakanda is on the northwest side.

The school board will consider changing the Oaklawn attendance boundary for the 2017-18 school year so that students living north of Interstate 94 and east of the Red Cedar River will attend that school. The change was recommended unanimously by a committee charged with looking at the issue and presented Monday night to the school board.

About 60 schoolchildren would be affected by the proposed boundary change.

“We do this very judiciously,” Oaklawn principal Lori Smith said at Monday night’s school board meeting, noting the last boundary change was in the 2013-14 school year. Families may apply for an attendance area exception to stay at Wakanda.

“This isn’t a permanent solution, but it will take us through for a while,” school board member Penny Burstad said.

School boundaries can change when housing developments are built or if demographics in neighborhoods change, Smith said.

As part of the change,  a bus stop and transfer station will be in Cedar Falls for students for two years.

Budget outlook

Before Monday’s regular meeting, the school board held a midyear budget hearing to update the public on the outlook for the 2017-18 school year. It was the first time such a hearing has been held.

Superintendent Joe Zydowsky said this is the first year of the state’s biennial budget, so the district does not have much information on state aid or revenues.

“We’re optimistic there could be new revenue,” he said.

Projections are that the school district’s enrollment will remain stable with some slow growth, said business services director Leah Theder. There are 3,372 students enrolled this year with projections of 3,382 next year and 3,386 in the 2018-19 school year.

The district has about a $50 million overall budget.

Contact: 715-556-9018, pamela.powers@ecpc.com, @MenomonieBureau on Twitter

 

About 60 students at Wakanda, Oaklawn schools would be affected