Facing overcapacity, Shakopee schools redraw district lines

One of the 10 fastest growing cities in the state is about to compensate by changing its school attendance areas.

It's a move the Shakopee school district is forced to make, and not everyone is happy about it.

The number of students in Shakopee schools has doubled in the last decade, with some schools over capacity. Now, the district says it's time to do something about that.

More than 8,000 students are pushing on the walls of Shakopee schools. Also, Eagle Creek, Jackson, Sweeney elementary schools - along with Pearson 6th Grade Center and Shakopee West Junior High School - are all over the limit.

“Elementaries in particular are at capacity right now. So that brings the issue of ‘what do we do with our boundaries?’ We need to make sure we have capacity that allows all of our kids to learn in a space where they're not crowded, and they can be successful,” said Shakopee Interim Superintendent Gary Anger.

Next year, the high school will hold students grades nine through 12, Pearson will change to an elementary school, and the two middle schools will now include sixth graders along with seventh and eighth.

“By dropping a sixth grade center, it reduces the number of school transitions that students have in their career as a student in Shakopee,” Anger said.

At the elementary level, anywhere from 500-1,000 could move schools. For middle school students, about 200 will likely move.  

If you look into the psychological aspect of moving children around it can bring forward some crazy results," one parent said.

But another parent said she understands the need, saying, "it is a very tough task of making sure that the numbers and the demographics are even. My son went to three elementary schools. He turned out just fine and ended up having a lot of friends because of it."

“We've involved parents and community members in every facet of the process, and they've been wonderful,” Anger said. “They've given us so much information and so much feedback.”

There is another public input session on Monday, with the school board set to give its final approval on a plan Nov. 13.