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St. Paul (Minn.) district is considering plan to close five schools, merge others

Oct. 12, 2021
The district's Envision SPPS plan would affect about 2,949 students.

The St. Paul (Minn.) district is considering a plan to close five schools.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the district's Envision SPPS plan would leave vacant four elementary sites — Highwood Hills, John A. Johnson, Jackson and Wellstone — plus LEAP High School. The closures would affect about 2,949 students. 

The district's plan comes amid declining birth rates and lower enrollment.

Students now enrolled at John A. Johnson on the East Side would attend Bruce Vento Elementary. Closing Jackson Elementary — which now serves as both a community school and a Hmong Dual Language program — would send the dual language students to Phalen Lake and the general-ed students to Maxfield Elementary.

District officials are proposing a new building for the Bruce Vento site, and it could be completed in three to four years.

Highwood Hills would be closed and its students would move to other East Side community schools or district magnet schools.

Students at LEAP High School, which serves students who are new to the country, would go to schools like Como Park Senior High or Central High, which have language academies, or to an alternative setting.

The district will no longer offer a Montessori middle school because of a lack of family interest and would repurpose that building housing that program — Parkway Middle School  — to be a new Hmong Dual Language program for middle schoolers.

Students in the Wellstone Spanish Dual Language immersion program on the North End would relocate to the Riverview West Side School of Excellence.

Obama Elementary would be recast as a districtwide middle school as well as a Montessori elementary school for students who now attend Montessori programs at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School and Cherokee Heights Elementary.

The district also is reviving a plan to close Galtier Community School and relocate students to Hamline Elementary — a recommendation that was narrowly defeated in 2016 when Galtier parents rallied against it.

The Galtier facility would be repurposed as an early childhood learning hub.

Most of the proposed changes would take effect in September 2022.

The school will decide on the plan on Nov. 16. 

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