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UPDATED: Hopkins School Board Rejects Edina Detachment Bid

Directors voted unanimously to keep Parkwood Knolls and Walnut Drive properties in the district.

UPDATED 10:05 p.m. Dec. 20 -- Parkwood Knolls and Walnut Drive property owners—organized as advocacy group Unite Edina 273—asked to leave the Hopkins school district for Edina schools because they think Hopkins schools are not in locations that serve the families’ educational needs.

However, School Board directors voted unanimously that it’s in the district’s best interest for the neighborhoods to remain in the Hopkins school district.

The decision was made in part because of the financial ramifications to the district and other taxpayers. A Nov. 29 study that concluded that detachment , inch up taxes on remaining Hopkins property owners and cause taxes on the transferring properties to surge.

The School Board whipped through the vote without discussion following an administration presentation that echoed information in the report published prior to the meeting. At the conclusion of that presentation, Superintendent John Schultz recommended rejection of the request and presented directors with a resolution stating the district’s reasons for opposing it, including:

  • The financial impact on taxpayers,
  • A duty to be good stewards of the district’s resources and taxpayer money,
  • The reasoned, representative process of putting the existing boundaries together,
  • The availability of open enrollment and
  • Opposition from other school district committees.

“Whereas, in our judgment detachment is not in the best interest of all the landowners and citizen’s (sic) concerned,” the resolution stated.

Click the PDFs to the right of this article to read the full resolution and select documents in the report.

While there was no discussion when the item was under consideration, a few residents did speak during the open agenda portion of the meeting—a time when anyone may address the board on issues that concern them.

Despite a crowd of United Edina supporters, two of the three people who spoke opposed the detachment request. Matthew McNeil—a Hopkins resident, Edina High School grad and former co-president of the Gatewood Elementary PTO—said it could lead to something like Vikings owner Zygi Wilf threatening to move the team out of Minnesota if he didn’t get a new stadium. Neighborhoods may shop around for a school district willing to include their preferred teaching agenda, for example.

“It’s a dangerous precedent to set to allow one neighborhood to rip itself out of a school district and put itself in a different school district,” McNeil said. “This comes down to personal accountability. It’s that plain and simple. People make choices. Every member of Unite Edina 273 knew what school district they were buying into when they purchased their house. Every single one of them.”

United Edina supporters mostly stayed out of Thursday’s discussion. Alan Koehler, who’s spearheading the detachment effort, was the only one who spoke on their behalf. He noted his disappointment with the report and the administration’s recommendation but largely limited his comments to thanking the board for a chance to bring the issue forward.

In an interview afterward, Koehler said he wasn’t surprised by the vote.

“When we talked to other members of the neighborhood and found out how far it went back, it wasn’t because people didn’t try or try hard,” Koehler said.

Still, he said it’s the first time he knows of that the board has actually voted on the request. Once the legislative session resumes, he plans to revisit bills that Edina lawmakers introduced last session to see whether the law needs to be changed.

For now, though, Koehler has more immediate plans: “I’m going to enjoy my holidays,” he said.

schenkelberg December 21, 2012 at 10:05 PM
perhaps HH would prefer it to be called Hopkins/Minnetonka/Plymouth/Golden Valley/Wayzata/Eden Prairie/Edina......get over it people. Hopkins was protecting their students and the money they are receiving from that neighborhood is within our boundaries....... Open enroll out is your prerogative, but how absurd to ask for those tax dollars to follow you. Those tax dollars are there to help ALL the children in your home school district. Which is Hopkins. My child shouldn't suffer because you open enroll out.
schenkelberg December 21, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Seems like a win win to me. You can open enroll out of Hopkins to a "better" school and we keep the money allocated for your child's education to invest in our children at Hopkins.
Amy M December 22, 2012 at 06:13 AM
I'm confused with the statement by A. Dad that this is all about $$$ for Hopkins and “not about the well-being of actual children and communities”. Hopkins needs to be financially responsible to everyone in their district, so budget should be a significant consideration in making this decision. They would not be a good School Board if they did not contemplate the financial impact. What I am baffled by is the placing of blame on Hopkins implying that the school board is not concerned about the children. Was it not the decision of the Unite Edina home owners to purchase a home in the Hopkins School District, and was it not their decision to open enroll their children into a different school district? It seems clear that it was the home owners’ choices that led to the fracture in their community, resulting in the children’s loss of “cohesion and identification with their local schools”. Had the home owners of Unite Edina committed themselves to the school district they purchased their homes in, the children would be cohesive and have identity with their school. Home owners, please don’t blame the Hopkins School District for THEIR lack of concern over the “well being” of these children, accept the responsibility for this as you have chosen to send your children out of district. Bottom line, if you want your kids to attend Edina Schools and you don’t want to open enroll, perhaps you should purchase a home within their district lines.
Grace Thru Love December 23, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Nicely said, Mac M. That has been my frustration since my home was first fliered about this well over a year ago asking for my support. I could simply not understand, and still don't, how people who made a real estate decision of their own volition would dare to ask an entire community to change their structure and organization for their desire. Our son has attended Hopkins schools since early childhood. Our elementary was Katherine Curren and a was a small cohesive neighborhood community. Parents I met from our years there are still my dearest friends. Our son played Hopkins Little League. We shopped at the Hopkins Farmers market. Hopkins IS our village. Having an Edina address never make a lick of difference to the community to which we belonged. That is a specious reason, and I believe may be covering up the deeper story: the company who owns undeveloped land in Parkwood Knolls is behind this for financial gain. Read their advertising literature. It is clear they do NOT highlight the location as a Hopkins schools neighborhood. They highlight Edina schools bus service. Shameful and misrepresents reality.
Amy M. January 08, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Hi James, In response to your comment, (below): When I plug-in the addresses to Mapquest, I get different distance #'s than you referenced in the earlier article. For example, when Mapquest calculates the driving distance from the intersection of Vernon Ave. & Walnut Dr. to Edina HS (6754 Valley View Rd.), I get a distance of 1.86 miles. Your article stated the distance was 2.36 miles. Furthermore, your article did not compare middle schools, and Hopkins middle schools are significantly further from the proposed detachment neighborhood than Edina middle schools. The apparent bias in your numbers and data selection is probably the result of internal Mapquest settings (such as whether to use freeways, etc.), and a desire on your part not to overwhelm the reader with too much data, in which case nobody is really "at fault." However, I'm sure you can understand how a supporter of detachment would see these numbers, along with which data were presented, and assume there was a bias. Going forward, could you and the rest of the Patch reporters please be a little more careful that, when you write articles regarding this detachment effort, you do so in a way that does not disproportionately harm people who support detachment (or those who oppose it, for that matter). Thank-you in advance.

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