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Reaction to the Comprehensive District Design being passed 6-3 on May 12, 2020

Minneapolis Public Schools: Please don't pass the Comprehensive District Design. It will be disastrous for the district.

Dear Minneapolis Public School School Board members,

Please don't vote to approve the Comprehensive District Design. It is going to be a disaster. 
There are 51 elementary and middle schools in Minneapolis Public Schools. Thirteen schools will switch programming from magnet to community school or vice-versa. Another 10 will switch which grades are in that building. And in another 2 schools they will switch both the grades and programming. The cost of renovating 25 of the 51 elementary and middle school buildings will be enormous. But that is just an indication of the kind of chaos and upheaval the CDD will bring. 
And for what benefit? The district staff hopes that 10 schools will move from being a Racially Identifiable School at more than 86% of students of color to less than that. North High School does so with a massive boundary change. Jenny Lind and Folwell are included in this number and will still be at 84% and 82%. The district hopes that the other 7 schools will draw more white students by becoming magnets. But a 2015 study entitled "What Happens When Schools Become Magnet Schools?" concluded that "There is not evidence that magnet conversion itself played a role in the study schools’ diversity or achievement." In other words, just changing a struggling school into a magnet school will not necessarily improve a school's diversity or achievement. 
And the emphasis on neighborhood schools will exacerbate segregation. There will still be 11 racially identifiable schools over 86% people of color, including a new one, Whittier. Two other schools that were 70-77% white now will become more than 86% white. The magnets in the center mean segregation elsewhere. School board representatives from the south and north of the city oppose the plan. Many people of color oppose it
All 60 schools will be substantially disrupted. Teachers and staff will need to switch grades, programming, and schools. The size of the schools are all in flux with some like HIA losing 58% in enrollment and North High School gaining 215%. Some teachers and staff moved to be near the school where they teach and for their children to attend there. The teacher's union opposes the CDD. Many teachers and staff will leave rather than start over. 
Families with older children will be navigating new schools because 32 of the 51 elementary and middle schools will change their elementary to middle school to high school pathway. Families learn to navigate and become loyal to the schools that their children attend. They have gotten to know the teachers and invested in the school. They may have moved to attend a school. Now students will be separated from half their friends because of new boundaries. And siblings will be attending different high schools. Many families will move or send their child out of the district rather than start over. 
No one at the District is even pretending that in the first few years the CDD will lead to improved student outcomes or financial stability for the district. The only reason to do this massive upheaval is if the plan makes sense long-term. This plan developed out of an August 2019 inquiry into whether the district could save money on busing. That was a good aim but the consultant's report delivered in November 2019 shows only a small savings of 1.1% of the district budget. It is for this savings that every school will be turned upside down. The most important concept in the CDD is that of centralized magnets, which would be a decent idea if Minneapolis students had to attend Minneapolis schools but it makes little sense in Minnesota when families can simply open enroll at a neighboring district, which, unless you live in central Minneapolis, will be just as close geographically as the centralized magnets. I wonder if the consulting group from Montana knew this. 
It would be better for the district to: 
1. Improve the school selection process so that students of color and students in poverty would have better access to a school they prefer. Focus on the recommendations that the EDIA committee that looked at student placement made in November 2019. They did not ask for centralized magnets and a focus on neighborhood schools, which upends every school in the district, but they instead gave a number of excellent specific suggestions. 
2. Give incentives and resources to good teachers to work in struggling schools and improve their programming, curriculum, and disciplinary procedures.  
3. Focus on better literacy and math curriculum. 
Currently there are a number of K-8 magnets and other magnets that are working. They have some of the best racial and economic diversity in the district: Armatage, Bancroft, Barton, Dowling, Folwell, Windom, and Whittier. People want to attend them. They have a good reputation. They have a culture. Now they will all be turned into community schools and their enrollment slashed. Instead, create some new magnets if you believe in magnets. The popular K-8 schools were slashed and now two have been put back in. Take the EDIA recommendations and improve the Student Placement process for them. Or, if the most important idea the district believes in is improving community schools, then focus on that with attracting and retaining good teachers and culturally-sensitive curriculum in the schools that are struggling. But switching community schools to magnets and vice-versa is incoherent and is just switching kids, buildings, teachers, and staff around and will be a huge mess with no good result. 
In the last meeting, the school board members interrupted one another and were offended by one another partly because they could not see one another because the meeting was just over a conference audio call. The school board members, even those supportive, asked the District staff to describe what the benefits of the CDD were besides just saving money on busing and if the academic interventions could proceed without the CDD being passed. The answers were not clear. This is too important to rush through via an audio conference call.  
Please don't do this. 
Andy Rowell
Parent of a 9th, 6th, and 4th grader in Minneapolis Public Schools. 

Data and references below:

There will still be a projected 11 Racially Identifiable Schools (RIS). The source is You have to slide the gray bar below over to the right until you get to the heading Projected RIS status and organize by that. Ordered by Projected Percent Students of Color. 

1. Heritage 99.0% 
2. Anishinabe 96.6% 
3. HIA 94.9% 
4. Nellie Stone Johnson 94.5% 
5. Henry 91.2% 
6. Bryn Mawr 89.2% 
7. Olson 88.9% 
8. Bethune 87.7% 
9. Laney 87.3% 
10. Cityview 86.9% 
11: Whittier 85.5%
These two are also marked RIS in the MPS CDD database but that this is a mistake because the 86% only applies to students of color. 
12. Kenny 12.60% 
13. Burroughs 10.70%

These are the ten schools that move from being RIS to no longer RIS

1. North High School (massive boundary shift)  
2. Andersen - Moves from K-8 to 6-8. Listed twice as both a community middle school and Spanish Dual Language Magnet middle school. 1538 students!  
3. Emerson - Spanish Dual Language Magnet hopes to draw more students because other Dual Language shut. 87.4% to 73.5% 
4. Franklin - community school becomes STEAM Magnet 98.2% to 75.6% 
5. Green Central 91.3% to 78.2% - community school becomes Spanish Dual Language Magnet 
6. Hall 90.7% to 79.1% - PYP/IB becomes Steam Magnet 
7. Jefferson 97.5% to 70.7% - community school becomes Global Studies Magnet and has won the right to stay as a K-8 
8. Sullivan 94.3% to 77.3%. - community school becomes STEAM Magnet and has won the right to stay as a K-8. 
9. Jenny Lind 91.9% to 83.6% - community school stays community school. (It is possible that the correct number for an RIS school is 83.1%, since MPS is 63.1% students of color and an RIS is 20% more than the district average. In that case, Jenny Lind would still be RIS as would be Folwell below and five more schools for a total of 15).  
10. Folwell - K-8 Arts Magnet becomes K-5 Community School 87.8% to 81.8%  

MPS said in December that 63% of K-8 would change schools and then in February introduced massive high school boundary changes that surely made that number go much higher. Now they say "Every year approximately 21% of K-7 and 9-12 students transition schools. As part of the new CDD plan adoption, in the 2021-22 school year, an additional 14.7% of K-7 and 9-12 students are expected to transition. Note: 8th graders are excluded because almost all change schools every year."

MPS is projecting that the CDD will result in $6.9 million in transportation savings. That is 1.1% of the district budget. MPS has a $19.6 million budget shortfall (the shortfall is 3.2% of the $619 million general fund budget).
Star Tribune: "Almost all of those recommendations were informed by a two-part transportation study conducted by Education Logistics Inc., a bus routing and tracking software company based in Montana. Since August 2019, Minneapolis Public Schools has been working with the company to carry out the studies that were released late last year and creating the models, costing the district $111,000 to date." See "Minneapolis schools back in a big budget hole with a $19.6 million deficit" (Dec 11, 2019 Star Tribune).
In the southwest part of the city, Burroughs, Barton, Windom, Kenny, Armatage, Anthony, Justice Page, and Southwest will all have less Students of Color and less Free and Reduced Lunch students. Busing has traditionally been used to foster integration but this plan seeks to save money on busing so that students go to school in their neighborhoods.   

I agree with the analysis of the Academic Plan that the literacy curriculum is not good because it teaches cueing.  


David Boehnke, a teacher on the north side, rightly says that "If community schools were a magic bullet to solve enrollment and teacher diversity, we’d see that in such schools in our district now."

97% of feedback the district received after an invitation to give voicemails at an April school board meeting was negative.  

Despite its problems, "Minneapolis Public School District shows improving educational opportunity. Average scores have improved by 0.02 grade levels more than districts with similar socioeconomic status.",44.97,-93.26  
51 elementary and middle schools and the degree of change they will undergo: 
A. Programming change from or to magnet: 
  1. Anwatin 
  2. Armatage  
  3. Bancroft
  4. Barton  
  5. Bethune
  6. Dowling 
  7. Franklin
  8. Green Central  
  9. Hall
  10. Jefferson
  11. Sullivan
  12. Whittier
  13. Windom

B. Programming and grades changing:
  1. Folwell  
  2. Marcy
C. Grades changing:
  1. Andersen
  2. Hale  
  3. Heritage  
  4. HIA
  5. Field
  6. Lake Harriet- Lower
  7. Lake Harriet- Upper
  8. Lake Nokomis-Keewaydin
  9. Lake Nokomis-Wenonah
  10. Seward
D. The elementary school, middle school, and high school pathway changes for all 25 schools above and these seven schools so 32 with major changes to their pathway: 
  1. Hiawatha
  2. Howe
  3. Kenwood
  4. Laney
  5. Nellie Stone Johnson
  6. Pratt
  7. Sheridan
E. No change with regard to grade levels, programming, or pathway but most or perhaps all have big boundary changes: 
  1. Anishinabe
  2. Anthony
  3. Bryn Mawr
  4. Burroughs
  5. Cityview
  6. Jenny Lind
  7. Justice Page
  8. Kenny
  9. Loring
  10. Lyndale
  11. Northeast
  12. Northrop
  13. Olson
  14. Pillsbury
  15. Sanford
  16. Waite Park
  17. Webster


I made an Excel document pasted from:

With Andersen listed twice:

Download CDD Enrollment and Capacity Decline chart

With Andersen combined:

Download CDD Enrollment and Capacity Decline chart

I added the last two columns to show the growth/decline in enrollment and capacity. 


Here is the briefer version (278 word version) that I left as a 2 minute voicemail: 

You can leave a 200 word written message or leave a 2 minute voicemail for the May 12 meeting.


Why the CDD will be a disaster:

  1. 25 of the 51 elementary and middle schools are being shifted from magnet to community schools or vice-versa or having their grade levels change. The renovation of the buildings and the social disruption will be enormous.
  2. The district hopes that switching 7 schools to magnets will decrease the number of students of color to under the 86% line but this will not in itself improve student outcomes.
  3. There will still be 11 RIS (Racially Identifiable Schools). The magnets in the center will mean segregation elsewhere. School board representatives from the south and north oppose the plan. 
  4. Centralized magnets make little sense when families can simply open enroll at a neighboring district, which for most families will be just as close geographically as the centralized magnets. 
  5. 32 of the 51 elementary and middle schools will change their elementary to middle school to high school pathway. Families will have to start over getting to know their schools.
  6. Teachers and staff will need to switch grades, programming, and schools. The teacher's union opposes the CDD. Many teachers and staff will leave rather than start over. 
  7. This plan is based on a consultant’s report in November that MPS could save 1.1% from the district budget in busing. That is it.
  8. The Academic Plan can be implemented without the CDD.
  9. In the last meeting, the school board members interrupted one another and were offended by one another partly because they could not see one another because the meeting was just over a conference audio call. This is too important to rush through via an audio conference call. 



My earlier April 13th post about the final plan is at:

Updates below: 


A response to a comment on Facebook: 

  • I talk more about equity and my social location in my April 13 post. Bridging the achievement gap is my goal too.
    - I am pro busing for integration but this plan is designed to save money on busing. That is one of its biggest problems.
    - Also, there are no more magnets in the farthest part of north than there were before. See image. Magnet changes
  • They are centralized magnets. And yes, the cities of Robbinsdale and Brooklyn Center are much closer to most of the northwest schools than Hall, which is still its closest magnet. Statistically, the flight from Minneapolis Public Schools is not mostly white flight but students of color leaving the district. KerryJo Felder who represents District 2, which is the north side, opposes the plan as does Nekima Levy Armstrong. Yes, Bethune too will become a magnet but it is farther south than Franklin. Felder had requested that Cityview elementary become a K-8 and Nellie Stone Johnson elementary become a Spanish immersion magnet. It looks like many of those schools too far north will be very low in capacity. Yellow is northwest schools and Orange is northeast schools. Nw and Ne schools2

    - This line about the balance between community schools and magnets for flexibility makes no sense to me but I know it is a common talking point. This is a gamble (not a safe choice) to switch a bunch of community schools into magnets and vice-versa. What about the community schools near Hall, Franklin, and Bethune, which are all close together and all magnets? I truly am confused by the idealization of magnets (go out of the neighborhood to get better programs!) AND community schools (a better school is one in the neighborhood!). Which is it? Neither. A good school has great teachers and a history of safety and trust. Just switching a school or 25 of 51 schools will not improve their education.

    Another comment: 
We agree about the importance of busing, integration, the need for boundary changes at times, skepticism that neighborhood schools are the answer, and that there is not a lot in this plan that relates to improving the actual delivery of education. I think our main difference is you agree with closing existing magnets and moving all magnets to the city center and I think that is likely to have a huge downside of having 25 of the 51 elementary and middle schools in the district start over. I think it will exacerbate segregation between north and south since both will become more segregated. You think it will work to create integrated schools in the centralized magnets.
You write:
"Bottom line, the research supports integration and after decades of people saying they support it, where are all of these people to support North Minneapolis kids and schools on an on-going basis? There will be not progress until there are significant changes in boundaries and school locations. We can agree to disagree, but until the physical and ideological lines between North Minneapolis and other areas of the city begin to overlap, the stark racial disparities in Minneapolis will continue. Lines are the inherent nature and lasting legacy of segregation." I think perhaps you are focused on North High School because your arguments about "integration" apply to that. That makes sense to me!
Maybe I am focused more on the elementary and middle school changes. I don't look at the evidence and think that this plan will bring more integration to elementary and middle school students. I think it will much more strongly segregate north and south Minneapolis.
You also write: "Every time MPS makes attempts at integration, people cry for better neighborhood schools. Yet, historically, only schools in certain neighborhoods reap the benefits of this." From this comment, you are saying that neighborhood schools are not the answer. I agree. So you are a believer in the new centralized magnet set up. Again, I am skeptical that many people north and south will bus into the city center for new magnet schools. It will take a long time to develop these schools. People tend to choose magnet schools that are nearby or have high quality. New magnet schools take years and years to develop quality and reputation.

Finally, I agree with what these people of color say:

In this session, the Somali representative particularly asked for people who speak English well to fight against the plan. The Hispanic representatives also talked about how complicated and difficult the plan is for people who speak Spanish to understand.


Update May 7, 2020
KerryJo Felder 4 Minneapolis School Board: District 2
shared tonight why she opposes the Minneapolis Public School (MPS) plan called the Comprehensive District Design (CDD) which will be voted on May 12th. She is one of the three of the nine school members vocally opposing the plan.

See her comments at:
Note that KerryJo Felder represents District 2. See the attached image of the map of MPS or see it here
Note District 2 is the far northwest part of Minneapolis, which Felder calls "the Northside" or her district.
District: This conversation is about the Comprehensive District Design of the Minneapolis Public School district. But note that often in this conversation, Felder uses "district" to refer to the district she represents: District 2 (that is a section of MPS).
Northside: often refers to this district 2 as the "Northside." She also refers to "northeast" (which is not her area). Everything south of these two areas, she calls "the Southside." For example, the Northside will have one magnet, Northeast will have 2, and the Southside will have 10.
Zone 1: Felder also referred to Zone 1. Here is a map of the different zones in Minneapolis Public Schools. Instead of focusing on the Northside (District 2), sometimes benefits are distributed to Zone 1 (which includes the Northside, Northeast, and part of the Southside).
Trades program: Felder has asked for this at North High School.
- Felder opposes the CDD. She thinks the vote will be 6-3 for the CDD. She hopes the CDD will be delayed because it is not a good idea to make this decision after the final plan was presented after the coronavirus stay-at-home order and so much is uncertain because of the coronavirus.
- The Northside has asked for a trade program (certain CTE career technical education programs) at North High School since 2012. But instead it is Roosevelt High School that will have:
• Auto
• Construction
• Machine Tool
• Welding
• Healthcare
- Felder had requested that two schools in the Northside become magnets: Cityview elementary become a K-8 and Nellie Stone Johnson elementary become a Spanish immersion magnet. But these requests were denied. Instead, the Spanish dual immersion program will go to a school that does not want it. Here is the magnets Before and After Image: from this webpage:
- It looks like many of those schools in the Northside will be very low in capacity. Yellow is Northside schools and Orange is northeast schools. See this chart:
- In 2018-2019, Felder said 2,399 students bused out of the Northside (District 2) to magnets in the south. That is why she wanted magnets on the Northside.
- Hmong International Academy in District 2 moved from K-8 to K-5. The 568 students from that 6-8 will need to go to another school. Those families may leave the district 2 and may even leave MPS. It is also possible that the younger students will leave because their older siblings are leaving. The Northside wanted more K-8 schools, not less.
- The academic curriculum improvements could be done without the CDD.
- The issues in struggling schools require hard work but are not addressed in the CDD.
- The EDIA (which is supposed to look at diversity issues) only looked at the placement process, not the whole plan because the plan had not yet been revealed.
See more comments made during the session at::
and different comments made during the session at:

Minneapolis Public School Parents, which has parents pro and con:

Minneapolis schools chief in spotlight with major redesign plan set for vote
Ed Graff's plan to redraw school boundaries has prompted harsh criticism.
By Ryan Faircloth Star Tribune MAY 9, 2020 — 9:07PM

In the last meeting Board Meeting on April 28th, Member Ali was angry at Member Walser for speaking on behalf of Somalis. But on April 22nd, Zeinab Omar who is Somali asked other people who speak English to speak out against the loss of Barton and K-8 schools in the CDD because it is difficult for Somalis to speak out. She said: "The Somali parents would like English speakers to speak for them. They want their voice to be heard. However, because they can't themselves, they are asking and pleading for everyone else who speaks the language of English to speak. They are looking for allies in this problem that we are foreseeing . . . In the last meeting I had with the Somali parents, they said that 'We have no voice. Please find people to speak for us since we don't speak the language.'" 1:44:26. And see approximately: 1:19:00 to 1:27:00 I think some of the misunderstanding may have to do with that.


Evidence that MPS has not done a good job engaging with teachers and administrators: 

For example:
from a group of teachers:

"Let’s be clear, the Inclusion Revolution is neither pro nor opposed to the CDD; neither are we neutral. We are regretful that both district and union leadership has allowed the racist idea that BIPOC are incapable of partnering with both the educator’s union and school district to create a plan that reflects their community and academic goals."

and from a principal:
"As a product, a parent and/or an employee of MPS, have I been brought in to the planning, ideation, or strategizing around this new design? No.
Does that bother me? Yes."


See also this amendment on the agenda proposed by KerryJo Felder:


Some comments on this MPS document spelling out the strengths of the CDD specifically for the northside:
1. There is an emphasis on how great both community (neighborhood) schools (#4) AND magnet are (#5) and that is incoherent. "A mandate for community schools to better reflect their school’s students and community . . . Stronger connections to the surrounding community and its resources, which increases family involvement." AND "Investments in magnet programs." The problem is that they basically make neighborhood schools magnets and magnets into neighborhood schools. They just switch them around even if they are right next to each other. The schools on the periphery of the district become more segregated. The areas in the center of the city receive all of the magnets so there are fewer options there for community schools. In other words, just turning a community school that was struggling into a magnet school does not necessarily improve it. Nor does turning a magnet school into a community school assure that the local neighborhood and families will support it. What makes a great school is long-term investment into that school by families, teachers, and staff. 25 of 51 of elementary and middle schools will be switching grades or programming.
2. There is an emphasis on how great it is that they are saving so much money on transportation and also how they are going to spend $200 million on physical upgrades. See #3, 7, 8. Saving $7 million a year on transportation will not quickly solve a $20 deficit or pay for $200 million in physical upgrades. Financially this is not coherent. It is highly unlikely that all of the comments in this document about stability and financial well-being have any basis in reality.
3. #6 about the educational experience is all wishful thinking and not part of the CDD. #2 about placement could be implemented without the CDD.
4. #1 there is reason to think there are *more* precarious schools.
- There will be 26 schools under 400 students. There are currently 19.
- 19 will be under 350 students. 12 under 350 currently.
5. Hall was already a magnet. Now it becomes a Steam magnet. District 2 School Board KerryJo Felder had requested that two schools in the Northside become magnets: Cityview elementary become a K-8 and Nellie Stone Johnson elementary become a Spanish immersion magnet. But these requests were denied.
6. Hmong International School loses their K-8 status and becomes a K-5. Felder worries whether those 568 students will leave MPS entirely. She had requested more K-8 schools, not less.
7. There is emphasis on better integration but what we really see is much greater segregation around the periphery of the city and theoretically better integration in 7 new magnets in the center of the city.

Michael Duenes: 
or try this one:

Having just listened to this, I just want to affirm what Michael Duenes is arguing.
The financial projections the district has just provided in April are unclear. The recent revelation that $200 million will be needed for capital improvements throws off any reasoning that the plan will help the district find financial stability. With 25 of 51 elementary and middle schools being changed as to what grades are in that building or what programming will be the focus, there will likely need to be retrofits in many of these buildings even beyond the $200 million estimated. As many have noted many buildings have just recently been retrofitted to fit their current programming. Moreover, it is highly uncertain whether this will keep schools from closing. There will be 26 schools under 400 students; there are currently 19. There will be 19 will be under 350 students; 12 under 350 currently. The most underenrolled buildings will be on the northside. See image or The schools in yellow in northwest ("northside") and orange in northeast.
Research does not show that disruption for disruption's sake works. Having special education and K-8 and non-English speaking families switch schools will cause students to leave MPS and will cause disruption in their learning. Actually, it will cause disruption in all 60 schools in the district and every student in the district who will be with a significant portion of new students, staff, and teachers. Everyone I have talked to is willing to be disrupted for the sake of equity and closing the achievement gap but there is little evidence that this disruption will do those things.
Many people who support the plan say that the CDD is a step in the right direction toward more administrators and teachers of color, better disciplinary procedures, safer schools, more culturally appropriate curriculum, and better engagement with parents and neighborhoods but what none of these things are in the CDD. What the supporters of the CDD hope, is that the CDD will lead to these things. As Michael Duenes emphasizes, if there is not money for these things, then those things will not happen.
Duenes also says that there are ways to engage communities of color and reach across economic divides but MPS has not done these things. I'm struck by how Duenes who talks about K-8 schools, Seward, Dowling, and South High School urges the district to pay attention to what is working in schools. Adam Barrett from the Southwest High School Foundation also stresses listening to teachers in his video yesterday. And KerryJo Felder stresses that the district is not listening to people in District 2 (on the far northwest side of Minneapolis) that she calls "the Northside" asking for a trades program at North, and for Cityview elementary to become a K-8 and Nellie Stone Johnson elementary to become a Spanish immersion magnet. Also these teachers and administrators have not felt consulted. "Let’s be clear, the Inclusion Revolution is neither pro nor opposed to the CDD; neither are we neutral. We are regretful that both district and union leadership has allowed the racist idea that BIPOC are incapable of partnering with both the educator’s union and school district to create a plan that reflects their community and academic goals." and from the principal of North High School: "As a product, a parent and/or an employee of MPS, have I been brought in to the planning, ideation, or strategizing around this new design? No. Does that bother me? Yes." The Teacher's Union also voted to oppose the plan.
I will also reiterate a point I have been making that Duenes does not make here. Setting aside the high school boundary changes and shifts in CTE (career and technical education) progamming for high schools (which is a totally different unrelated philosophy from that of the elementary and middle school shakeup), the HUGE BIG IDEA of the CDD is centralized magnets. This came out of a computer study of how to save money on busing. The study began in August 2019 by an outside company and was presented in November 2019 and the district decided to accept it. That was the HUGE DECISION. It saves only 1.1% of the budget or $6.9 million dollars and MPS has a 20 million yearly deficit. And it demands that every functioning magnet not "in the center" be dismantled for no other reason that it is not in the center. This destroys the culture of Armatage, Barton, Bancroft, Dowling, Folwell, HIA, Seward, and Windom. Don't let people throw dust in your eyes and say this is also about "neighborhood-focused" community schools where the neighborhood will rally around the local school. They are getting rid of neighborhood schools in the city center and there is no indications that neighborhood schools will improve unless there is massive investment into that idea of local teachers of color, local curriculum, etc. The community schools suffer under this plan. They lose numbers of students. The problem with this plan is not just wanton destruction of successful magnets and K-8 just because they are not central, the plan is also flawed because the city of Minneapolis is surrounded by other suburban districts where students can enroll. In other words, by making the magnets central and making everyone attend their neighborhood school, if you live on the periphery of the city (north, south, east, and west) instead of having the opportunity to attend a magnet near where you live, you may instead be closer geographically to a suburban school. In all the peripheral areas of the city, segregation will be much worse. All of the southwest schools will have less students of color and there will still be eleven RIS (racially identifiable schools) with more than 86% students of color on the periphery of the city. They hope that turning 7 current RIS schools in the center of the city into magnets, they will have slightly less students of color in these schools. But again, that is 7 new unproven magnets beginning at the same time, geographically near one another. The hope is that some of these will get good headlines, get a good reputation, and become popular. But this is likely to take years and is a huge gamble when there are already healthy magnet and K-8 schools sprinkled all over the district. There is rhetoric that there will be more magnets in "north" but KerryJo Felder rejects this rationale because in fact in her District 2, which she calls "the northside," they are losing HIA at a K-8 and only gaining a magnet at the southern most part of her district in Bethune and Franklin. What is so frustrating is that Minneapolis Public Schools has a history of abruptly switching schools around. See this article from 2013:
Also, Armatage was a community school and then a Montessori and then a community school. Windom has been all sorts of things.
In conclusion, if "centralized magnets" were an awesome strategy, schools all over the United States would have implemented it. It's not. Traditionally, providing busing has been the way help students of color and improve integration. Saving money on busing has been the argument of the segregationists. I do not question the motivations of those behind the CDD. I just do not think it will improve the financial position of the district or equity or student outcomes for students of color.

The Advancing Equity Coalition has one sentence of positive things about the CDD with four items mentioned:
"we are excited to see:
1. "boundary changes that rebalance enrollment to all areas of the city,"
A. The biggest boundary change is North High School having a vastly expanded boundary area. And yet the fantastic principal of North Mauri Friestleben was not consulted about this move. Nekima Levy Pounds worries that this will only bring in more white students to North High School who will continue to be treated in a favorable way by the district and that the needs of students of color will remain unaddressed. She opposes the CDD. Instead, KerryJo Felder who represents District 2 where North is located says that the Northside community has requested trade programs since 2012 (such as are offered at Roosevelt) for North High School but that has been denied again. She opposes the CDD. Boundary changes are needed from time to time in every district to balance enrollment numbers but it is concerning when the biggest intended beneficiaries of such a move are not enthusiastic about it.
B. With the CDD, there will be many more small schools: 19 schools will be under 350 students, while there are only 12 schools under 350 students currently. There is a danger some of them will close. 7 of the 8 least enrolled schools will be in North or Northeast. There is also significant danger that some of the new magnets may not survive since they are all concentrated in one spot and unproven. No one wants to close schools but this massive disruption of every school in the district is likely to destabilize all 60 schools in the district and some will not draw enough students to be viable.
2. "an increased investment in academics due to transportation costs savings,"
"MPS is projecting that the CDD will result in $6.9 million in transportation savings, which will be available for redistribution among schools." Recall that this is only 1.1% of the annual budget. Note that: "The District projects $10.7M in ongoing annual costs related to the CDD" and $202 million in capital costs (building renovations). All of us in the conversation are supportive of funding for education but let no one think that saving money on busing is going to pay for the CDD.
3. "changes to the MFT contract that increase recruitment and retention of teachers of color, investments in the Human Resources department to recruit and retain talent at hard to staff schools,"
Comment: These issues were added as the last video / PowerPoint under the heading Supporting Work that will begin in June if the CDD is passed. These good investments could also be implemented without the CDD passing. In fact, there might be more money for this if the CDD did not pass. Also the new good Student Placement Policies as recommended by the EDIA report could be implemented without the CDD being passed.
4. "an intentional placement strategy for magnet and Career and Technical Education programming."
It is indeed a huge decision for the elementary and middle school grades to have "centralized magnets." At first, "centralized magnets" make intuitive sense: "students will commute downtown like adults commuting to work and all students will have equal access to the magnet options!" But unfortunately it is unlikely to work:
A. It dismantles magnet and K-8 schools that have built up over time a history and culture. It will take years to establish this at a new site.
B. It deprives parts of the city that are not "central" from a magnet choice near to them. The peripheral areas (north, south, east, and west) become more segregated. All of the schools in southwest get whiter; and the north and northeast schools that are north of the centralized magnets continue to have eight Racially Identifiable Schools with more than 86% students of color. KerryJo Felder wanted magnets farther north, not "centralized magnets" most of which she considers are on "the southside."
C. Many students on the periphery of the city will be closer geographically to Robbinsdale or Brooklyn Center or Richfield or another nearby suburb than to a "centralized magnet" and thus more students will likely choose to enroll there so MPS will lose students. Many students on the periphery of the city will live a 15-minute car ride from a magnet which may be a 60-minute school bus ride each way.
D. This is a huge gamble to hope that 7 previously Racially Identifiable Schools located geographically near one another in the center of the city will all attract enough students to their unique magnet programming. Typically, people enroll at a magnet because it has a good reputation that has been built up over years. It is possible a number of these magnets will not draw enough students to be viable. It would have been less risky to simply turn the community schools KerryJo Felder asked to be turned into magnets than to go all in and bet everything on centralized magnets.
E. District staff have tried to say that the plan helps community schools because the neighborhood will rally around their local school. But there is no guarantee that a new local community school will thrive and be embraced by its neighborhood and there is nothing in the plan to facilitate it. That loyalty takes years of relationships. This plan switches community schools into magnets and vice-versa. 25 of 51 elementary and middle schools will shift either the grades in the building or programming. It is wildly optimistic to imagine that students will flock to the new various magnets in the city center, AND that neighborhoods will embrace and support the new community schools. It is not coherent to switch magnets into community schools and community schools into magnets that were right next to each other in central Minneapolis and insist this is a great strategy.
Clearly, the authors of the Advanced Equity Coalition feel like though they were not heard until last March 2019, they now feel like they have been listened to and so want the CDD passed despite their many demands that the CDD does not address. Many of us who oppose the CDD agree with many of these demands. We are interested in equity and bridging the achievement gap and prioritizing the needs of poor students and students of color. However, we just disagree that the CDD as it is currently designed will help students.

Teacher's Union president: 
95% of comments were against the CDD: 
Read them at:

Similar analysis to mine:

Costs may balloon: 
Something to keep your eye on is the cost of the CDD.


According to my count, all these buildings will hold different grades:

1. Andersen
2. Barton
3. Hale
4. Heritage
5. HIA
6. Field
7. Folwell
8. Lake Harriet- Lower
9. Lake Harriet- Upper
10. Lake Nokomis-Keewaydin
11. Lake Nokomis-Wenonah
12. Marcy
13. Seward

There may be costs associated with this.

For example, recently a $17 million renovation was done to Seward to accommodate its 6th-8th graders including middle school science labs. Now it will become a K-5 school. (It is now a K-8 school).

I saw someone mention the height of the toilets being different for little kids as compared to middle schoolers!


An additional 12 schools will switch from being magnets to community schools or vice-versa. (So will Barton, Folwell, and Marcy listed above).

1. Anwatin
2. Armatage
3. Bancroft
4. Bethune
5. Dowling
6. Franklin
7. Green Central
8. Hall
9. Jefferson
10. Sullivan
11. Whittier
12. Windom

Different equipment will be necessary.

See: CDD PowerPoint from the MPS School Board May 12th Agenda Packet entitled Presentation--Financial Costing on page 11-12.


Key CDD Capital Projects

• Dual Language sites

Andersen School
→ $17,574,247 Capital Improvements
→ $6,000,784 LTFM
→ Furniture, fixture and equipment, restroom modifications, technology space,
science labs, lunchroom, performance space and daylighting

Sheridan School
→ $14,078,171 Cooling and entrance

• Science Labs
$10,856,298 - FAIR, Andersen, Franklin, Jefferson, and Justice Page

• Arts Magnet improvements
$2,187,350 – Bethune and Marcy

• North High
→ $27,597,501 - CTE
→ $25,156,735 - Lunchroom, entrance, FFE, technology
→ $58,354,937 - Mechanical, electrical, elevator, HVAC system renewal

I think changing 25 of your 51 elementary or middle schools in terms of what grades are in the building or the programming will cost a lot of money in terms of building renovations. Above MPS mentions 6 of the 25 schools will need building improvements. I assume many of the other 19 will also need money! (Most of us are supportive of spending money on education so this is not that huge of a concern for us IF it is the right changes! But $7 million savings on busing will not cover it!)  Also, how long will it take? Te cafeteria at Windom has taken three years to get built.

But a number of us who are worried about the CDD are concerned that switching 25 of your 51 schools will be enormously hard to pull off in the fall of 2021! It will mean laying off many teachers and staff from one school and trying to hire them back at a new school. It will mean a huge proportion of students and families learning a new school. (Plus, all of the boundary changes!) Again, EVERYONE I know is willing for their own kids to be disrupted for the sake of equity. BUT, this is an enormous disruption for many many students, teachers, and staff and there is significant doubt whether "centralized magnets" will lead to more equity. As you can see, I have my doubts! But it passed 6-3 so we'll see!


Map of schools that are projected to gain students. I circled them.
Map of schools that gain students

Map of schools that are projected to gain students. I circled them.

These schools gain students:
North High School
Sheridan K-5 Spanish Dual Language Magnet
Andersen Middle School and Middle School Spanish Dual Language Magnet
Olson Middle School
Green Central K-5 Spanish Dual Language Magnet
Sullivan K-8 STEAM Magnet
Bethune K-5 Arts Magnet
Franklin Middle School STEAM Magnet
Jefferson K-8 Global Studies Magnet
Hall K-5 STEM Magnet
Bryn Mawr K-5 Community School
Pillsbury K-5 Community School
Northeast Middle School
Henry High School
Justice Page Middle School
Anthony Middle School


These schools gain students:
- North High School
" Sheridan K-5 Spanish Dual Language Magnet
*# Andersen Middle School and Middle School Spanish Dual Language Magnet
* Olson Middle School
" Green Central K-5 Spanish Dual Language Magnet
< Sullivan K-8 STEAM Magnet
" Bethune K-5 Arts Magnet
# Franklin Middle School STEAM Magnet Magnet
< Jefferson K-8 Global Studies Magnet
" Hall K-5 STEM Magnet
+ Bryn Mawr K-5 Community School
+ Pillsbury K-5 Community School
* Northeast Middle School
- Henry High School
* Justice Page Middle School
* Anthony Middle School

- High School (2)
+ K-5 Community School (2)
* Community Middle School (5)
< K-8 magnet (2)
" K-5 magnet (4): Spanish Dual Immersion (2) and STEAM (1) and STEM (1)
# Middle School Magnet (2): Spanish Dual Immersion (1) and STEAM (1)


I wonder if the five new magnets (STEAM and STEM and Global Studies and Arts) will be popular. Maybe they will be but I think that is uncertain.

I am more confident that the three Spanish Dual Immersion schools will indeed grow since those have been popular in the past at Anwatin, Windom, and Emerson.

I also wonder about the wisdom of trying to grow six middle schools at the expense of K-8 programs. The idea behind it is that they will have better programming (more electives and sports and music) because they are bigger but it is hard to make the change into middle school and the social problems are sometimes difficult in a big middle school.

Anyway, you can really see what the CDD hopes to achieve in that map of these 16 schools.

Recall that enrollment is expected to be lower in 36 schools so that is the cost to help these 16. About 4 stay the same within 2%. And all 56 schools are substantially disrupted because of the bet that the CDD shifts with magnets and boundaries will help these schools.

One interesting thing to notice is District 5 which Nelson Inz represents has zero schools gaining students. Wow. He voted in favor of the CDD. He is a teacher in St. Paul and his kids attend Whittier, which is in District 4. He is not up for reelection this fall.
Projected capacity 3

The schools projected to have 80.0% capacity or more are marked in red. 18 schools.
The schools projected to have less than 60.0% capacity marked with yellow. 13 schools.
Not marked 60.0 - 79.9% capacity. 25 schools.
For me, what this raises most of all in terms of accountability will be whether these projections are even close to reality. With all 56 schools essentially starting over with new boundaries, programming, grades, etc., no one really knows how many will leave MPS for charters, open enrolling in neighboring districts, or private schools, or choosing their unproven "new" community school or a new magnet. This is one of the huge problems with massive disruptive change, that it is all a big gamble so it makes it extremely difficult to know which buildings to renovate and how to plan because there is so much uncertainty.
It also suggests why KerryJo Felder who represents District 2 voted against the plan. There are five schools under 60.0% in that district. There are also people who say that few people in northeast (District 1 Arneson voted for) send their kids to MPS. There is only one full school projected to be there and two more empty ones. Whereas District 3 (Ali voted for) and District 4 (Walz voted against) appear to be in good shape. The centralized magnets may help those districts. District 5 had no schools gain students in the CDD and continues to appear as if it is suffering under the plan in this map with two fully enrolled schools and two more empty ones. Inz voted for the CDD but his district gets little from it. In District 6 (Jourdain voted against), there are worries from Lyndale about it closing and there have been questions about whether Kenny would need to close (to give more students to Armatage).


Here is a stab at answering how they do projections (I think).
1. They assume students who currently attend MPS schools will attend MPS schools minus 2%.
"UPDATED FEB. 27: We project that another approximately 2% of students will initially make the decision to exit MPS – and we hope to eventually regain their enrollment with improvements in the educational experience we offer."
I think it is highly likely MPS will lose more students than this. (There was talk of losing 1/3 of students but I am unable to find the quotation or documentation of that).
2. They assume about the same number of students who attend magnets now will attend a magnet. So they divvy out the current magnet school students to other magnets.
This document at entitled "Transition Plan Rules"
gives their reasoning behind their projections about how many students will attend each magnet.
You ask about Andersen. Andersen is unique because it will both be a community school and a magnet.
They assume students from these schools who already involved with Spanish Dual Language will attend the Spanish Dual Language at Andersen:
• 31 already at Andersen
• 166 currently at Anwatin
• 67 currently at Emerson
• 61 currently at Windom
• 19 currently at Green
• 15 currently at Jefferson
If students want to do Spanish Dual Language in Middle School, they must go to Andersen. Therefore, I think MPS is correct that there will be a good number of students who will do so.
I am more skeptical that students will choose the other magnets, which are unproven and not K-8: especially STEAM (Franklin), STEM (Hall), and Arts (Bethune and Marcy). With Spanish Dual Language, the students will already have invested K-5 in Spanish Dual Language, and therefore will be reluctant to jettison it. There will be no such pressure to choose a STEAM or STEM or Arts magnet unless one really thinks it will be better than your community school.
The number of students who are projected to attend Andersen community middle school seems to be based on the number of students who currently live in the attendance area, except for those who already attend a magnet other than Spanish immersion and minus 16% who live close to another magnet and minus 2%.
3. I just think this 16% statistic is interesting. They also assume that if a student lives very close to a magnet, they have 16% chance of wanting to attend that magnet.
"Students whose home address is within a 0.5 mile radius of a magnet school are assumed to have a 16%
chance to attend that magnet school. The remaining 84% of students are assumed to attend their
community school [16% is based on current percent of students who live within a 0.5 mile radius of a
magnet school who attend that magnet]."
I did not realize that the number was so low. I thought that if you lived within 5 blocks of a magnet, you would be more likely to choose that school. But apparently only 16% do. Again, that makes me worry about the STEAM, STEM, and Arts magnets that are not K-8. Who will bus to attend those schools?