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 would cost Hopkins more than $550,000 in lost revenue, 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.