Boundary Planning Project, Duluth Public Schools  

This fall and winter, citizens will be asked to review information related to current school attendance areas and discuss potential changes.   

Purpose:

  • Consider adjustments that would help ensure enrollment numbers are appropriate for the capacity of each school. 
  • Provide the detailed data and analysis necessary to help make informed decisions.  The school district is working with Cooperative Strategies, a firm with expertise in helping school districts gather data, analyze and draft boundaries for public consideration.
  • Incorporate family, staff, community and underserved communities input into the decision making process.  

Most larger districts adjust boundaries every few years - it's been over ten years since Duluth made adjustments to boundaries.   

The earliest any boundary changes would take place is September 2020.

Those interested in participating in a work session or focus group are invited to call 218-336-8752 or email melinda.thibault@isd709.org.  

Current School Boundaries, Attendance Areas


ISD 709 Boundary Project Update - November 2019
Phase I of the Cooperative Strategies' boundary study began in October when about 80 people came together to brainstorm options for boundary changes (Work Sessions). Participants worked in small groups with enrollment numbers, school capacity numbers, demographic information, and specialized software to brainstorm possible scenarios that would bring more balance to school enrollments and demographics.  Fifteen separate groups worked through the process testing different ways to shift boundaries and rechecking the balance of enrollments with each move. Some of the groups had unique ways of approaching the moves and others were quite similar. Not all of the models created were complete, but all had benefits and challenges.
View Work Group Session Scenarios
During Phase II of Cooperative Strategies’ boundary study process the fifteen scenarios were pared down to four.  In November, Focus Groups were utilized over a three day period as about 120 staff, parents, students, and communtiy members provided input on what they saw as benefits and challenges of the four scenarios. New ideas to consider and include also came out of this process.  Information was reviewed by the Duluth School Board during a public meeting.  Cooperative Strategies will use the feedback gathered to further refine the scenarios before coming back to Duluth for further input.
View Focus Group Scenarios
Phase III in January 2020 will include public meetings, online information and surveys, as well as copies available at school sites.
Phase IV in February 2020 or March 2020 will include open School Board meetings to consider the final recommendations.

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Process:   

October 15-16, 2019 Boundary Work Sessions

  • Three sets of meetings of about 25 people each, representing diverse stakeholder groups.
  • Use an interactive planning tool to create various boundary scenarios and explore the impacts of each.
  • Each set of meeting participants will break into small groups to create their own draft boundary scenario, with a total of ten to twelve rough draft scenarios created over the span of three meetings. 

Research and Analysis

  • School district personnel and consultant thoroughly analyze the impacts of rough draft scenarios.
  • Use results from the work sessions and analysis to identify draft scenarios for further exploration.

November 18-19, 2019 Focus Groups

  • Focus groups of about 15 people each, representing diverse stakeholder groups.
  • Review draft scenarios, discuss benefits, challenges, additional data required.
  • The Duluth School Board will meet publicly in November to review information as well.

Preparation for Community Meetings & Survey

  • Using input from focus groups, school district personnel and Cooperative Strategies determine viable scenarios to present to the community for feedback.
  • Information is prepared to take out to the community via online surveys and community meetings.

January 2020 Information Available Online

  • Draft scenarios are available for community review online.
  • Information includes maps and detailed impact analysis.
  • Feedback immediately available through online survey.

January 22-23, 2020 Community Meetings

  • Presentation of  scenarios and impact.
  • Opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions.
  • Online materials and survey are also available.

Preparation of Recommended Boundary Scenario

  • Using input from online surveys and community meetings, draft a recommended boundary scenario.
  • Prepare information for posting online and for presentation to the Duluth School Board.
February or March 2020
  • Post recommended boundary scenario and detailed information online for community review.
  • Public meeting with Duluth School Board to present recommended boundary scenario and detailed information. 
  • Public meeting (regular monthly meeting or special meeting) for Duluth School Board vote to accept recommended boundary.