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Valley Crossing being sought over by two districts

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Unlike most schools, Valley Crossing Community School is an optional school for families, which means that there is no boundary limit for the school and any family that wishes to send their child to attend.

Unlike most schools, Valley Crossing Community School is an optional school for families, which means that there is no boundary limit for the school and any family that wishes to send their child to attend.

Photo by Anna Craggs

Photo by Anna Craggs

Unlike most schools, Valley Crossing Community School is an optional school for families, which means that there is no boundary limit for the school and any family that wishes to send their child to attend.

Valley Crossing Community School is facing student population issues and must decide on the decision. VCCS is involved with three school districts, #834 Stillwater, #833 South Washington County, and #622 North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale. Unlike most schools, VCCS is an optional school for families, which means that there is no boundary limit for the school and any family that wishes to send their child to attend. For the Stillwater school district, VCCS does happen to be a boundary school. Now because of the population growing in the school, there is an over capacity of students and will have to decided on future education opportunities for their child.

Stillwater Area High School Principal Rob Bach said, “There also happens to an anticipation of homes being built in the Valley Crossing Area. Right now, we need the space due to the growth that is going to happen.”

Including the population problems currently facing VCCS, now the school will be facing even more troubling times as new families will be looking toward the school to send their kids.

Along with VCCS, schools such as Lake Elmo Elementary are at capacity and must find opportunities to lighten the load of students attending.

Valley Crossing Principal Lela Olson explained, “Parts of Woodbury and Lake Elmo are growing in population and their schools in these areas are currently at capacity or will be soon into the future.”

District #834 and District #833 are both interested in having the facility of VCCS all to themselves. So there must be a compromise in who gets it and where the other will go.

“One way we can help with that space issue is that Valley Crossing were all ours, but then we would have to get rid of this other two school districts. So maybe we could buy it from them, but maybe they don’t want to sell it,” said Bach.

If District #834 buys the school, students who currently attend the school will remain and other students from schools such as Lake Elmo Elementary would be possibly directed toward VCCS. However, there is a possibility that the other districts outside of Stillwater won’t be willing to sell their ownership of the school, so then #834 will have to look for available facilities.

History Teacher Beau LaBore is on the Future Facilities Task Force, which is a team that works throughout District #834 to look upon possible facilities in needed areas. LaBore said, “If we do not buy the elementary school, we would be paid for our portion. Then, we would use the money we were given to build an elementary school in that area to help us to meet the needs of our student population.”

All three districts attended a meeting the first week of November to talk out what possible ways they can arrange for students to attend the proper schools. Propositions are examined and will be continued to be looked at over the next few months.

Bach said, “There is a recommendation that went before the school board […] that has talked about different plans for long range facilities. The school board has to look through that report into the community and have to accept the recommendations that go along with it. That report basically just says that we buy Valley Crossing or build another school. So they either accept the conditions or move on from it. They’ll make a decision on that in February. If they do decide on the building a new school, citizens will have to vote on it as it will cost money, and that will happen in May.”

Once the decision is made in the upcoming months, the process of moving students and faculty will begin throughout all three occupying districts.

Olson said, “If one district buys out the others, at least 18 months of notice is required before that district could take ownership of the school. That is spelled out in the Joint Powers Agreement. This stipulation helps to ensure that the other districts have ample time to come up with an alternate plan for their students and families and to put steps in place to help make the transition to another school go as smoothly as possible for students.”

The faculty members are movable as their position does not necessarily contend to a specific district.

“There is a lot of faculty over there that aren’t exactly from the Stillwater District and we would have to see how that would officially work. Sometimes if the district buys an independent school like that, they take on those independent teachers or move them around to fill other opportunities,” said Bach.

Olson added, “If and when one district purchases Valley Crossing from the other districts, there is a legislation that helped protect current staff members and outlines their rights for employment with the purchasing district.

The final decision date is unclear at this time but will be anticipated in being resolved within the next year. Whichever decision that the school board comes to make, the families that have sent their students to Valley Crossing Community School must be keeping an eye on other possible educational opportunities in their district.

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About the Writer
Matt Brown, Social Media Editor
Matt Brown is a junior at SAHS. During the course of the school year, Matt participates in activities such as Theater, Concert Choir, and Newspaper. Matt’s favorite things to do outside of school is to play hockey and video games with his friends.

12 Responses to “Valley Crossing being sought over by two districts”

  1. Kyle Alvarez on December 19th, 2014 6:33 pm

    Very well written article! I really liked how well the interviews pulled together the article. It was also nice how Matt concluded the article.

  2. Ahnika Kroll on December 22nd, 2014 10:24 am

    This article did an awesome job of explaining the situation in all of its complexity! Your sources were AMAZING, they were such perfect people to have interviewed and it was helpful that they knew exactly what they were talking about. Great article!

  3. Robert Enright on January 3rd, 2015 2:39 pm

    I went to Valley Crossing and I experienced the multi-district school my self. My group of friends got split up and ended up going to 4 or 5 schools. I think it would be a good idea for the school to become part of 834. Very well written article and thanks for explaining all of the circumstances in this situation.

  4. Anna Craggs on January 6th, 2015 9:17 am

    I had no idea that this was such a big issue. Taking the photos for the article I wanted to know what was going on. You made the story very interesting and exciting to read.

  5. Adam Sutcliffe on January 7th, 2015 2:45 pm

    I really liked this article! The sources you used all seemed extremely well-informed, and you did a great job of explaining what is going on concisely and accurately. The links you used were also helpful to understanding the article.

  6. Sam Hudachek on January 7th, 2015 7:36 pm

    Lovely, lovely job Matt! You chose really good sources to get the answers you needed and they just fit in so nicely to the story. Well done!

  7. Braden Cousineau on January 7th, 2015 9:23 pm

    Being a former student from Valley Crossing I feel that this is an important issue. As long as my family and I can remember there has always been a rivalry between kids at VCCS because of everyone going to different middle schools/Jr. Highs. Another problem with VCCS being shared by districts is that you lose a lot of friends to other schools. When I graduated from valley crossing over half of the people that I knew went to a different school, this made the transfer to the Jr. High difficult because I didn’t know many people. I think it would be very beneficial to have our district have sole control over an elementary school in the area of Woodbury/Lake Elmo.

  8. Sam Begin on January 7th, 2015 9:28 pm

    Great job of blending the quotes into the story. The language feels very natural and the story is very easy to read as a result. Good job finding relavant and prominent sources who gave you really good quotes. Great reporting!

  9. Emily Lodahl on January 7th, 2015 11:24 pm

    I think you did a really good job on explaining the whole situation so that it isn’t confusing. You had amazing quotes from good sources too! Great job.

  10. Brey on January 8th, 2015 10:50 am

    Being a student from Valley Crossing I experienced the controversy between my friend group going all different ways in multiple different school districts. I think that article was informative and stated the issue of this multi district school very well.

  11. Kourtney Jancze on January 20th, 2015 3:13 pm

    I think you really did your research well, your quotes and information were put well together. You couldn’t have explained it much better then this. Goodjob

  12. Amy Jungmann on March 30th, 2016 2:15 pm

    This is a year late, but VCCS is NOT a choice school for a number of families in district 834. It is our attendance boundary assigned school.

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