Changes Coming to Elementary Attendance Boundaries

Changes Coming to Elementary Attendance Boundaries
Posted on 11/17/2016

Changes Coming to Elementary Attendance Boundaries

The School District of the Menomonie Area includes five elementary schools–two single-section schools in Knapp and Downsville and three larger city schools: Oaklawn, River Heights, and Wakanda. Attendance at each of these grade K-5 schools is primarily determined by geographic boundaries that have been drawn to balance enrollment at each site based on space, staff, bus routes, and other resources that are available. Due to changes in our community where families with elementary-age children live, these boundaries need to be adjusted from time to time. 

Planning for the most recent elementary attendance area boundary change in the school district was initiated in December 2012. At that time, the enrollment at Oaklawn Elementary School was projected to exceed capacity, new residential growth was primarily located in the Oaklawn attendance area, and the recent addition at Wakanda Elementary had left more space for additional classrooms. This led to a shift in boundaries that moved some students from Oaklawn to Wakanda, and for the next three school years enrollment at both buildings was optimal.

Now, four years later, it appears that more families with elementary-age children live in North Menomonie and many of the new housing developments are located in the Wakanda Elementary attendance area.  While attendance at River Heights, Downsville, and Knapp are close to ideal levels, enrollment at Oaklawn and Wakanda has become unbalanced. This year, there are approximately forty more students at Wakanda than at Oaklawn, mostly in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms. This has led to higher class sizes and an extra section of kindergarten at Wakanda. In studying four-year-old kindergarten enrollment to project kindergarten class sizes for next year, it appears that this trend will continue and the gap between enrollment at Oaklawn and Wakanda will grow to a problematic level.

While the school district tries to use the annual approval of boundary exemption requests to help balance class sizes between sites, the size of the gap that we are facing now will likely require a more substantial solution. It is likely that the attendance boundaries between Wakanda and Oaklawn Elementary Schools will need to be redrawn so that class sections, class sizes, staffing, transportation, and support services can be balanced to best serve our children and families in the most effective and efficient manner.

Should school families or community stakeholders have any questions, concerns or suggestions elementary attendance boundaries, or if you are interested in serving on a committee to study this issue and help school district staff develop a recommendation for the school board, I invite you visit me at the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue, or contact me at 715-232-1642. This issue will continue to be discussed at upcoming school board meetings, and it is expected that a decision for the 2017-2018 school year will be made before this year’s spring break.

More information about our schools can be found on the school district website (, and I regularly post school-related information on Twitter ( and Facebook (