Silva says she's open to tweaking St. Paul schools planby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — St. Paul Superintendent Valeria Silva says she's open to tweaking her plans for the district's French Immersion school.
Silva first unveiled her plan -- which she calls "Strong Schools, Strong Communities" -- last week.
One change in Silva's proposed three-year strategic plan is to move L'Etoile du Nord French immersion school from St. Paul's East Side to a building near downtown.
Some parents have noted that new site is smaller than the current building, and they've suggested instead moving to the shuttered Longfellow school building.
In an e-mail to L'Etoile du Nord families, Silva said she's open to that idea.
"Any ideas out there that make sense and are feasible and that don't compromise student achievement and don't compromise the plan -- I think the superintendent is open to listening to those," said Howie Padilla, a district spokesman.
However, Silva's e-mail said while she will consider the switch to Longfellow, she won't consider keeping the school in its current location, as some East Side residents have requested.
"We feel there are no high-performing schools on the East Side," said Sarah Geving, the parent of a second grader at the school. "We have a lot of empty homes here, and if the French immersion isn't going to be here, I can't see them wanting to move in here."
Silva, in her e-mail, said keeping the school on the East Side doesn't fit into the "comprehensive and interconnected nature" of the entire plan.
"We had to shape a plan that considered and balanced the needs of all schools and families equitably," she wrote.
Another proposed change would close Four Seasons Elementary after this school year. The school has an arts theme that parents say they want to keep, even if the school is located in a different building next year.
The district wants to use the current Four Seasons building for expansion of the special education program at Bridge View, which is located next door.
Dozens of Four Seasons parents, along with L'Etoile du Nord families, attended Tuesday night's school board meeting to ask for the board to consider such changes to the plan.
The district will hold six community meetings in coming weeks to gather public input. The first one is next Thursday, Jan. 27. Final approval of the entire strategic plan is scheduled for March 15.