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Big growth spurs big changes for school district

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An extensive enrollment overhaul by the Minneapolis School Board is in the works to handle the 3500 new students that are expected to be enrolled in the district by 2017. That amounts to a 10 percent growth in the number of pupils served by the state's third-largest school district.

KSTP reported the five-year plan, reviewed at the board's Tuesday meeting, includes re-opening some schools within the district while expanding others and launching an extensive expansion at Southwest High School to handle an expected addition of 450 students to the student body there.

The Star Tribune reported that the plan involves an estimated $143 million in building costs, plus $79 million in added costs, mainly for staff. The increase in the student population will generate additional student aid from the state.

The cost will cover building additions at Seward Montessori, Sanford Middle School and Cooper Elementary, plus cover the cost of reopening Cooper, Webster and Cityview elementaries and Franklin Middle School.

Meeting on one of the coldest nights of the year, the board took up air conditioning. The plan adds air conditioning to more schools after record heat closed some schools during the opening week last fall. Schools targeted for new or completed cooling systems are: Edison and Henry high schools, Sanford Middle School, and Hall, Loring, Bancroft, Armatage and Jefferson schools. About 20 schools in the Minneapolis district will still be without air conditioning.

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