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What Role Does Wealth Play in Edina Request to Leave Hopkins Schools?

The homes in the detachment area are more valuable than elsewhere in the district—or the typical Edina neighborhood. Check out the numbers for yourself and share your thoughts on how much it matters.

About one out of four homes in the portion of Edina that wants to leave the Hopkins School District is worth $1 million or more—making the area much wealthier than the typical neighborhood in the school district or Edina as a whole.

That information comes from school district data put together in advance of a Thursday School Board vote on whether to support a detachment request from Parkwood Knolls and Walnut Drive property owners.

The demographics paint a picture of wealthy neighborhoods where even the vacant lots are worth more than the median home value in Edina and most of the Hopkins school district. Parcels with homes have a median value 77 percent greater than the city median.

The role of money and wealth has been a particularly contentious part of an issue that was already contentious. The two school district committees that examined the issue both questioned why advocacy group Unite Edina 273 didn’t include neighboring apartments that are also in Edina. The School Board’s Policy Monitoring Committees added that those who don’t own land don’t have the same power to petition for a change in school districts.

“I’ve got many phone calls from many people in many neighborhoods (saying) ‘What does Unite Edina mean? Does that mean all of Edina?’” School Board Treasurer Wendy Donovan said at an October meeting of the Citizens Financial Advisory Committee. “So when we say ‘Unite Edina,’ it’s really not uniting Edina. It’s uniting your part of Edina.”

Others said the push is about increasing property values and developing vacant land.

“This is not in the best interest of the District and all of the citizens concerned, nor is it in accordance with the purpose of the detachment statute,” the Policy Monitoring Committee concluded.

That committee pointed to an e-mail that Edina Realty Realtor Kim Melin sent to Sen. Geoff Michel and Rep. Keith Downey, who sponsored bills that would have made it easier for property owners to change school districts. Melin wrote that the change would increase home values, resurrect construction projects that had been placed on the back burner and bring in jobs and income.

“I cannot tell you from a professional side how impactful this issue will be to the Real Estate market in Edina,” she wrote.

Unite Edina supporters counter that the school district shouldn’t worry about how detachment would affect property values.

“Would that be a bad thing? Would the Hopkins School Board decide not to approve this on the basis that Edina property values would go up? I think not,” Unite Edina lobbyist Jim Erickson told the Citizens Financial Advisory Committee. “I’m not so sure the fact that Edina property values will go up in this area is a factor.”

Instead, petitioners say the request is about neighborhood schools and a sense of community—not money. They say they want to leave the Hopkins school district because its schools are not in locations that serve the families’ educational needs.

Most of the students in the detachment area already attend Edina schools, and the request has overwhelming support among homeowners there. By the district’s own count, 96 percent of properties in the detachment area submitted petitions to change districts.

“I’d like you to apply a higher standard,” Erickson asked the committee. “Yes, it is possible and perhaps true that the self interest of the Hopkins school district would be to simply say no. I’d like to suggest that there’s a higher, and perhaps greater, public community good.”

***

By the numbers …

Types of properties in the detachment area

  • 467: Total taxable parcels, about 2 percent of the total parcels in the Hopkins school district
  • 363: Parcels classified as homestead
  • 42: Vacant lots
  • 29: Vacant lots owned by the same company, Parkwood Knolls Construction Co.
  • 0: Commercial-industrial properties
  • 0: Apartment buildings

Property values

  • $373,000,000: Total market value of the homes petitioning to leave the district, 4.7 percent of local net tax capacity
  • $702,900: Median value of petitioning parcels with homes
  • 107: Number of homes worth $1 million or more
  • $396,550: Median home value in the City of Edina overall, according to the Star Tribune.
  • 71: The approximate number of petitioning homes at or below the City of Edina median, about 17 percent of the detachment area’s residential properties.
  • $191,000: Median home value in the City of Hopkins overall, according to the Star Tribune.
  • 4: The approximate number of petitioning homes at or below the City of Hopkins median.
  • $498,800: Median value of a petitioning parcel that’s a vacant lot.

Student attendence

  • 192: Total number of school-age children in the detachment area
  • 121: Students in the area attending Edina Public Schools
  • 61: Students attending other public schools, charter schools or private schools.
  • 10: Students attending Hopkins Public Schools.

Driving times*

  • Northern portion to Alice Smith Elementary: 2.73 miles or five minutes from the northwest corner. 3.9 miles or nine minutes from the southeast corner.
  • Southern portion to Alice Smith Elementary: 5.87 miles or 10 minutes.
  • Northern portion to Hopkins High School: 3.8 miles or six minutes from the northwestern corner. 4.97 miles or 11 minutes from the southeastern corner.
  • Southern portion to Hopkins High School: 6.94 miles or 11 minutes.
  • Northern portion to Highlands Elementary: 2.9 miles or eight minutes from the northwest corner. 1.41 miles or three minutes from the southeast corner.
  • Northern portion to Edina High School: 3.34 miles or six minutes from the northwest corner. 2.36 miles or six minutes from the southeast corner.
  • Southern portion to Countryside Elementary: 1.77 miles or four minutes.
  • Southern portion to Edina High School: 2.36 miles or six minutes.

*All distances and times are according to MapQuest. Distances for the northern portion were measured from the intersection of Lincoln Drive and Malibu Drive for the northwestern corner and Pine Grove Road and Blake Road South for the southeastern corner. Distances for the southern portion were measured from the intersection of Vernon Avenue South and Walnut Drive.

Maury Ballsteen December 19, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Will the Unification of Edina 273 allow all those children forced to attend private schools, charter schools, or other public schools with the opportunity to attend Edina's schools? It would seem terribly unfair for this noble effort to only benefit the 10 children that are attending Hopkins public schools. We can hope that if this group succeeds, that all those other children who have somehow been apparently ostracized can finally be re-united with their rightful schools.
J. Bergman December 19, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Isn't part of the issue the FREEWAYS? Parkwood Knolls children can ride their bikes down neighborhood streets to reach Edina schools. To reach their assigned Hopkins elementary school, they would need to ride their bikes down Hwy. 169 &/or Hwy. 7. As far as driving goes, Hwy. 169 is not a fun place to be during rush hour.
Bruce Rowan December 19, 2012 at 07:39 PM
"Forced to attend private schools" ...What??? How does that work?
J. Bergman December 19, 2012 at 07:52 PM
***My comment was removed.**** I wrote a comment stating that the real issue is the freeways. Children in Parkwood Knolls can ride their bikes down neighborhood streets to reach Edina schools, but to reach their assigned elementary school by bike, they would have to ride their bikes down Hwy. 169 or Hwy. 7. I also pointed-out that, as far as driving goes, it is not fun to be on Hwy. 169 during rush hour. Did someone flag my comment as "inappropriate" simply because he/she disagreed with me?
J. Bergman December 19, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Now my comment is back. I took a screenshot of when it was removed. It's really sad if people remove all the comments with which they disagree.
AAR December 19, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Funny, when the Unite Edina people came to my door their big reason was to increase property values.
AAR December 19, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Nearly everybody in that neighborhood went to or goes to Edina. And what do you mean forced to attend private schools? That's pretty disrespectful to Hopkins, which is a strong school system.
J. Bergman December 19, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Previous articles state that there were only two (out of 400) families who didn't want to sign the petition. Apparently, you were one of the two.
AAR December 19, 2012 at 08:03 PM
We signed the petition. We just want people to be honest about why they're doing this.
Maury Ballsteen December 19, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Bruce, I apologize, I don't think any children were actually forced to attend public schools. I was being sarcastic. I was just wondering if the definition of "reunite" was bringing all the children from that neighborhood to Edina's school district, or just the 10 that were still being held hostage and forced to attend Hopkins schools because they lived in the Hopkin's School district.
Maury Ballsteen December 19, 2012 at 08:22 PM
I'm not a cartographer, but I am still PRETTY sure that you can get from Parkwood Knolls to ANY school in Hopkins without riding your bike down 169 and or Hwy 7. I'd prove it, but it is pretty easy to use google maps if you don't believe me.
Dave Hruby December 19, 2012 at 08:37 PM
The people who bought/built home sin the neighborhood knew what district they were part of. This isn;t a situation where re-districting changed the boundaries and penalized them. I see no reason to bring them into Edina schools. The only real benefit would be to the property owners whose home values would increase substantially. If they wanted Edina schools, they should have bought in the Edina school district. Seems they certainly could have afforded it.
J. Bergman December 19, 2012 at 08:37 PM
AAR said that, "when the Unite Edina people came to my door their big reason was to increase property values." That isn't what I remember at all. I remember discussing what's best for our children. It seems the Hopkins school board members are the ones who are only talking about money. Perhaps different people talk about, and are motiviated by, a variety of issues. What matters most though, in my opinion, is the children.
J. Bergman December 19, 2012 at 08:40 PM
The issue is that some of these people bought homes in Parkwood Knolls when the Hopkins school district operated a nearby elementary school. Since then, Hopkins has closed the two closest elementary schools, and now the Edina school are closer.
Maury Ballsteen December 19, 2012 at 09:03 PM
How is this best for the children? Because it is closer? What gift does proximity provide? You can't honestly say these things with a straight face. The proposed change would only impact 10 children. The rest are either open enrolled, or attend a different school. It sure seems like "the children" are being leveraged to accomplish other goals. At leastt have the courage to admit it is about money. Of course the money is a concern for Hopkins School District. That is a lot of money being removed from the school district's budget. At least that side of the discussion isn't being disingenuous about their motives. you can't campaign privately that it will increase property values, and then public say it's for The Children
Christy Thiele December 19, 2012 at 09:10 PM
My husband and I didn't grow up in Minnesota and the idea that you live in a community but not that community's school district was not familiar to us. When we bought our house we didn't know it wasn't in the Edina district (and don't blame the real estate agent). We open enrolled our children into Edina schools. When our youngest was entering kindergarten, the local Hopkins school closed. Even though we already had two children in Edina schools, there was no guarantee our youngest would be in the same school or even district. Luckily, he got in. Some families were not as lucky. Bottom line is the residents of PKA want to be part of the Edina district.
Maury Ballsteen December 19, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Christy, Thanks for your comment. That makes sense to me. I can even empathize with your position. But what I don't understand is why that is anyone else's problem? Because you didn't read the fine print when you bought your house? I agree it would be tough if some of your children attended one school, whle the rest attended school in another district, but that isn't Hopkin's School's problems. That scenario would be caused by your choice to leave your school district and open enroll in another one, with the understanding that you might not get all your kids in your preferred school through open enrollment. Again, I understand it would be difficult for a family, but there are other, more logical solutions, than moving district boundries.
David F December 20, 2012 at 01:13 AM
I find it hard to believe people buy a house without knowing what school district they are moving into. I have lived in 4 school districts in 3 states and I always knew what school district the house I was looking at or finally purchased was in. My previous school district I had my children children enrolled in Montessori and day care in the school district I wanted them to eventually attend before I found a house to purchase. This attitude of 'I didn't know' permeates the construction industry but find it hard to believe with something as important as home ownership.
AMC December 20, 2012 at 04:33 PM
As a parent in this area, I could CARE LESS what district my child goes to. My issue is the drive time. Regarding the above calculated distances and drive times, I would urge the reporter to drive these routes during rush hour. The Hopkins schools require FREEWAY COMMUTES while we can reach the Edina schools by city streets. Recently I had the pleasure of spending over 40 minutes in the car with my 5 year old son commuting home to Parkwood Knolls from an art class at the Gatewood Elementary school in Hopkins. This sort of commute is not possible for my husband and I given our work schedules.
AMC December 20, 2012 at 04:41 PM
And as a follow up to my comment below, I should clarify that of course we can use google maps as suggested. I've done this as well however the commute remains lengthy and based on the reporter's estimate of distance and time, any drive in the Twin Cities can look deceptively quick and close.
gretchen norby December 20, 2012 at 07:00 PM
I feel I am in same position here in Edina I am in the Southeast corner bordering Richfield and my address is supposedly in the Richfield School District along with 304 other condo units that are primarily 65 and older with no children we get to pay the Richfield School Levy. Is'nt it ironic. If I sell my condo I have to tell the buyer I am in the Richfield School District and your kids would have to go to Richfield Public School. Why can't kids just go to School in there own city where they live. I live in Edina my kids should be able to go to school in Edina. This is just terrible.
dontworry December 20, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Edina residents are arrogant and self centered. I would not be surprised if their selling point was to "raise property values". Who cares? Let the children go to whichever school they please. That's why they are PUBLIC schools.
David F December 20, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Couldn't tell from this conversation that Forbes just named Hopkins on the top 15 friendliest (13) towns in the US http://tcbmag.com/News/Recent-News/2012/December/Hopkins-Among-15-Cities-on-Forbes-Friendliest-Tow
David F December 20, 2012 at 09:20 PM
This has been discussed before but most school district boundaries do not align with the city they are named for. One of the biggest suburbs, Plymouth, has no school district, it is part of the Wayzata School district. Hopkins School district includes chunks of several cities including Edina. There is an old saying it is what it is. There are no surprises with all these school district boundary issues. Families can open enroll, go to a private school or move if they please to get into a preferred school district.
Kim Melin December 21, 2012 at 03:27 AM
I am sorry to see this. I have been quoted in this article: That committee pointed to an e-mail that Edina Realty Realtor Kim Melin sent to Sen. Geoff Michel and Rep. Keith Downey, who sponsored bills that would have made it easier for property owners to change school districts. Melin wrote that the change would increase home values, resurrect construction projects that had been placed on the back burner and bring in jobs and income. “I cannot tell you from a professional side how impactful this issue will be to the Real Estate market in Edina,” she wrote. This was from a statement I made over two years ago. It was used out of context and has been misunderstood. This is a family and child issue.

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