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
- $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.
- 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.
- 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.