Why Does the Hopkins School District Cover So Many Cities?

A look at how Hopkins’ boundaries came about may add context to a debate over whether some Edina residents should be able to leave the district.

Even though districts are typically named after one of the cities they serve, they are separate entities, legally distinct from those cities.

Hopkins Public Schools covers all of Hopkins, most of Minnetonka, half of Golden Valley and parts of Eden Prairie, Edina, Plymouth and St. Louis Park. Those boundaries reflect numerous votes and agreements between school districts and residents in the past.

This week, the Hopkins School Board will examine the latest in a long line of boundary change requests. A group of Edina residents in the Parkwood Knolls and Walnut Drive neighborhoods wants to leave Hopkins because they think its schools are not in locations that serve the families’ educational needs.

In preparation for the School Board’s vote Thursday, district administrators prepared a history of the district’s boundaries. That history showcases how a district named after a four-square-mile community grew into a 7,400-student entity covering a swathe of the west metro.

“Paramount in this process was local initiative and study, with the approval by legal entities—local school boards and subsequent referendum elections by the voters of each of the Common and/or Independent School Districts involved,” district administrators wrote in the report for the Thursday’s meeting.

Here’s a look at how Hopkins grew into what it is today, according to that report. Refer to the images above to see the areas being referenced.



Early decades

1898: Harley Hopkins Independent School District (ISD) No. 135 is established

  • Added portions of West Minneapolis (Hopkins), Edina and Minnetonka

1898: Hopkins ISD No. 19 is established

  • Added parts of West Minneapolis and Minnetonka Township
  • Prior to that, Hopkins was a common school district with a two-story, four-room school

1946: Glen Lake Common District No. 155 votes to dissolve and join Hopkins ISD No. 19

  • Added parts of Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie

1946: Shady Oak Common District No. 97 votes to dissolve and join Hopkins

  • Added parts of Minnetonka, Eden Prairie and Edina


After the Minnesota reorganization law

In 1947, the Legislature passed a law to reorganization law designed to encourage districts to start talking about combining. Minnesota went from 7,679 districts in 1945 to 2,148 districts in 1963, when the first mandatory reorganization legislation further reduced the number of districts.

1950: A vote to combine Oak Knoll Common School District, Burwell Common School District, Harley Hopkins and Hopkins fails when Harley Hopkins voters reject the idea.

1952: Harley Hopkins and Hopkins vote to consolidate, forming Independent School District No. 225.

  • Added parts of Hopkins, Edina and Minnetonka.

1953: Burwell and Hopkins vote to consolidate. A small part of Burwell goes to the Wayzata school district.

  • Added parts of Minnetonka and Hopkins

1954: Oak Knoll votes to consolidate

  • Added parts of Minnetonka and St. Louis Park.

1955: Westview Common School District No. 138 votes to consolidate with Hopkins

  • Added parts of Plymouth and Golden Valley.

1961: The commissioner of education changes Hopkins to District No. 274

1980: Golden Valley Independent District No. 275 dissolves and merges with Hopkins. The new district is designated District No. 270—the designation the district has today.

  • Added a part of Golden Valley.
J. Bergman December 18, 2012 at 07:51 PM
The Hopkins school board members will have some answering to do if they vote against the request (and in favor of continuing to collect $500,000 per year from Parkwood Knolls residents for the education of only 9 Parkwood Knolls children). I believe the Hopkins school board members should let go of their "hostage neighborhood", and move on in a positive direction.
J. Bergman December 18, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Reviewing the timeline, along with an historical aerial map, shows that the Parkwood Knolls area was only farm fields and a couple houses at the time it was added to the Hopkins school district. According to previous Patch articles, there are now around 400 families in this area. Since most people will look at the timeline, but not an historical, aerial map, they will be deceived into thinking that, at one time, residents of the area in question CHOSE to join the Hopkins school district through a democratic process. Perhaps the purpose of the timeline is just that (an effort on the part of the Hopkins school board to deceive rather than clarify).
James Warden (Editor) December 18, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Or it may show — as one of the Unite Edina leaders pointed out at the CFAC meeting — that Hopkins has already seen its share of boundary changes. The relevance of those changes depends on one's interpretation.
J. Bergman December 18, 2012 at 08:38 PM
All the actions mentioned in the timeline increased the size of the district (or in one case, left it the same). Yet the district size has never decreased. It seems that, if neighborhoods can be added to the district, there should also be some way for them to be subtracted. There is a precedence for boundary changes, but unfortunately Hopkins has never seen "its share" of any reductions. (In fact, it has never allowed a reduction.)
J. Bergman December 18, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Earlier, I pointed-out that the Time-line is deceptive. It deceives people into thinking that, in the past, residents of Parkwood Knolls, chose to be part of the Hopkins school district, as part of a democratic process. It appears that "The Patch" was also deceived into believing this. The article quotes anonymous Hopkins "district administrators" as essentially saying this. After I pointed-out that the time-line is deceptive, "The Patch" submitted a comment stating that perhaps the real point of the time-line had been to show that Hopkins had already experienced "its share" of boundary changes. This seems to be "Monday-morning quarterbacking" at its best. (Besides, saying that Hopkins has already experienced "its share" of changes makes it sound like Hopkins merely tolerated these changes, when really it proposed, encouraged and voted for these size increases.) It's hard to believe that one has been deceived. Yet, even reporters for the "New York Times" are sometimes deceived, as they have acknowledged whenever this occurs. I only hope that reporters at "The Patch" will realize that the Hopkins school board has deceived them multiple times, and they tend to take the bait "hook, line and sinker."
James Warden (Editor) December 19, 2012 at 04:17 AM
You misunderstand me. I wasn't saying that's why the school district had included the timeline. I was merely pointing out a way that a Unite Edina supporter interpreted the same information at an earlier meeting. I thought it added an interesting take on the information under discussion. And if you think there's something I left out — or haven't covered or want to elaborate on — I invite you to share your thoughts on a Patch blog. This is a community site, after all. I love to have a variety of voices discussing the issues important to the community. Residents like you can provide way more information and opinions than any single journalist could hope to do. If you — or anyone else, on either side of the issue — is interested, just go here: http://hopkins.patch.com/blog/apply Like I said, I love hearing whatever residents have to say. Patch's whole goal is to foster dialog and community engagement.
David Abrams December 19, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Hey- we have open enrollment. Folks can send their kids to whatever school they want and the bring their state aid dollars with them. Edina wants more tax dollars for their schools and it is a zero sum game. Hopkins offers excellent education in a school district with a cosmopolitan mix of race, color, and economic diversity. Edina offers excellent education in a school district that is largely white and wealthy. Folks can choose what they want for their kids already. Annexation from one district to the other doesn't do anything but shift a very limited resource from one district to another. No net gain for the state or the community at large. From an historical perspective, maybe Edina didn't much care about Parkwood Knolls when the decision was made back in the day - not much tax revenue from a farm.
Sheri December 19, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I would like to point out that many of the areas that ended up in the Hopkins School District were also farms. If all of those areas used your argument to allow them to disconnect, the District would be hugely different. The Hopkins School District is an amazing set of schools at all levels and I feel blessed that my children have an opportunity to not only come out highly educated but have also had many opportunities to witness how our Global Society is. There is great value in being in a learning environment of cultural and socioeconomic diversity. Ultimately, your child's education comes down to what you are also willing to put into it as a parent. The beauty of Open Enrollment allows you to send your child somewhere else if you do not agree with the system. I am hopeful that the district will make the right decision and NOT allow this annexation.
James Warden (Editor) December 19, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Y'all may be interested in this story just published: http://hopkins.patch.com/articles/what-role-does-wealth-play-in-edina-request-to-leave-hopkins-schools Take a look at the demographics and share your thoughts: Are they even relevant to the discussion?
Betty Johnson December 19, 2012 at 04:58 PM
And there's a reason the school district boundaries are so jagged. The Common or Independent Districts were formed by combining adjacent areas served by one-room schools. Residents on the edges of a new district could choose if they wanted to join it or not. They lived on properties of varying sizes, ranging from farms over 100 acres to five or ten acre homesteads. Even if they were all rectangular-shaped, putting them together often resulted in an irregular-shaped school district. Betty J
F. Anderson December 19, 2012 at 06:28 PM
As a resident of Minnetonka who resides in the Hopkins school district, I am surprised at Edina's latest argument over how special they are. Maybe all of us in Minnetonka should get together and use Edina's argument, that we should have the right for our children to attend schools in the city in which they live? If fact, maybe every city should say the same thing? Let's call it what it is, and what they just won't say....Edina thinks that Hopkins schools aren't up to the standards of the people living there, although they are fine for everyone else beneath them, so they want out so they can all be part of their own little exclusive club.
David F December 20, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Interesting name calling and community bashing. I have lived in 2 school districts in the Twin Cities and both times where I lived was based on the district and elementary school that my children would attend. It sometimes gets lost in this discussion but some Edina schools are full and are not eligible for open enrollment. Edina is actually seeing an influx of new children due to the mass house tear downs going on in Edina, 100 this year.


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