Archive for Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Shawnee Mission releases revised boundary change proposal for area elementary schools

School board to vote on changes at special meeting Thursday

May 31, 2017

After significant revisions were made to the proposal last week, the Shawnee Mission School Board will vote on a number of boundary changes during a special meeting on Thursday afternoon.

If passed by the school board this week, the revised changes will affect several Shawnee area elementary schools starting the fall of 2018.

The district released its amended boundary changes, called “Plan B,” on Friday afternoon. The original version, now called “Plan A,” was released in March.

The changes are being proposed to address overcrowding at some schools, while using other school facilities that are under capacity.

They also address new construction of homes and apartments that will increase the student population. It will also address the construction of a new school.

Plan B amends boundary changes to four schools and eliminates any boundary change from Shawanoe Elementary altogether.

Several of the changes reflect the concerns of school board member Patty Mach, who stated at the May 22 meeting that she felt the initial boundary changes were unnecessarily complicated and that they could negatively impact Shawanoe Elementary.

She had pointed out that the “sweet spot” for grade schools is somewhere around 450 to 550; Shawanoe is already at the 500 mark.

She also mentioned that Shawanoe is currently at 76 percent free and reduced lunch.

The initial plan had called for Shawanoe students living west of Quivira to move to Mill Creek Elementary.

Currently, there are 74 students living in this section.

It also called for Rising Star Elementary students living in The Meadows Apartments from 76th Street to 77th Street, between Quivira and Monrovia, to move to Shawanoe.

Currently, there are approximately 85 students living in this section.

“If this change is made, it will take away the vast majority of single family homes in that area, so I’d like to look at some alternatives for that,” Mach told the council on May 22, in regards to Plan A. “This change would also increase the free and reduced lunch by five percent.”

She also emphasized that if boundary changes weren’t made at Shawanoe, that would help balance out other nearby elementary school population numbers as a result.

“We want to make the right decision,” she said.

Shawanoe was also a topic of concern among many parents, stated Assistant Superintendent Michelle Hubbard at the May 22 meeting.

At the recent public forums about the boundary changes, parents brought up concerns about the school’s demographics and its academic performance.

“So we are proposing a plan to provide some additional support in Shawanoe, (such as) an ELL primary teacher, an ELL intermediate teacher, and an administrative intern that would help support instruction,” Hubbard told the school board. “We’re also looking at other high population buildings to do the same thing. As you all know we’re waiting on the formula to see what happens with school funding, but we are working on a plan to help support those buildings that do have higher academic needs than others do in the district.”

Public input at both forums about the changes held this spring was both positive and negative.

Other specific concerns brought up by parents included the crossing of major highways, a lack of sidewalks and the overall proximity of schools.

“As with any boundary change, we absolutely made several people happy,” Hubbard said. “Postponing this decision will make several people unhappy. So, toss the coin.

“There’s always going to be happy people and there’s always going to be people not happy by a boundary change. It’s very emotional. They’re tough for families. So, it’s difficult.

“Even for families who want to move, it’s still very emotional.”

The special meeting for the school board vote on the boundary changes will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Center for Academic Achievement, 8200 W. 71st St.

Public comment will not be allowed.

Anyone with questions or comments about either Plan A or Plan B, is welcome to e-mail smsdboundaries@smsd.org.

HOW ‘PLAN B’ WILL AFFECT SHAWNEE AREA SCHOOLS:

Christa McAuliffe

Rising Star students living south of 79th Street to 87th Street and west of Randall/Hallet will move to Christa McAuliffe.

Students living east of Lackman in the Wedgewood subdivision will move to Mill Creek.

Christa McAuliffe will be in the SM West feederpattern.

School numbers would go from 394 to 468.

Mill Creek

Rhein Benninghoven students living from Midland Drive to Richards, south of 71st Street and students living from Lackman to Midland Drive, south of Autumn Park will move to Mill Creek.

Currently, there are approximately 127 students living in this section.

School numbers would go from 374 to 514

Rhein Benninghoven

Rhein Benninghoven students living from Midland Drive to Richards, south of 71st Street and students living from Lackman to Midland Drive, south of Autumn Park will move to Mill Creek.

Currently, there are approximately 127 students living in this section.

School numbers would go from 567 to 441.

Broken Arrow

Broken Arrow students living in Red Oak Hills will move to Lenexa Hills.

Currently, there are approximately 21 students living in this section.

This area will remain in the SM Northwest area feeder pattern for middle and high school; however, students may choose to attend the SM West feeder.

School numbers would go from 439 to 417.

To learn more about Plan B, or to view the original boundary changes, Plan A, please visit smsd.org.

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