You can bet that administrators for the Shawnee Mission School District and the cities of Westwood, Westwood Hills and Mission Woods are spending plenty of time thinking about what Google Fiber means for the future of beloved Westwood View.
The neighborhood elementary school, which has one of the smallest enrollments in the entire district — and also produces some of the best outcomes in the state — was targeted for closure in a recent district strategic planning committee report.
But the news last week that Google will be opening up its ultra highspeed internet and television service in the immediate vicinity of Westwood View means that, for a time, at least, Shawnee Mission would be the only district in Johnson County with a school eligible to experience Fiber’s great technological leap forward.
The specifics have always been a bit fuzzy, but in the lead up to the launch of the service, Google touted Fiber’s benefits in the educational and medical environments. If Shawnee Mission wants to create a showpiece technology program, Westwood View would appear to present a unique opportunity.
But in the current environment, what might seem like a no-brainer could become a major battle. The question is whether the intense budget pressure put on the district by the state school funding formula becomes so great that the school board feels it has to shutter Westwood View — even as the school sits poised to take advantage of an opportunity every other school in the state would kill for.