Shawnee Mission loses 20 percent of students to private schools or home school, report says

Class sizes at Briarwood Elementary have raised concerns with parents.
Class sizes at Briarwood Elementary have concerned parents and it is flagged in the demographic report as an overcrowded school.

A demographic study of the Shawnee Mission School District released last week reveals that one in five school-age children who live in the district are either in private schools or home schooled. That would mean 6,840 students living in the district do not attend public school (p. 163).

Besides the analysis of current enrollment, the study also projects future growth in the district and sets out several scenarios for closing schools, which would in turn shift attendance boundaries. However, Superintendent Jim Hinson said closing schools is not being planned.  The full report is available here. A few highlights from the document:

  • Indian Hills and Hocker Grove would be among six schools nearing capacity in 2018 if the high-end projections for enrollment come true. (p. 12)
  • Prairie has the lowest elementary free and reduced lunch enrollment of 7.5 percent, which ranges to 85.6 percent at Comanche. Indian Hills has 13.8 percent to Hocker Grove’s 54.6 percent; 10.7 percent at SM East and 45.7 percent at SM North. (p. 150) The district overall percentage is 37.9
  • 91.1 percent of students live in single-family housing. Only 2.7 percent live in houses built since 2001.
  • Briarwood Elementary is one of three schools now flagged as over capacity (p. 10)
  • The school district has excess capacity even after school closings a few years ago (p. 11) (the district has commented that space required for special programs are not included in the calculations)
  • None of the high schools is expected to be overcrowded in coming years (p. 15). One realignment scenario includes closing SM South
  • Santa Fe Trail is the least utilized building according to a matrix of several factors on building use (p. 18)
  • School closing scenario 1 (p. 20) anticipates merging Westwood View into Highlands and East Antioch into Santa Fe Trail
  • Scenario 2 closes Santa Fe Trail and Tomahawk, sending students to Highlands, Corinth and Briarwood (p. 28)
  • Scenario 3 also calls for Santa Fe Trail and Tomahawk to close (p. 44)
  • Scenario 4 closes SM South and shifts Highlands, Westwood View and Prairie into the SM North feeder area (p. 57)
  • Census data show support for stable or growing enrollments going forward (p. 76)
  • Shawnee Mission has the same percentage of kindergarten enrollment as Olathe, but is growing much slower (p. 154)