That provocative scenario put forth in the Shawnee Mission School District’s recent demographic study that would move Westwood View, Highlands and and Prairie Elementaries into the SM North feeder area? It’s not going to happen.
Jim Hinson comments on demographer’s report
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That’s according to Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson, who fielded questions from the Prairie Village City Council during an informal presentation Monday. Several council members pressed Hinson for information on “Scenario 4” which proposes shifting large portions of northeast Johnson County from the SM East feeder area to SM North.
“To see half of Prairie Village shift from Shawnee Mission East to Shawnee Mission North would have a huge impact on this area — it would really change the dynamics of the city,” said Councilor Ted Odell. “I’d like to know how we as a city can be involved in this process.”
“I want to make clear that we don’t anticipate shifting high school attendance boundaries,” Hinson told Odell. “We might have to make some tweaks at the elementary level, but we don’t think we’ll have to make changes at the high school or even middle school level.”
Councilor Ashley Weaver asked Hinson about the Scenario 4 recommendation as well.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people who think that would really devastate the area,” she said. “I hope that’s really not going to happen.”
“That’s really not going to happen,” Hinson said.
Hinson categorized the report as one tool among many that the district will use as it determines how to align its facilities with the demand for classroom space in the coming years. He said the demographers didn’t have information about how much space in each school was allocated to special programs. They also weren’t taking into account Gov. Sam Brownback’s push to for all-day kindergarten, which would require the use of more classroom space at elementary schools.
“These are just the demographer’s ideas — it’s someone who doesn’t live here, and who isn’t part of our district,” he said.
Hinson emphasized time and again in his remarks that the scenarios outlined in the report – many of which involved school closings or significant shifts of high school feeder patterns — would not come to fruition.
“We will not as a result of this report close any schools in the Shawnee Mission School District,” he said. “But we are working on consolidating administrative operations.”