Prairie Village parents raising concerns about prospect of changing Briarwood attendance boundaries

Briarwood Elementary is one of three district schools struggling with overcrowding, according to a recent demographer's report.
Briarwood Elementary is one of three district schools struggling with overcrowding, according to a recent demographer’s report.

A group of Prairie Village residents are organizing in hopes of convincing the Shawnee Mission School Board not to alter the Briarwood Elementary school boundaries in a way that would shift Prairie Ridge residents to another school.

Briarwood parent Emily Phillips is among the parents contacting local elected officials — from school board members to city councilors to state legislators — ahead of Monday’s board of education meeting, which the parents plan to attend to voice their opinions.

District officials met with school parents April 22 to discuss options for addressing overcrowding at the school, where second and third grade classrooms have as many as 27 and 28 full-time students. Additionally, English Language Learner students are in those classes part of the school day, pushing the total number of students in the classroom to above 30 at times.

Briarwood was one of three Shawnee Mission school identified as overcrowded in a recent demographer’s report. But dealing with the overcrowding situation is unlikely to have a widely popular solution, as many of the area parents note that they moved to the area specifically for the school.

A note from Phillips to superintendent Jim Hinson expresses concerns that the district is considering shifting the area between 75th and 79th Streets, from Delmar to Nall Avenue from the Briarwood attendance area to the Tomahawk Elementary attendance area.

“I grew up in Prairie Village and attended Briarwood 1985-1991, Mission Valley 1991-1993, Shawnee Mission East 1993-1997,” Phillips wrote. “My family moved back to this area from San Diego and Chicago and purchased our home (on the same block that my mother grew up on) for the specific reason to provide our children with an excellent education at Briarwood. My family’s ties to this area and community date back to the 1950’s. We know a lot of other families in our (75th-79th Street) neighborhood who contribute so much to our school. I feel strongly that there is a better option/area of folks who may not feel as uprooted as we would, if transferred to Tomahawk. Please take these thoughts into consideration prior to making your decision.”