Shawnee Mission board approves boundary changes for schools east of I-35, tables changes for 8 schools on the west

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The Shawnee Mission School Board on Monday approved boundary changes that will go into effect for the 2018-2019 school year for East Antioch Elementary and Overland Park Elementary, but postponed a vote on more substantive boundary shifts for eight elementary schools west of I-35 until it could get more information on their expected impact.

The changes to the two schools east of I-35 will move the portion of the East Antioch feeder pattern that is south of 75th Street into the Overland Park feeder pattern, shifting around 40 students into a building that has more capacity. District projections suggest that Overland Park’s student population will grow from 369 to 408 with the change. East Antioch, which has less space, will drop from 380 to 341.

Superintendent Jim Hinson, who was back Monday after having missed the two board meetings that followed the announcement of his retirement, had recommended the board approving changes that would affect eight west-of-I-35 schools — Broken Arrow, Christa McAuliffe, Lenexa Hills, Mill Creek, Rhein Benninghoven, Rising Star, Shawanoe and Sunflower — on Monday as well. But Shawnee Mission Northwest area representative Patty Mach raised a series of questions about how the proposed changes would affect the demographics and student counts at each of the schools.

In particular, she said she was concerned that plans to shift the part of the current Shawanoe feeder pattern that is west of Quivira to Mill Creek would eliminate essentially the only section of single family homes from the feeder pattern and replace it with a portion of the Rising Star boundary area that contains an apartment complex with around 85 current students. That change would increase the number of students in free and reduced lunch programs at Shawanoe from 76 percent currently up to 81 percent.

“I have not heard from anyone in the current feeder pattern for Showanoe that wants a change,” Mach said. “If this change is made, it will take away the vast majority of single family homes in that area…As a what if, I don’t think Shawanoe needs to change.”

Mach suggested a number of potential tweaks to the administration’s proposed changes for the schools west of I-35 that would maintain balance in enrollment while avoiding issues she believed would be problematic. Ultimately, the board directed district staff to compile more information about potential tweaks to the reconfigurations and ready them for presentation at meeting sometime next month.

Michelle Hubbard, the assistant superintendent who presented the boundary change plans to the board, stressed that the sooner the board finalized the changes and could communicate them to parents, the better.

The board agreed that it might hold a special meeting in early-to-mid in June to consider the new data staff is compiling, and could act on boundary changes at the special meeting or at its regularly scheduled meeting June 26.

A map showing the boundary change that will affect East Antioch and Overland Park Elementaries. The portion of East Antioch's current feeder pattern south of 75th Street will be moved to Overland Park's feeder pattern for the 2018-19 school year.
A map showing the boundary change that will affect East Antioch and Overland Park Elementaries. The portion of East Antioch’s current feeder pattern south of 75th Street will be moved to Overland Park’s feeder pattern for the 2018-19 school year.
Patty Mach asked the board to consider a number of tweaks to the proposed boundary changes for eight elementary schools west of I-35.
Patty Mach asked the board to consider a number of tweaks to the proposed boundary changes for eight elementary schools west of I-35.