SMSD lays out timeline and ‘guiding principles’ for Briarwood boundary change

Briarwood Elementary

The boundary change discussion is being driven primarily by the fact that Briarwood Elementary, above, has been over capacity for years. File photo.

Shawnee Mission officials have laid out plans for how the district is going to undertake a boundary change between Briarwood and Tomahawk elementary schools.

The idea is to offset Briarwood’s long-standing capacity issues with the new Tomahawk building, which is planned to open in August 2025.

A yet-to-be-formed boundary work group will follow a timeline and adhere to specific goals that will lead to a final recommendation for the board of education.

Who can participate: A boundary work group will be charged with overseeing the process and making final recommendations on boundary changes to the district.

The group is set to include a number of district-level administrators, as well as the principals of Briarwood, Tomahawk and Indian Hills Middle School (which both elementary schools feed into).

It will also include — from each school — two teachers, one classified staff member, three parents and each school’s respective parent teacher association president.

Building staff will be appointed to the group, and a Google form will be sent to family and community members to sign-up.

Of those who sign up, Superintendent Michelle Hubbard and each school’s respective principal will each appoint one parent per school. A fourth and final parent will be chosen in a lottery from the pool of interested individuals who sign up to be part of the process.

The form will be released to the public on May 2 and will close at 5 p.m. on May 9.

‘Guiding principles:’ The district outlined four guiding principles for the committee to adhere to, including fiscal responsibility and enrollment balance that includes “exposure to diverse cultures,” according to board documents.

Aside from consideration of all students’ academic and other needs, the committee will focus on long term solutions “to minimize the number of changes a student/family will experience,” according to board documents.

The timeline: Here’s a breakdown of the boundary change timeline, as outlined in board documents.

  • The committee, once members are finalized, will meet for the first time on Sept. 1 and discuss an enrollment analysis and present boundary change concepts. Superintendent Michelle Hubbard said these initial meetings will not be open to the public so as to allow the group a chance to work through the difficult topic first.
  • Two weeks later on Sept. 15, the committee will meet again to discuss and “refine concepts.”
  • The board of education will hear an update at its Sept. 26 meeting, complete with draft recommendations from the committee.
  • Oct. 6 marks the first chance for public input, at which point some opportunity for patron feedback will be made available.
  • Following the public input opportunity, the committee will meet on Oct. 27 to refine the boundary change concepts with public input top of mind.
  • Another chance for public input will take place on Nov. 3.
  • On Nov. 14, district administration will present the final boundary change recommendation to the board of education for consideration.
  • A month later, the design of the new Tomahawk building will begin. In January 2023, the Tomahawk design committee work will begin.
  • On March 1, a transfer window opens. Briarwood students may request an early transfer to Tomahawk — which will be housed in Indian Creek during the rebuild — as long as space is available.
  • In December 2023, current Tomahawk students will move to Indian Creek. By January 2024, the Tomahawk groundbreaking

Key quote: “Boundary changes are very difficult and create a lot of stress for communities,” Hubbard said. “None of them are ever easy. We’re going to try to make this as seamless as possible.”