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Maize school board to discuss student placement, facility needs

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, April 27, 2014, at 2:02 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at 12:03 a.m.

Maize school board members, still grappling with whether or how to change the way the district assigns students to schools, will discuss the issue again at their meeting Monday.

Board members heard from architects earlier this month about options for reconfiguring some schools to use space more efficiently. An advisory committee also has been exploring a possible bond issue for Maize – the first in seven years – to pay for a new middle school, athletic upgrades, aquatic center and other improvements.

At the board’s last meeting, Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey, the district’s architects, presented options related to facility needs. Among them:

• Building a new middle school, which would cost between $26 million and $32 million, depending on capacity.

• Building a new early childhood center, estimated at $6.3 million, or renovating spaces at Maize Middle, Maize South Middle or Maize South Elementary to house the early childhood program, which would cost between $2.14 million and $4.2 million.

• Building two Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved storm shelters at Maize High. The shelters could be new athletic space, classrooms, a career and technical education center, a lobby/hospitality room, or some combination.

• Expanding and upgrading space for career and technical education programs. Options include a new building, estimated at $8.5 million; expanding and renovating Maize High, $7.5 million; and renovating Maize Middle, $4.4 million.

• Expanding Maize South High to include an athletics lobby, larger cafeteria, fine arts space and other areas to increase the school’s capacity to 1,200. Those projects total about $5 million.

The school board will have its annual joint meeting with the city of Maize at 6 p.m. Monday at the Educational Support Center, 905 W. Central in Maize. Following that, at 7 p.m., board members will meet in a separate public meeting to discuss student placement and facilities.

The board is considering several options for student placement, including drawing attendance boundaries, establishing feeder patterns or keeping the district’s current preference-card system.

Unlike most school districts, Maize has no geographical attendance boundaries that determine where a child goes to school. Instead, families with students in fifth and eighth grades submit preference cards indicating which middle or high school they would like their children to attend.

Last year, the placement system drew protests from some parents who initially weren’t given their first preference.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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