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January 17, 2012

Wichita schools to have boundary meeting tonight and Thursday

Wichita school officials will hold two more public meetings, tonight and Thursday, to gather ideas and feedback on a preliminary plan to alter school attendance boundaries.

Wichita school officials will hold two more public meetings, tonight and Thursday, to gather ideas and feedback on a preliminary plan to alter school attendance boundaries.

The meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. Free child care will be provided. Here are the days and locations:

•  Today at North High School, 1437 Rochester
•  Thursday at Curtis Middle School, 1031 S. Edgemoor

Officials with RSP & Associates, a consulting firm hired by the district, will attend the forums, as will members of a district advisory group that has been helping to develop a new boundaries plan.

A tentative proposal would close four elementary schools — Bryant, Emerson, Lincoln and Mueller — as a cost-cutting measure.

The plan calls for two K-8 schools under construction — one in the northeast and one in the southeast quadrant — to open as elementaries instead. Mueller’s aerospace and engineering magnet program would move to a new school being built near 53rd Street North and Woodlawn.

The tentative proposal would move the Northeast Magnet High School program to a new school being built in Bel Aire. Superintendent John Allison said opening the new high school as a magnet instead of a comprehensive high school would save $10 million to $12 million a year in operating costs.

The boundary plan also would shift the lines that determine which schools students attend. Some addresses currently assigned to North High would move to West, an area currently assigned to East High would move to South, and areas of the Heights High district would move to North and Southeast.

The district advisory group is scheduled to meet again Jan. 26 to consider public feedback and recommend changes to the plan. Allison hopes to present a final recommendation to the school board in February, and new boundaries would go into effect this fall.

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