Maize parents granted preferred school assignments after appeals

02/15/2013 8:40 AM

08/06/2014 12:16 PM

A group of Maize parents who protested their children’s assignments to middle and high schools for next year learned Thursday that their appeals were granted.

“We all got our letters yesterday, and everyone got in” to their preferred schools, Amy Allen said Friday. “We’re all pretty excited and happy that the board listened to us.”

Allen, whose son is an eighth-grader at Maize South Middle School and wants to attend Maize South High, got a letter earlier this month saying he had been assigned to Maize High. She and about two dozen other families appealed their school assignments and organized a group to protest the district’s process.

Earlier this week, 26 families met individually with board members to appeal their children’s school assignments – 15 to high school and 11 to middle school.

Parents received letters Thursday saying their appeals were granted, Allen said.

On Monday, the Maize school board voted to form a task force to explore the district’s placement process.

Unlike most 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 a preference card indicating which middle or high school they would like their child to attend.

District officials have said they used the same process this year as they have since they opened Maize South High four years ago – asking families to indicate their preferred school but not guaranteeing placement.

The task force, which will be formed in coming weeks, “will look at everything from how we’re doing things now to ‘Is it time to draw boundaries?’ ” said Karen McDermott, spokeswoman for the Maize district.

“We hope to have that up and running within the next month.”

Allen and other parents who protested their school assignments say they hope to participate in discussions about the process.

Some told board members Monday that the district should do away with the current system and set attendance boundaries.

“We’ve told them we’re all willing to be on the committee to work out the problem for next year,” Allen said. “Because if something doesn’t change, it’s only going to get uglier.”

According to unofficial estimates, she said, as many as 100 Maize South seventh-graders who hope to attend Maize South High in 2014 might be assigned to Maize High instead.

“We want to work this out for the future.”

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