Cuts in state education funding will force the Maize school district to open the 2011-12 school year with four grade schools instead of the five that were originally planned.
Budget concerns are blamed for a delay in the remodeling of Vermillion Primary School, and that has sent ripples throughout the district.
Plans to reconfigure the structure of the district's grade schools have been put on hold. Also delayed is the establishment of a feeder system that was supposed to start funneling elementary students through middle and high school beginning next year.
District spokeswoman Karen McDermott said the Maize school board approved the delay this month so it can hold on to $3 million in capital outlay funds that were supposed to be used to finish work on Vermillion.
Projects that are already under way at Vermillion, such as the construction of a tornado shelter, are being completed.
The plans were outlined in a newsletter sent to Maize parents last week.
McDermott said the Maize school district this year is receiving $4,012 per student in basic state aid — $421 less than that it received last year. In a district of 6,500 students, that comes to a loss of more than $2.7 million.
"And we're seeing more cuts, probably, on the horizon," McDermott said.
The renovation of Vermillion was to be the last piece of a district overhaul that was made possible when Maize voters approved a $59 million bond issue in 2007. The money was used to convert a middle school into a new high school and pay for new elementary and middle schools.
Part of the district's master plan calls for remodeling Vermillion Primary School, which has been used exclusively for pre-school, kindergarten and first-grade students. Two of the district's elementary schools serve grades 2 through 5.
When work on Vermillion is complete, the district plans to operate K-through-5 classrooms in all five grade schools.
Plans had called for the switch to occur at the start of the 2010-11 school year. McDermott said it was not clear now when that switch will occur.
Once the grade schools are converted, she said, the district plans to adopt a feeder system that will determine which students attend which schools.
Under that system, Vermillion Primary, Maize Elementary and Pray-Woodman Elementary students will attend Maize Middle School and Maize High School.
Maize Central and Maize South Elementary students will attend Maize South Middle and Maize South High School.