Education

Finally, in Maize – a school district boundary map

Following a board vote on a policy, Superintendent Chad Higgins plans to present a proposed map that shows which portions of the district would be assigned to Maize Middle School and Maize High and which portions to Maize South Middle School and Maize South High.
Following a board vote on a policy, Superintendent Chad Higgins plans to present a proposed map that shows which portions of the district would be assigned to Maize Middle School and Maize High and which portions to Maize South Middle School and Maize South High. File photo

For several years now, Maize school district residents have debated their system for assigning students to middle and high schools.

On Monday they finally will see lines on a map – a detailed proposal for the district’s first attendance boundaries.

“The relief for me is nothing compared to what it will be for most of our district,” said Maize superintendent Chad Higgins.

“I just think it’s been a gorilla on the back. It’s been a cloud,” he said. “It won’t be all sunshine and rosebuds for the next year and a half, but I think they’ll believe the end is in sight for kind of a challenging period.”

Maize school board members will hold a special meeting Monday during which they are expected to vote on a new placement system that includes the concept of geographical boundary lines but not the lines themselves.

Following that vote, Higgins plans to present a proposed map that shows which portions of the district would be assigned to Maize Middle School and Maize High and which portions to Maize South Middle School and Maize South High.

“There are dozens of rumors out there and even maps floating around. None of those are true,” Higgins said this week. “We feel like we have one we’re ready to propose, but we’re going to finalize all the data that goes along with it so we’re sure this is the best one.”

Meanwhile, officials continue to gather feedback on the district’s transition to attendance boundaries, including how long the current preference system should continue.

Board members informally agreed to discuss and approve a placement policy before delving into the details of boundary lines, Higgins said.

“When people see the boundary map, regardless of which side they fall on, in some cases it’s not going to be the side they want to be on,” he said.

“We’re fearful that opposition to the map will translate to opposition to the policy, when almost 100 percent of the feedback we’ve received is supportive of a boundary policy.”

Under the current proposal, Maize would continue its practice of assigning elementary students to schools based on enrollment, class size, sibling legacy and other factors. Elementary schools would not be tied to particular middle or high schools.

This year’s fifth-graders would attend boundary-assigned schools next year. Middle and high school students would return to their current schools until they advance to high school or graduate. Secondary students new to the district would attend boundary-assigned schools.

And all students attending middle school this school year would be allowed to request a high school during their eighth-grade year.

Board members will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday to hear community feedback about the policy and again at 7 p.m. Monday to potentially vote on the policy and see the recommended boundary map. Both meetings are open to the public and will take place at the Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy in Maize.

Higgins said some families have expressed concerns that children in elementary school won’t be allowed to attend the same middle and high schools as their older siblings if they live in a different boundary area.

“Whether you’re a Maverick or an Eagle, there’s a pride issue, and they have their own peer groups and comfort level with those (school) staffs,” Higgins said.

“It’s OK to think that. It’s just that I have to make this work, numbers-wise,” he said. “We would love every kid, every family, to be able to go to the school they want. But whether it’s manageable or not is a whole other story.”

The district also has scheduled two community meetings during which parents and others can ask questions and share feedback about the proposed boundary map. Those meetings will be 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Maize South High School, 3701 N. Tyler Road, and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at Maize High School, 11600 W. 45th St. North.

Video courtesy of Hutton Construction and Maize South High School student Dominick Decker/Apollo Sky Films.

Suzanne Perez Tobias: 316-268-6567, @suzannetobias

Meeting times, places

Special school board meetings

▪ 7 p.m. Thursday, Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy in Maize

▪ 7 p.m. Monday, Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy in Maize

Community meetings

▪ 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1, Maize South High School, 3701 N. Tyler Road

▪ 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2, Maize High School, 11600 W. 45th St. North

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