Park Hill redistricting effort continues

With construction of a new elementary and middle school currently under way, the Park Hill School District is working on a redistricting plan to realign all district boundaries.

 Dr. Paul Kelly

Dr. Paul Kelly

The redistricting committee met Wednesday, Oct. 10, with assistant superintendent Dr. Paul Kelly reviewing maps drawn up by committee members. These maps were scored based on criteria approved by the board of education earlier this year. Based on information from the Platte County Assessor’s Office and feedback from a web portal, the committee will work on updated draft maps for additional review.

The committee will meet twice more this month at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22 and 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, both at the Plaza Middle School media center. The meetings are open to the public.

The final committee recommendation is expected to be sent to the board late this year, but after feedback from committee members additional meeting dates may be set. The board of education plans to vote on new boundaries before winter break.

The board itself met Thursday, Oct. 11. Kelly updated the board on the 2018-2019 enrollment numbers. Park Hill has 11,617 students, a 1.4-percent increase from last school year. Enrollment in the district has increased for 35 consecutive years.

The district is working to phase out its sixth grade center at Plaza, making all four middle schools — including the new Walden school now under construction — teach sixth through eighth grades starting in 2019.

Dr. Jaime Dial, director of secondary education, gave the board a report on the transition. Dial spoke about extracurricular options, including sports and activities planned for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. The extracurricular activities subcommittee is one of five teams working on the transition.

Initial program offerings include cross country, volleyball, basketball, track, drama club, student council, yearbook, broadcasting and more. Starting in 2020, the district plans to offer eighth grade football. Each school will have an art club, pep club, honor choir and National Junior Honor Society chapter.

Permit application delayed

At a meeting of the Kansas City Plan Commission Tuesday, Oct. 16, the commission continued a request from the school district for a special use permit to build school buildings on 93 acres at Northwest 68th Street and Waukomis Drive.

Representatives from the Last KC Forest preservation group attended the meeting to state their concerns. Plan Commission members agreed the subject needed more investigation.