Boundary changes are coming to the Blue Valley School District.
The school board on Monday received the proposed new physical boundaries for the area and a timeline recommendation for gradually implementing the changes over a period of three school years, beginning in 2016-17.
The new boundaries will accommodate the growing district’s opening of its 23rd elementary school, which is under construction near the intersection of 179th and Grant streets. The new school, referred to by the district as “Elementary 23,” is expected to be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2017. In addition, the adjusted boundaries will provide relief to Aubry Bend Middle School, the fastest-growing elementary school in the district, and increase the use of Blue Valley Middle School.
“We all know that establishing boundaries in a growing district is certainly an important aspect of our work to provide the equity for learning environments across the district,” said Todd White, assistant superintendent of administrative services. “The committee took great care in reviewing the student data as well as taking a look at several different options. We had six scenarios that we looked at for the preliminary boundaries of Elementary 23 and three options for addressing the middle school growth.”
Under the suggested plan, elementary students living west of U.S. 69 between 167th Street and 215th Street would attend Elementary 23. The Bluestem neighborhood would be assigned to Morse Elementary while the Willows would be reassigned from Timber Creek Elementary to Liberty View Elementary. Board policy will require all students residing in the boundary of a new school to attend the new school for the first semester.
The recommended adjustment for the middle school boundaries would address overcrowding in Aubry Bend Middle School, which has 762 students enrolled currently and is expected to exceed its capacity of 810 students next school year. Students currently in the Aubry Bend Middle School area who live east of U.S. 69 would got to Blue Valley Middle School and then continue to Blue Valley High. Students currently in the Aubry Bend Middle School area who live west of U.S. 69 would remain there and continue to Blue Valley Southwest.
These changes are projected to increase enrollment at Blue Valley Middle School, where current enrollment is well under at 541 students out of a possible capacity of 720.
“I think the hardest thing for us to get across right now is that this decision is not complete, school board member Pam Robinson said. “This is the first step of a decision and then the rest of it will come in January where we have to decide which grade levels are moving at what time, whether or not to allow kids to go back to the building that they came from. Those are the decisions are community became emotional about.”
Led by White, the Facility Planning Committee met five times beginning in October and concluded with the committee’s recommendation to the board. Public feedback on the changes was gathered in a series of four open houses held in early December. More than 180 people attended the open houses where they could view the work of the committee, ask questions and provide comments.
“The committee listening to its pubic was integral for us,” Dr. White said.
The committee also relied on criteria adopted by the district in 1985 and revised most recently in 2003 as the guidelines for the boundary redistricting. Criteria included such considerations as projected enrollment, maximizing fiscal resources, feeder systems that allow students to advance as one group to the next higher education level, and leaving neighborhoods intact within attendance areas.
Blue Valley is a large district with 3,200 employees and a total expenditure budget of $313 million. The district saw its student enrollment increase this fall to 22,023.
For more information and maps detailing the proposed boundaries, visit the district’s website at district.bluevalleyk12.org. Work on the proposed changes is expected to move forward at the next school board meeting Jan. 11.