Maize school board considers new facilities, student placement

MAIZE, Kansas – The Maize school district board considered proposals for new facilities Monday night, and also tackled the student placement issue that will determine which schools students would attend.

The proposed new facilities would cost almost $85 million total, which would be funded through a voter-approved property tax increase.

The largest expense recommended by a committee of parents, educators and district staff would be $32 million to build a third middle school in the district. Early discussion among board members suggested that if that option is pursued, one of the current middle schools would be re-configured for other purposes.

Other proposals include $10.7 million to upgrade current athletic facilities and almost $10 million to build a new aquatics center. That center is long overdue, according to Marc Haught, the district’s athletic director.

The committee also proposed a new Early Childhood center. a career and professional center for some of the district’s vocational education programs, and a new transportation facility for the district’s buses and vehicles.

After the almost two-hour presentation, the board discussed the multiple options presented earlier this month on how the district places its students.

As it stands now, the district randomly assigns students to elementary schools, but it allows parents a say where they prefer their kids go to middle and high school.

The only option eliminated Monday night was a proposal to convert Maize South High School to a freshman academy, and make all students in grades 10-12 attend Maize High School.

The new plan could offer a number of different things.

It included preferences at the elementary level, drawing boundaries and some sort of feeder program.

District staff will work to provide further information for the next scheduled meeting in March, but it is unknown when  final decisions will be made.

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