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As redrawn boundary lines are proposed, Shawnee Mission School District parents have chance to give feedback

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Parents with kids in the Shawnee Mission School District will have the chance to weigh in on a plan to change the boundary lines within their district. The district is holding a brief update on this topic during a Monday night meeting.

It's a continuation of a similar meeting from about two weeks ago, but parents are still left waiting to find out about the future of their kids` education.

Jennifer Garrison believed her children would be safe from new proposed school boundary changes, especially her son Nathan who deals with autism.

“It was never even on my radar. It was never suggested that would even be possible. I looked at the plans and I said `Oh, it`s not affecting my kids’ so I didn`t really give it a second thought,” she explained.

But she started to worry when another mom alerted her about a potential impact on her son's structured learning center.

“Kids in the autism population have a hard time with changes. They thrive on routine, for the most part, and it would be a really difficult thing for my son to be suddenly uprooted from the program he`s been in since kindergarten and put into a separate program,” the mom said.

Her son would be one of hundreds of kids who would have to change schools due to new boundary lines.

“When we first brought up the possibility of moving schools to our youngest, she was a little concerned. She has made some really great friends and the activities she is in, there was some general concern,” said dad Eric Wellman.

Although Wellman's children are safe from change - he understands it's a risk that comes with living in a growing area. The district is trying to make sure it balances out the number of students in schools, and adds students to some buildings with smaller populations.

“I don`t think it`s anything anybody wants to go through, but I think it`s just part of growing and expanding. New schools need to be built, new boundaries need to be drawn, it`s just part of life here,” Wellman said.

Garrison hopes her son’s life won't be made more difficult purely based on where they live.

“We work hard to integrate our kids into a school and over the years it becomes a comfort to know that our kids are where they know and are known, and to completely uproot them and change their surroundings without any input from parents, I don`t think is in the best interest of kids,” she said.

While these changes will take effect in the fall of 2018, families could choose to send students to their new school this fall. The next community forum is scheduled for Wednesday, May 3 at Shawnee Mission West from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Parents can also give feedback on Facebook or by emailing smsdboundaries@smsd.org. A final boundary recommendation will be presented to the board for a vote at the May 22 meeting.

For more information on the proposed boundaries, click on this link.