Lee’s Summit considers new school boundaries as it battles capacity issues

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - Lee’s Summit R-7 Schools is meeting with parents this week on its Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan. But many parents showed up to Wednesday's meeting at Lee's Summit West High School worried that could be code for new school boundaries.

They gathered around a map where Lee’s Summit High was labeled as inefficient and Lee’s Summit West was labeled overcrowded. Four modular classrooms sit outside of that high school right now.

Jamie Eichelkraut has two children ready to go to Lee’s Summit West next year. But she and many other parents were checking out the district’s student capacity map to see if that could be changing.

“We’re in one of the neighborhoods that could potentially be moved, so with two going to be freshman next year and one going into seventh, it would shift everything," Eichelkraut said.

The school district that nearly doubled in size over a 20 year period in the 1990s and 2000s is now having to take another look at it’s capacity and possibly it’s boundaries.

But some parents say in an era of virtual and collaborative learning, it’s not as simple as how many desks and students are in each school.

"I think if we are really going into the future of our education we need to look at a lot of areas not just borders," Kim Berens said.

The school district put up a blank slide at it’s engagement session, saying there is no plan right now, but hopes to establish priorities with community help by next month. But they are meeting with architecture partners on building future ready learning classrooms.

“We’re looking at ways to approach instruction and teaching to prepare kids for what they are going to encounter in college and the workforce," said Kelly Wachel, Lee's Summit R-7 spokesperson.

If the equation were as simple as grade school math right now, Lee’s Summit West is 144 students over ideal enrollment, and Lee’s Summit High is 221 under. The same pretty much goes for their feeder middle schools.

“While that’s where we’d love to stay, it’s closer to our home, and we’d actually have to drive past Summit Lakes to the other junior high. I suppose if it’s smaller class size, it might be worth it," Eichelkraut said.

Another meeting will be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Lee’s Summit High. An online survey runs through Friday. The district hopes to have final recommendations by early November.