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Elementary School update

Tyler Anderson compacts dirt to backfill under slab plumbing in June 7, 2017 at the site of the new elementary school in Kimberly. Superintendent Luke Schroeder says the new 50,000-square-foot school is on track to open in fall 2018.

KIMBERLY — Kimberly residents: The school district is looking for your input on elementary school attendance zones.

It’s holding tours Saturday of its new elementary school — under construction now and slated for completion in June 2018 — and there’s a community meeting Nov. 16 to seek input on zones, the new school’s name, colors and mascot.

It’s the first time Kimberly will have school attendance zones. A second elementary school campus opening next fall means students will be divided among the two schools. School officials are also developing policies about how in and out-of-district transfers will be handled.

Superintendent Luke Schroeder said Monday he wants to encourage community members to weigh in.

“We want them to be empowered with knowledge,” he said. “It’s just very important that they attend these meetings and ask questions. The last thing we want to do is make decisions in isolation.”

Schroeder declined Monday to share details about the recommendations — including what the elementary school boundaries may be — saying he wants to wait until the community meeting.

After gathering input this month, school trustees are slated to make a decision during a Dec. 20 meeting.

Construction on the $10.7 million school has been underway since spring. The 50,000-square-foot building will help alleviate overcrowding, since the existing elementary school has more than 900 students.

Then, remodeling will begin on the existing elementary school.

The new 10-acre campus is at the corner of Polk Street West and Emerald Drive North, east of Ballards Way subdivision.

The new school will be paid for using a $14 million bond voters approved in May 2016. Construction is on time and budget, Schroeder said Monday.

At a community meeting Nov. 16, recommendations from an approximately 15-member transition committee — which includes community members, school employees and school trustees — will be presented about elementary school attendance boundaries, school name, colors and mascot.

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The committee has met since April. It looked at data about where current elementary schoolers live and where future growth may occur.

Another big factor: Looking at where socioeconomically disadvantaged students live and making sure they’re not all in one school building.

The committee didn’t use computer mapping software, but drew boundaries manually. It went through class lists and placed each student in school boundary.

It tried using computer software a couple of times, Schroeder said, but found it wasn’t always accurate.

The group also created two community surveys about a school name, colors and mascot. It received about 600 responses each time. The survey didn’t ask for feedback on school boundaries.

The committee presented recommendations to the school board in mid-October and met in a work session Thursday with the board to discuss the recommendations further.

Schroeder said: “Now the board would like to hear from the patrons about how they feel about the recommendations.”


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