Plans For New Elementary School Affect Mill Creek

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools Board of Education proposed plans at its meeting Monday night to solve Mill Creek Elementary's overcrowding.

Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Peter Stiepleman suggested a couple options for the board to consider. He said they will start work on a new elementary on the district's southwest boundary, along with a two-year temporary boundary plan to evenly distribute students of all grade levels at schools to benefit them in the long run.

Stiepleman said the school will not restrict enrollment, but instead, Mill Creek families could be transferred to Russell Boulevard or Paxton-Keeley during the new elementary's construction.

CPS Superintendent Chris Belcher said he realizes any boundary changes are not easy on families.

"Parents are emotional about this, and the kids will be too, I get that," Belcher said. "But from a district perspective, we will provide a high quality teacher in a great facility with a great reputation and a great school community, and the kids will do just fine."

Parents expressed the most concern about moving their kids to multiple schools and possibly separating siblings.

Stiepleman's additional proposals included surveying parents about two possible half-day kindergarten classrooms at Mill Creek, or investing in a separate kindergarten academy.

A final boundary decision will not be made for at least another month.