Next steps outlined for elementary school attendance zones
COLUMBIA (Missourian) - A representative from consulting firm Cooperative Strategies laid out the next steps to the Columbia Board of Education on Monday about the process of drawing new attendance area boundaries for the district’s elementary schools.
The firm will provide elementary attendance zone options to the board Aug. 10, followed by a virtual open house Aug. 20, during which the public can ask questions and get more detailed information. The final decisions on the adjustments will be made at a later school board meeting and take effect with the 2021-22 school year.
The options that will be presented next month grow out of feedback from focus groups which have already met with the consultants. There were five separate focus groups: two of the groups were composed of parents, one of community members who are not parents of Columbia Public Schools students, one of real estate agents and a fifth group of school faculty and staff.
According to Columbia Public Schools Chief Operations Officer Randy Gooch, a question-and-answer session will be conducted like an all-day open house, with members of Cooperative Strategies explaining their plans and answering the public’s questions. The presentations on the options will be repeated periodically throughout the day so parents and community members can listen in when it is most convenient for them, Gooch said.
Cooperative Strategies also plans to work with teachers to reach out to parents they are familiar with to help ensure that the district hears from a broader demographic group, Gooch said.
Cooperative Strategies was responsible for the attendance area adjustments for Columbia high schools and middle schools in 2018. Gooch said the decision to hold off on adjustments for elementary school attendance zones until now was intentional.
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