Kalispell Public Schools has scheduled three public forums this month on elementary redistricting in the coming weeks.
The goal of redistricting is to reduce overcrowding and plan for enrollment increases in the district’s five existing elementary schools, while also defining boundaries for a new elementary school in South Kalispell. The new school is expected to open August 2018.
“No final decisions have been made,” Kalispell Superintendent Mark Flatau said. “Based on that input we could come up with another proposal.”
The district’s elementary schools include Edgerton on Whitefish Stage Road; Elrod on Third Avenue West; Hedges on Fourth Avenue East; Peterson on Second Street West; Russell on West Nevada Street; and the new school under construction on Airport Road.
The public is invited to attend the meetings, which will all be held from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Kalispell Middle School library on Oct. 19, 23 and 26. The public is asked to enter the building from the upper staff parking lot off of Meridian Drive.
Preliminary options will be presented to the community to get feedback and answer questions.
“Every current enrollment area is going to be changed in some way, shape, or form with the goal to get to six enrollment areas with the appropriate number of students in each,” Flatau said.
About 2,006 students attend the five existing elementary schools, of which, a few dozen live out of district, according to district transportation director Annie Jensen.
Jensen is assisting in redrawing boundary lines and presented three options to the school board on Sept. 26.
The district is looking at the possibility of a grandfather clause for students to continue at their current school for one year, using an example that a child in fourth grade would likely want to complete fifth grade at the same school before transitioning to Kalispell Middle School.
“The majority of kids are going to remain in the school where they’re currently at, but there will be some changes that we have to make,” Flatau said.
A final decision on the revised boundary lines is anticipated by January.
In addition to revising boundaries, Flatau will recommend Edgerton Elementary Principal Merisa Murray become principal of the new south elementary at the Oct. 10 school board meeting. Additionally, he will recommend promoting Edgerton Assistant Principal Jen Stein to the principal position.
For more information call Administrative Assistant Beth Kornick at 406-751-3434.
Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or email@example.com.