COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Columbia Public Schools Board of Education approved a set of "guiding principles" Monday night for its upcoming discussion on school boundaries.
The principles will help "guide the process being used to create new attendance areas" upon the opening of a new middle school at the start of the 2020-21 school year. Those attendance areas will affect middle and high school boundaries.
The district last changed the middle school boundary lines for Gentry and Jefferson middle schools in an effort to address overcrowding issues at the former. Gentry Middle School is currently the only middle school open south of Stadium Boulevard, and district leaders sped up the opening of the new middle school on Sinclair Road to alleviate those problems.
The guiding principles call for leaders to acknowledge that boundary lines can and do change due to new schools and shifting population growths. The principles say "attendance area should anticipate future growth of neighborhoods," and that areas should "reflect the composition of the Columbia Public Schools community."
Leaders should also keep policies in mind that let 8th and 12th grade students remain on their current school, if the attendance areas would move them to a different one, as well as policies that keep siblings at those schools, according to the guidelines.