The Kalispell public school board unanimously approved a plan to redraw elementary school zones at its meeting yesterday, capping off a months-long effort and formally solidifying boundaries as the district welcomes a new elementary school for the first time in three decades.
The plan outlines new zone boundaries to accommodate the district’s sixth elementary school, which will be open for the fall semester. Rankin Elementary School, named in honor of Jeannette Rankin, is currently under construction on Airport Road. Rankin is Kalispell’s first new elementary school since Edgerton was completed on the north side of town in 1987.
The final rezoning plan — Plan F — grew out of earlier alternatives and months of discussion, scoping and tweaking, a process dating back to the release of the first four preliminary options in October. The district held three community meetings that month, and then used the public comments to help craft a fifth alternative, Option E, which was refined into the final plan adopted by the school board on Jan. 9.
The district will also release a request form that would allow parents to apply for a one-year grandfather period during which their child could remain at his or her current school. Superintendent Mark Flatau said the form will be available on the district’s website next week.
Parents already have the option of submitting a petition to change schools within the school district. At its next meeting in February, the board will discuss the possibility of allowing out-of-district tuition students.
In other news from the Jan. 9 meeting, the board approved Rankin Elementary School’s mascot and colors. The Rankin Raptors will be purple, silver and white. The board also voted to name a road at the school site Wise Way, in honor of the late Doug Wise, who once owned the property, attended Kalispell public schools and was a community fixture as the owner of Sykes’ Grocery and Market for more than 60 years.
Additionally, the board voted to move forward with securing construction bids for renovations at the district’s existing five elementary schools. Those renovations will be bid out as one project and are part of the $25.28 million elementary bond passed by Kalispell voters in October 2016. They are expected to break ground in the spring.
For more information, visit www.sd5.k12.mt.us.