MISSOULA – Missoula County Public School leaders are taking a very interactive approach to reviewing and possibly re-drawing boundaries for Missoula’s elementary schools. That process includes a series of open houses to let people see the maps and data and offering comments.
“This is our first open house and we want to make sure the community gets a basic understanding of what the process will be about, maps that show our current reality, where students live and how full certain schools are,” MCPS spokeswoman Hatton Littman explained. “And leave their questions and concerns now, so that we can incorporate that into the next open house.”
Thursday’s open house kicked off a review process that’s expected to last through the spring as MCPS looks at possible adjustments impacting the district’s 3,700 elementary students. It’s been a dozen years since the last review, and there’s been a significant increase in enrollment across the city.
The boundaries could also be adjusted to match the changes that have happened in school construction under the Smart Schools 2020 building program, which increases capacity to 4,500 students.
Additional open houses will happen in the coming weeks, but the district is giving parents a chance to review all the information, including interactive maps, online.
“Our website, mcpsmt.org, has the clearinghouse of everything. You can see all of these maps. You can see all the data that we have to this point. And we also have an online mapping tool that people can log in and drag a little pinpoint to leave a concern or comment on that map,” Littman said.
The district hopes to finish with any re-alignment by the end of the school year and will then review high school and middle school boundaries next year.