Sept. 28, 2019

Mallory Herrmann

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education has given approval to a preliminary recommendation for adding the sixth grade to the district’s middle schools. The move is part of the comprehensive master facilities plan (CMFP) process and, pending the necessary funding, will add a fourth middle school.

The change would be in effect for the 2022–2023 school year, with the students who are currently in third grade being the first to attend sixth grade in the middle schools.

Since the CFMP process was completed last year, a 6th Grade to Middle School Study Team has been reviewing current and best practices and to consider how such a move would affect the students, staff and capacity issues in addition to collecting feedback from students, staff and parents.

The board seems cautiously optimistic about the plan, with all members voting in favor of the recommendation – but still acknowledging the concerns that some parents still have.

Ryan Murdock, the board’s vice president, noted that he was initially against the proposal but now sees that it is a good move, holistically, for the district. However he remains concerned about the availability of resources to fully prepare the fourth building, but to also ensure that the existing three middle schools have the same “bells and whistles” that a new school might have.

“It may not go incredibly smoothly right at the beginning,” Murdock said.

Interim Superintendent Emily Miller emphasized that this is still a preliminary recommendation and that there is still lots of work to be done. Still, she is optimistic.

“One of the benefits of making a recommendation now, in 2019, is that we have three years to plan,” Miller said.

The board voted unanimously to approve the change at their Sept. 24 meeting.

The meeting was held on a Tuesday rather than a Thursday this month due to the annual Missouri School Board Association Annual Conference, which will take place in Osage Beach, Mo., Sept. 26 through Sept. 29.

The board is scheduled to hold a closed session at the Mexicali Blues Restaurant in Osage Beach on Friday, Sept. 27, to discuss legal issues and personnel issues. A second closed session is scheduled at Stansberry Leadership Center in Lee’s Summit on Monday, Sept. 30, to discuss sealed bids or proposals.