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Missoula school leaders seek input on future planning

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Nov 04 2013 09:43:17 PM MST
Missoula school leaders seek input on future planning
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Missoula County Public School leaders are trying to figure out how to meet the demands of a growing student population.

Enrollment in the district has increased over the past five years and it's a trend that's projected to continue for the next decade.

A study indicates 10 years from now the district will have an additional 890 students grades K-12.

By 2018, seven out of nine elementary schools will be at or above capacity, and all three middle schools are expected to be in the same situation.

School leaders are encouraging the public to get involved in the planning process.

In a meeting Monday project leaders brainstormed different ways to reach more residents. One idea is to modify the current emergency notification system, to send emails, text messages and leave voicemails to remind residents about upcoming meetings.

Another is to offer students incentives to fill out surveys about their schools, while they're at school.

Above all, school leaders say they are trying to plan ahead so every student in the district can get the best education possible.

Hatton Littman, director of communications for MCPS, says now is the best time for residents to share their thoughts and opinions on how to expand the district to meet the growing student population, the future of school infrastructure or any other concerns they have about the planning process.

“No one wants to feel left out on the opportunity to really get on board for dramatic change that can affect every neighborhood in town, affect their students future and affect our economic future in the city and county of Missoula and really inspire all of us to move into the future,” says Littman.  

Littman says some elementary schools will have capacity issues in merely 3 or 4 years, and that’s why it’s so important for residents who want to give feedback to do so soon.   

“We need a shared sense of urgency,” says Littman.  “We need that shared community sense of not only do we really need this effort but we want it were all engaged and inspired by what we want our students to learn and how we want them to compete in a global market.”

Missoula school leaders are hosting a public meeting Wednesday to gather more feedback on the project.  The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Broadway Inn Hotel and Conference Center and is scheduled to run through 8:00 p.m.

You will find full broadcasts of the MCPS board meetings on Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT) website.

MCPS has also set up a blog with additional information, and residents are encouraged to leave comments and share their thoughts on the blog.